Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ramly Burger

Ramly Burger.

Ramly Burger - Malaysia's brainchild.

Ask any Malaysian if they know what's a Ramly Burger, and the answer will most
likely be an enthusiastic "YES!" Probably the best burger in town, this well known,
addictive Malaysian food has taken the country by storm.

However, it is a common fact that most people don't look deeper beyond the juicy
patty between 2 soft buns and oozing sauces that just seems to scream,"EAT ME!"

So..What's in a Ramly Burger?

In this blog, we will explore just that. From the nutrients a typical Ramly Burger
contains, to having a healthier version of the delicious yet sinful burger.

A typical Ramly Burger generally consists of a beef or chicken patty, margarine, onions,
an egg, cabbage, mayonnaise, and chilli sauce. However, this list is subjective as
Ramly Burgers are highly customizable.

Since most Ramly Burgers are bought from stalls and not home made, often,
consumers don't realise the amount of calories they consume from a typical burger.
Burgers in general, are deemed as one of the less healthy foods. Ramly Burgers are
no exception. Need proof?

The nutrient contents for the burger's chicken patty:


Per 100g

Per serving

Calories (kcal)



Carbohydrates (g)



Protein (g)



Fats (g)



Nutrient Contents for the beef patty:


Per 100g

Per serving

Calories (kcal)



Carbohydrates (g)



Protein (g)



Fats (g)



As for the Burger Buns:


Per 100g

Calories (kcal)


Carbohydrates (g)


Protein (g)


Fats (g)


So based on the nutrition facts, a typical Ramly Chicken Burger would generally contain about 280 kcal and 22g of fats! And that's not even including the oil used to cook the patty, the mayonnaise and other sauces!

Now, lets get personal..

What is the significance of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats we consume from those burgers?
Where and what do they end up as in our body?

The Fats

The majority of the fat content in the burger is contributed by the patty. Fats contain mostly carbon and hydrogen, some oxygen, and sometimes other atoms. Fats provide 9 kilocalories per gram (kcal/g), compared with 4 kcal/g for carbohydrate and protein. The fat content mainly from the burger patty and mayonnaise are broken down into fatty acids. Fatty acids is used to provide energy for formation of bonds in the synthesis of ATP and can be oxidised after absorption from the intestine or stores as triglycerids for later use. Fatty acids are used by all tissues during normal dietary situations and only used by some tissues in extreme conditions like starvation (University of South Australia, 2000).

Lipid Function and Metabolism Summary (Opthard, 2003).

For a more detailed information regarding fat metabolism, click HERE.

The Carbohydrates

The bulk of carbohydrates from a Ramly burger is mainly from the burger bun. Carbohydrates contribute 4kcal per gram. A small amount of carbohydrate can be found in the patty itself as well as in the vegetables in the burger (as fibers). Carbohydrates are broken down to monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, and fructose) by digestion. They can be used directly for energy by all tissues, stored temporarily as glycogen in the liver or in muscles or converted to other biological compounds like fats (Advameg, 2007).

Read HERE for a more detailed explanation for carbohydrate metabolism.

Did you know?

Only certain cells like liver and kidney cells can make their own glucose from amino acids. Liver and muscle cells store glucose as glycogen while other body cells have to obtain glucose from the bloodstream (Advameg, 2007).

The Proteins

The burger patty contributes most of the proteins in a ramly burger. Digestion breaks protein down to amino acids. Proteins are an important component of the structural tissue for muscles and it is also involved in transporting oxygen or hemoglobin, catalyze various biochemical reactions(enzymes) and regulate reactions (hormones). The synthesis of the many proteins, amino acids are needed for growth, replacement, and repair. The final products of the breakdown of protein are carbon dioxide, water, urea, ammonia and ATP (Davis, 2001).

Click HERE for more explanation on protein metabolism.

Did you know?

Body proteins are broken down when there is insufficient dietary supply of energy during illness or starvation. The proteins in the liver are used in preference of other tissues such as the brain. The gluconeogenesis pathway is only present in liver cells and in certain kidney cells (Advameg, 2007).

To sum it up, here's a summary of the fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism:

Metabolism Summary (Opthard, 2003).

So some may ask, "Ramly Burger has no physiological benefits?Nothing good about it at all nutrition-wise??"

Well, not entirely true. Despite the general negative perception most have about the burger nutrition-wise, the various ingredients in a Ramly Burger do have some nutritional and physiological benefits. How? Check out the table below:



Chicken/Beef Patty

- Rich source of protein

- Dense in nutrients, including protein, zinc, iron, phosphorous, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.

(WHFoods, 2001)

Read HERE for more information on the patties.


- Good source of Vitamins A & E

- Contain mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.

- Contain essential fatty acids, linoleic & linolenic acids

- Contain no cholesterol

(National Association of Margarine Manufacturers, 2008)

Read HERE for more information on Margarine.


- Rich in Vitamins B6, B1, Vitamin C, folic acid, and chromium, a mineral that helps cells respond to insulin.

- Onions have blood sugar lowering effects, cardiovascular benefits, supports gastrointestinal health, boost bone health and have anti-inflammatory activity.

(WHFoods, 2001)

For more information about the benefits of onions, click HERE.


- Rich in protein

- Low in sodium

- Rich source of various B Vitamins especially B2 and B12, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.

- Rich source of many essential minerals such as phosphorus, iodine and selenium.

(WHFoods, 2001)

Read HERE for more about the benefits of eggs.


- Rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin C, fiber and various minerals.

- Optimize body cells’ detoxification & cleansing ablity

- Promote GI health

- Promote women's health

- Protect against Alzheimer’s Diseases

(WHFoods, 2001)

Want to know more? Click HERE.


- Contains Vitamin E

- Free of trans fats and made with heart healthy oils such as soybean and canola oil.

- Some mayonnaise are made with omega-3 fatty acids which has been linked to positive treatment of arthritis and colon inflammation.

(The Association for Dressings and Sauces, 2009).

More information on mayonnaise HERE.

So does the above benefits make Ramly Burger a wise food choice?

Which brings us to the next question...

Ramly : Good or Harmful ?

Despite the benefits stated previously, the burger also has its downside.

While eating the burger only occasionally does not possess any detrimental effects to humans, it is unhealthy in the long run if consumed on a regular basis as it is not nutritionally balanced. It is:

1. High in Sodium
- Sodium from common salt and other additives (Schierer, T., 2007).
- A high sodium diet increases risks of developing high blood pressure (Hoernlein, C., 2009).

2. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- MSG is very damaging to our body as it may directly affect immune response by damaging the nervous system, create taurine deficiency, causes asthma, damages retina and may stimulate the pancreas, causing type II diabetes (Hoernlein, C., 2009).

3. Deficient in dietary fiber and essential micro-nutrients
- Lack of vitamins and minerals (Schierer, T., 2007).
- This would lead to problems such as constipation and vitamins or minerals deficiencies.
- Besides that, eating a high-fat, high-carb meal produces damaging cellular changes that in people. A research from Kaleida Health, New York found that eating a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal increased oxidative stress and inflammation in normal-weight people (Dr. W., 2007)

4. Calorie dense
- The burger is packed with calories due to the ingredients (burger patty, mayonnaise) and method of cooking (frying) (Schierer, T., 2007).
- Piling up of unused empty calories in the body eventually get stored as body fat. This may lead to obesity in some people and may also increase risks of heart diseases as the patty is also rich in saturated fats (Schierer, T., 2007).
- The processed meat also contains trans fat. This form of fat is often preferred by manufacturers as it does not turn rancid (Theavy S., 2007).
- Trans fats are not natural and may inhibit the function of enzymes in our body for the normal metabolism of fat (Theavy S., 2007).

5. Food colouring
- Used as an ingredient in the burger patty.
- A recent study confirms a link between Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and artificial food colours (Institute of Science in Society, 2007).

A Healthy Ramly Burger? Is It Possible?

Yes, it certainly is possible. There are a few ways to prepare a healthier option to increase the benefits of the burger and reduce its negative effects on consumers. How?

1. Change the current method of cooking

Ramly burger are often prepared by frying. Frying as we all know adds fats to the food. To avoid this, cooking methods such as stir-drying, grilling and broiling can be applied as they require little or no fat.

Watch a video we took on how a Ramly Burger is made:

2. Cut down on MSG and salt
An alternative flavoring would be to use herbs and spices. Examples of beneficial herbs are garlic, ginger or capsaicin. Studies have shown that these herbs are able to reduce the cholesterol level (MayoClinic, 2008).

3. Whole Grain Buns are good
Instead of the normal white buns used, whole grain buns can be used as it is richer in fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats. Studies have confirmed that consuming whole grains lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases (ScienceDaily, 2007).

4. Add a greater variety of nutritious ingredients
To increase moisture, flavor and nutrition, nutritious ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, peppers, fruits or vegetable relishes can be added to the burger. A healthier patty such as fish which contains less calories and fats can be used, though the price might be higher. For those who are limiting their calorie intake, they can opt for vegetarian patties. Vegetable patties can be made using ingredients such as beans or mushrooms to decrease the amount of saturated fats consumed. Additional cheese added onto the burger can also be a low-fat option.

So, here's a little poll for you. After reading all of these, would you still go out and grab yourself a Ramly Burger?


Advameg, 2007. Metabolism. Available from: [Accessed 24th February 2009].

Davis, L., 2001. Protein Metabolism. Available from: [Accessed 23rd February 2009].

Dr. W., 2007. Weight Loss Blog. Available from: [Accessed 23th February 2009].

Hoernlein, C., 2009. Body Systems Affected by MSG. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 23th February 2009].

Institute of Science in Society, 2007. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 23th February 2009].

MayoClinic, 2008. Sodium: Are You Getting Too Much? [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 23th February 2009].

National Association of Margarine Manufacturers, 2008. Margarine. Available from: [Accessed 22nd February 2009].

Ophardt, C., 2003. Overview of Protein Metabolism. Available from: [Accessed 23rd February 2009].

Schierer, T., 2007. Fast Food Effects on Health. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 23th February 2009].

ScienceDaily, 2007. Health Benefits of Whole Grains Confirmed. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 23th February 2009].

The Association for Dressings and Sauces, 2009. Make Mine Mayonnaise. Available from: [Accessed 22nd February 2009].

Theavy S., 2007. Society of Natural Health, Malaysia. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 23th February 2009].

University of South Australia, 2000. Fat Metabolism. Available from: [Accessed 22nd February 2009].

WHFoods, 2001. World's Healthiest Foods. Available from: [Accessed 24th February 2009].