Cream of Mushroom Sauce; Why does a Big Mac leave me hungry?

Why does lunch at McDonald's make me so hungry?

We don't do it often, but mon mari loves it so we indulge (?) occasionally.

My problem with it is, regardless of what I eat, after lunch I'm tired, I have an intense craving for sweets and 2 hours later I'm hungry.

Not hungry as in 'I've worked hard all day and my body needs calories' but hungry as in 'I want to put food in my mouth but don't know what or why'.

I'd like to place the blame squarely on the broad shoulders of Mr. McDo, but I experience the same effect from eating at any fast food restaurant and most American 'family' restaurants. 

The most curious part is this: a green salad, with grilled chicken and minimal dressing leaves me feeling less hungry in 2 hours than a Big Mac with Fries or a pepperoni pizza. 

And the salad elicits no craving for sweets.

I decided to research this phenomenon.

What I discovered was a lot of people blaming the world's woes, including this, on high fructose corn syrup but none offering any theories based on actual scientific or medical facts.

I'm a big fan of science.

Since all I could find in an admittedly meager effort (I got tired of reading the same drivel after a bit) was nothing but unsupported opinions I decided to offer my own….

And throw it open to discussion.

First, my own unsupported opinion:  I think it's the fat and salt. We know the fries are salty; that's why we love them!  So is most food in fast or family restaurants.  

Ditto for fatty.  

I think it's the high amount of fat that makes me crave something sweet – the sugar seen as somehow counteracting the fat.

As to starving 2 hours after I eat - I'm not hungry; I'm thirsty!

All that salt has created a great thirst.

Most people, including me, often mistake thirst for hunger.  I learned long ago that when I feel hunger (and shouldn't) to drink something because what I really feel is thirst.

So after my foray into McDo's today, instead of noshing on that chunk of dark chocolate I so desperately wanted, I drank a litre of water (not all at once, don't be ridiculous!).

That fixed it.

And now I pose two questions:

Do you experience the same effect?  

What do you think causes it?

All opinions, supported or not, welcome.

As is this alternative to that nasty Cream of Mushroom soup that still graces American supermarket shelves.

This is better…. Trust me.

  Cream of Mushroom Sauce

Mushroom Sauce

6oz (175gr) mushrooms field or wild if possible…. or a mix, roughly chopped 
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup beef stock 
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Sauté mushrooms and shallots in oil over medium heat until well browned.  Add wine, stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered until reduced by 1/3rd.
Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to skillet, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.

Can be served over meat loaf or meat balls or pasta or potatoes or in casseroles….. Even over green beans.

Just like the other stuff.   

One more question – an afterthought, as it were….

Do you think this phenomenon (let's call it the 'McDo Effect')  is contributing to the obesity problem? 

10 thoughts on “Cream of Mushroom Sauce; Why does a Big Mac leave me hungry?”

  1. Same here! Especially the “‘I want to put food in my mouth but don’t know what or why”. Don’t feel thirsty (at least that’s what I thought up till now) but stuffed and unsatisfied at the same time. Will try drinking water next time!

  2. Love the mushroom sauce! I have not eaten fast food of any kind in close to 10 years, but I do remember the symptoms. I think it is just because there is absolutely no nutrition in these kinds of foods. Just high fat, high sugar, high carbs, high salt. Yuck – give me your food any day!

  3. Yes! Eating the fast foods results in feeling logey a while later, and wanting to eat something more. And I agree that it’s salt (and probably grease). I reduced salt in my diet so many years ago that I no longer miss it–but feel miserable when I have a meal with too much. And I even sense it in diet pop, which should be thirst quenching, but isn’t. Oddly, I don’t get the same sensation when I indulge in, say, salted peanuts, or popcorn at a movie, but then I think my brain can process the ridiculous overload as, well, just too much salt, and not an absence of food.
    Mushroom sauce looks good–and actually have all ingredients!

  4. Yep. Baking Soda got it: “stuffed and unsatisfied.”
    And ditto on those American chain “family” restaurants. We have luncheons for workers and they always want to go to those… I’m not sure what it is, really. Those chains over-spice and over-salt everything.
    The first bite at these places tastes good but then it’s a downhill ride to the State of Disappointment. And feeling a couple of hours later that I’ve got a stone in my stomach.
    I’m no elitist and I’ll eat almost any food from a Formica-countertop dive diner. Esp. Mexican, yummy! When I craved a burger in Belgium I went to Quick over McDo. If a Doner place wasn’t nearby.

  5. I cannot comment here as I never eat from chain ‘family’ restaurants, with or without golden arches. I would choose to eat Subway if I had no options. My preference is to go to a Chinese Dumpling House for fast food, it’s fresh and fun. No fries either and most dumplings are steamed !

  6. I get the same effect when I eat Chinese food. I blame it on the empty calorie syndrome and perhaps high doses of salt and MSG. Made from scratch is always so much better. Our grandmothers knew what they were doing.

  7. Yes, exactly the same. And definitely unsatisfied. I heard (where oh where was it???) that the hunger after eating fast food, in spite of being actually full, is due to the body craving the nutrients it needs and so it tells us to eat more. (Oh wait, I see that Ina pretty much already said that…)
    I wonder if it’s also lack of fiber in fast food.
    Love your mushroom sauce! I wouldn’t have thought to add yoghurt.

  8. Baking Soda, it’s such a strange feeling, plus I’m so tired….
    Ina, we don’t eat it often, but the hubs loves it…. I have to say I get the same feeling from Thanksgiving dinner LOL
    Karen, I agree that for me salt is the biggest contributor – baked ham will do it.
    TikiPundit, yeah, Quick is pretty good. Usually we just get a sandwich at a local bakery – much better and never hungry 2 hours later. In the US I used to like Wendy’s – are they still around?
    manningroad, steamed dumplings are yummy! But other Chinese food have the same effect for me.
    Val, definitely the salt – and salt combined with sugar is really bad 😉
    Zoomie, drinking water helps – and green tea.
    Elizabeth, but there was lettuce (Iceberg) surely that counts!

  9. Yes, Wendy’s is still around. You posted that you’re coming to the States, we have that and a bunch of other places you’ll remember well (or not so well). Now I’m seeing a LOT of people who are making great food in places other than the big cities, so it might be fun to eat around on your husband whilst here. Even in my remote desert town, a “fresh food” movement is taking place, and displaced Mexican restaurant owners who fled the violence/extortion across the border are reopening — of all things — their fish restos here.

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