16
April
2013

The Effects of Fast Food on Your Health

The Effects of Fast Food on Your Health

Fast food is cheap, easy, tasty, and filling, so it is no wonder that one quarter of all Americans eat fast food every day. However, the majority of fast food is packed with sugar, sodium, and fat, with very little fiber or vitamins. Excessive, long-term consumption of fast food leads to a multitude of health issues, which is routinely the subject of public discussion, and yet we continue to consume it. In this article, we discuss some of the most important health impacts of regular fast food consumption, and how you can reduce your fast food intake.

Health impacts

Obesity

Most fast food meals contain at least 1000 calories. Super-size that, add bacon and mayonnaise, and we are talking up to 2000 calories (the recommended amount for an entire day) in a single meal! On a regular basis, this means increased body fat that can eventually make you overweight or obese. Obesity, defined as a body mass index or BMI of 30kg/m2 or more, is clinically proven to increase your risk of chronic heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Cardiovascular disease

Obesity increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Excess fat consumption also increases the risk of developing arterial plaques that can trigger a heart attack. Excess sodium consumption also increases blood pressure, which has multiple consequences on the cardiovascular system and body in general. This is especially important when you consider that over half of all fast food meals contain more than the 1,500 mg/day recommended sodium intake!

Diabetes

Type II diabetes is a growing concern in America. Currently, 10% of the population is diabetic, which is expected to increase to 30% in the next 40 years. This is due to high obesity rates and sugar intake.

Are you really saving money?

Fast food is marketed as a cheap food option, but the average customer spends more than 5 dollars per meal. Eating at home can be easily cheaper than this, and all it takes is a little practice at cooking, learning how to buy groceries, and making time for preparing food at home. In the long-term, you will also be saving money by avoiding health bills related to obesity and diabetes.

Fast food alternatives

The best way to avoid fast food is to purchase healthy snack foods at the grocery store and keep them handy whenever a food craving hits you. Good options include celery or carrot sticks, fruits such as apples, oranges, or bananas, mixed nuts, beef jerky, plain yogurt, granola, or baked chips. Another good strategy is to make time for cooking and eating at home. This also gives you an opportunity for quality family time.

Healthy fast food dining

If you do find yourself at a fast food restaurant there are some easy strategies to cut the calories, fat, sugar, and sodium you consume. Avoid soft drinks and buy water or unsweetened drinks instead. Do not fall for the price marketing employed with “super-sized” portions; they contain far more food than you need. Choose grilled options over similar fried foods. Avoid high-calorie add-ons such as bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise; use mustard or ketchup instead. Go for lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and lean cuts of beef and ham as opposed to meatballs, steak, hamburger, and tuna salad. Whenever possible, choose the options with fewer calories, lower fat, sodium, and sugar content, and higher fiber and nutrient content.

Categories: Food and Health

5.0/5 rating (2 votes)

Nutrition Facts

16
April
2013

The Effects of Fast Food on Your Health

The Effects of Fast Food on Your Health

Fast food is cheap, easy, tasty, and filling, so it is no wonder that one quarter of all Americans eat fast food every day. However, the majority of fast food is packed with sugar, sodium, and fat, with very little fiber or vitamins. Excessive, long-term consumption of fast food leads to a multitude of health issues, which is routinely the subject of public discussion, and yet we continue to consume it. In this article, we discuss some of the most important health impacts of regular fast food consumption, and how you can reduce your fast food intake.

Health impacts

Obesity

Most fast food meals contain at least 1000 calories. Super-size that, add bacon and mayonnaise, and we are talking up to 2000 calories (the recommended amount for an entire day) in a single meal! On a regular basis, this means increased body fat that can eventually make you overweight or obese. Obesity, defined as a body mass index or BMI of 30kg/m2 or more, is clinically proven to increase your risk of chronic heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Cardiovascular disease

Obesity increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Excess fat consumption also increases the risk of developing arterial plaques that can trigger a heart attack. Excess sodium consumption also increases blood pressure, which has multiple consequences on the cardiovascular system and body in general. This is especially important when you consider that over half of all fast food meals contain more than the 1,500 mg/day recommended sodium intake!

Diabetes

Type II diabetes is a growing concern in America. Currently, 10% of the population is diabetic, which is expected to increase to 30% in the next 40 years. This is due to high obesity rates and sugar intake.

Are you really saving money?

Fast food is marketed as a cheap food option, but the average customer spends more than 5 dollars per meal. Eating at home can be easily cheaper than this, and all it takes is a little practice at cooking, learning how to buy groceries, and making time for preparing food at home. In the long-term, you will also be saving money by avoiding health bills related to obesity and diabetes.

Fast food alternatives

The best way to avoid fast food is to purchase healthy snack foods at the grocery store and keep them handy whenever a food craving hits you. Good options include celery or carrot sticks, fruits such as apples, oranges, or bananas, mixed nuts, beef jerky, plain yogurt, granola, or baked chips. Another good strategy is to make time for cooking and eating at home. This also gives you an opportunity for quality family time.

Healthy fast food dining

If you do find yourself at a fast food restaurant there are some easy strategies to cut the calories, fat, sugar, and sodium you consume. Avoid soft drinks and buy water or unsweetened drinks instead. Do not fall for the price marketing employed with “super-sized” portions; they contain far more food than you need. Choose grilled options over similar fried foods. Avoid high-calorie add-ons such as bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise; use mustard or ketchup instead. Go for lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and lean cuts of beef and ham as opposed to meatballs, steak, hamburger, and tuna salad. Whenever possible, choose the options with fewer calories, lower fat, sodium, and sugar content, and higher fiber and nutrient content.

Categories: Food and Health

5.0/5 rating (2 votes)

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