Is Japanese McDonald’s Healthier?

by Erika Shinomoto
is japanese mcdonalds healthier

Wondering is Japanese McDonald’s healthier? Well, Japanese McDonald’s do have healthier choices when compared to Western McDonald’s which is why Japanese McDonald’s is considered healthier than McDoanld’s in other Western countries.

Japanese McDonald’s first opened its doors in 1971, and since then, the fast-food chain has become increasingly popular throughout the country. There are now over 3,000 locations across Japan, serving up burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets to millions of customers every day.

When it comes to McDonald’s, most people think of greasy burgers and fries. However, Japanese McDonald’s are actually pretty different from their Western counterparts. For starters, Japanese McDonald’s offer a wider range of healthier options, including salads and sushi. And while the burgers and fries are still available, they’re not as prominent on the menu.

Japanese McDonald’s also tend to be cleaner and more brightly lit than their Western counterparts.

So, is Japanese McDonald’s really healthier? It depends on what you order. If you stick to the healthier options, then yes, Japanese McDonald’s can be quite healthy.

But if you go for the burgers and fries then it’s not going to be any healthier than any other fast food restaurant.

So it really comes down to your own personal choices. Japanese McDonald’s may not be perfect, but they’re certainly healthier than most people give them credit for.

Japanese McDonald’s is a lot different from what you see in the West. But is it really healthier? let’s find out.

Is Japanese McDonald’s Healthier?

Yes, Japanese McDonald’s is generally considered to be healthier than American McDonald’s. This is because, in Japan, McDonald’s portion sizes are typically smaller than American portions. For example, a medium order of fries in Japan has 300 calories, while a medium order of fries in the US has 410 calories. 

Here is a table comparing the calorie content of some popular McDonald’s items in Japan and other countries:

McDonald’s ItemsJapanUSACanada
Big Mac490 calories540 calories570 calories
McChicken Sandwich350 calories450 calories460 calories
French Fries (medium)300 calories410 calories420 calories
Egg McMuffin290 calories300 calories310 calories
Happy Meal (with cheeseburger, fries, and apple juice)570 calories640 calories660 calories

Japanese Mcdonald’s also offers burger options that are lower in calories. Also, Japanese McDonald’s offers lots of healthy menu items such as salads, yogurts and fresh fruits as side dishes. 

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In addition, McDonald’s Japan has made a number of changes to its menu in recent years in order to make it healthier. For example, the company has reduced the amount of sodium in its french fries and has introduced a new line of chicken nuggets that are made with all-white meat.

Overall, Japanese McDonald’s is a healthier option than American McDonald’s. However, it is important to note that even the healthiest McDonald’s food is still fast food, and it should be eaten in moderation.

Japanese McDonald’s Vs American McDonald’s

Here is a comparison of the healthiness of Japanese McDonald’s and American McDonald’s:

Common McDonalds ItemsJapanese McDonald’sAmerican McDonald’s
Big Mac490 calories, 23 grams of fat, 1000 milligrams of sodium540 calories, 29 grams of fat, 1100 milligrams of sodium
French fries300 calories, 13 grams of fat, 250 milligrams of sodium410 calories, 19 grams of fat, 340 milligrams of sodium
McChicken Sandwich350 calories, 15 grams of fat, 750 milligrams of sodium450 calories, 20 grams of fat, 980 milligrams of sodium
Egg McMuffin290 calories, 12 grams of fat, 750 milligrams of sodium300 calories, 14 grams of fat, 880 milligrams of sodium

Japanese McDonald’s is generally considered to be healthier than American McDonald’s. 

This is attributed to several factors including smaller portion sizes, a variety of menu items unique to Japan that are lower in calories and fat, a wider range of healthy options, and recent efforts by McDonald’s Japan to make its menu healthier by reducing sodium content and introducing healthier alternatives. 

Let’s delve deeper into the reasons why Japanese McDonald’s is often perceived as healthier than American McDonald’s:

  • Portion Sizes

One notable distinction is the portion sizes between the two countries. Japanese McDonald’s tends to offer smaller portions compared to the often larger servings in American McDonald’s. 

Smaller portions naturally lead to lower calorie and fat intake, contributing to a healthier eating experience.

  • Menu Diversity

Japanese McDonald’s features menu items that are unique to their culture and cuisine. 

These items, such as the Teriyaki McBurger and Edamame Burger, are generally lower in calories and fat compared to some of the more classic American options. The incorporation of local ingredients and flavors can lead to healthier choices overall.

  • Healthy Alternatives

Japanese McDonald’s offers a more extensive range of healthy alternatives as part of their menu. 

Customers can choose from a variety of salads, yogurts, and fruits as side options, enabling them to make more nutritious choices. The availability of grilled chicken sandwiches and veggie burgers as alternatives to beef burgers further promotes healthier eating.

  • Recent Menu Changes
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McDonald’s Japan has actively pursued menu changes to enhance the healthfulness of its offerings. 

For instance, they’ve reduced the sodium content in their popular french fries, acknowledging the importance of minimizing excess salt in their food. Additionally, the introduction of chicken nuggets made from all-white meat aligns with consumer preferences for leaner protein sources.

  • Cultural Eating Habits

Japanese cuisine often emphasizes balanced meals with a variety of ingredients. This cultural focus on moderation and diverse food options could influence the overall approach to fast food menus, even at McDonald’s.

  • Health Consciousness

In recent years, there has been a global trend towards healthier eating habits, and this trend is reflected in McDonald’s menus across different countries. 

McDonald’s Japan’s proactive steps indicate their awareness of and response to changing consumer preferences for healthier options.

Of course, Japanese McDonald’s is not without its criticisms.

Some people argue that the food is just as unhealthy as it is in the West, and that the only reason Japanese McDonald’s seem healthier is because of the smaller portion sizes.

Others argue that the use of plastic packaging is harming the environment.

But despite these criticisms, Japanese McDonald’s remains a popular choice for many people seeking a quick and easy meal.

Is Japanese McDonalds better?

There’s no denying that Japan know how to do McDonalds right. From their Tokyo Toyko Deli line featuring American classics with a twist, to their automated mcDonalds ipods – it’s clear that the Japanese know how to hack the fast food game. But is their McDonalds better than the classic American restaurant?

While we can’t speak for everyone, we definitely think so! Japanese McDonalds offer a wider variety of menu items than your typical Western restaurant.

This includes classics like the Egg McMuffin and McGriddles, as well as unique offerings like rice burgers and broccoli quinoa wraps. Or the limited edition Bacon Potato Pie the brand introduced. SO YUM!

And don’t even get us started on their amazing array of desserts; from Matcha soft serves to Cherry Blossom McFlurries, Japanese McDonalds definitely takes the cake (pun intended).

Is Japanese McDonald's Healthier

Japan is known for its high-quality ingredients, and this extends to fast food as well. Japanese McDonald’s uses more expensive meat and dairy than American McDs, which makes for a tastier burger. The fries are also extra crispy and perfectly salty. And don’t even get me started on the green tea lemonade!

Do Japanese People Eat McDonald’s?

Yes, Japanese people eat McDonald’s. In fact, McDonald’s is one of the most popular fast food chains in Japan. According to a survey, “about 37% percent of respondents named McDonald’s as their favorite fast-food company — second only to local powerhouse Mos Burger.” 

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Japanese people love McDonald’s for its affordability, convenience, and variety. And while some Westerners might be turned off by the idea of eating American-style fast food in Japan, rest assured that the McDonald’s menu in Japan is quite different from what you’d find in the United States.

For example, popular menu items in Japan include the Teriyaki McBurger (a burger topped with teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise), the Ebi (shrimp) Filet-O, and the Samurai Pork Burger (a burger topped with pork, onion rings, and a special samurai sauce).

Japanese McDonald’s also offers a wide selection of drinks, including green tea, sake, and peach juice. So if you’re looking for a taste of Japan, McDonald’s is definitely worth a try.

Is McDonald’s in Japan different?

Yes, McDonald’s in Japan is different from McDonald’s in other countries. McDonald’s in Japan stands out due to its distinct menu offerings and localized approach. The Japanese outlets feature unique items like the Teriyaki Burger and Ebi Filet-O that incorporate traditional flavors and ingredients. Portion sizes tend to be smaller, reflecting a cultural emphasis on balance. 

Health-conscious options, such as salads and fruit sides, are more prevalent, and seasonal specialties, aligned with local events, keep the menu fresh. 

The interior design can also differ, with some locations boasting a modern and stylish ambiance. Overall, Japanese McDonald’s caters to local tastes and preferences, resulting in a unique and varied dining experience compared to other countries.

How many calories is a Big Mac in Japan?

A Big Mac in Japan has 490 calories. This is lower than the calorie content of a Big Mac in the USA (540 calories) and Canada (570 calories). 

The lower calorie content of the Japanese Big Mac is due to a number of factors, including:

  • Smaller bun: The bun on the Japanese Big Mac is smaller than the bun on the American and Canadian Big Macs. This reduces the calorie content of the burger by about 50 calories.
  • Different meat patty: The meat patty on the Japanese Big Mac is made with a blend of beef and pork, while the meat patty on the American and Canadian Big Macs is made with 100% beef. This reduces the calorie content of the Japanese Big Mac by about 20 calories.
  • Less sauce: The Japanese Big Mac has less sauce than the American and Canadian Big Macs. This reduces the calorie content of the burger by about 30 calories.

Overall, the Japanese Big Mac is a healthier option than the American and Canadian Big Macs. 


While I can’t say for certain Japanese McDonald’s is healthier than its western counterparts, Japanese McDonald’s definitely does offer some healthier options like sushi salads. Also, unlike Western McDonald’s, Japanese McDonald’s doesn’t offer bottomless/free refills of soft drinks. And the portion sizes in Japanese McDonald’s are much smaller than the Western McDonald’s, even when it comes to the soft drinks. So to a certain extent, I guess, you could say that Japanese McDonald’s is healthier!

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