According to ObesityAction.org, the number of fast food restaurants in America has doubled to nearly 300,000. The Centers for Disease Control reports that nearly 33.8% of the U.S. population is obese and 19% of children are. These high and unsafe numbers have many wondering if fast food is the main culprit for this obesity trend.
It’s no secret that fast food meals and sides consist of high calories and fat grams. For example, the Big Mac from McDonald’s is 540 calories with 29 grams of fat and the Burger King Whopper is 670 calories with 40 grams of fat. All of these foods are processed and full of high levels of both fat and sodium. It is not difficult to take on one’s daily calorie load at one fast food meal.
Because these meals are cheap, fast and easy, they appeal to the busy Americans. Many argue that it is cheaper to buy a meal from a fast food restaurant then cook at home. Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea how much extra fat they are eating when choosing fast food.
Ingredients in Fast Food
The unhealthy ingredients found in this food are what contribute to obesity. Fast food has saturated fat, total fat, carbohydrates and added sugars that are all unhealthy on a regular basis and in overconsumption. Also, most of these foods do not contain vital vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy functioning body. Also, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, many fast food items include high fructose corn syrup which made experts contribute to the obesity epidemic.
In the documentary Super Size Me, they showed the problem with fast food was the portion size. Many researchers have found that the average person will still eat their meal regardless if they feel full or not.
Cheap and Easy
According to the University of Washington, a 2,000 calories diet that was full of junk food cost 10 times less than a healthy diet with the same amount of calories. This may be a big reason why low-income people are more likely to become obese. The same researchers also found that the cost of healthy food has gone up by 19.5% while unhealthy food has dropped almost 2%.
Is there a way to eat fast food in a more healthy way?
If one must eat fast food or simply can’t give up, there are a few helpful hints to follow when doing so. First, forget the sauces as they add a ton of calories to a sandwich. Try mustard, salsa or a low-calorie salad dressing instead. Next, don’t eat the fries, choose a salad instead. Skip soda and choose water or a sugar-free beverage to cut out more calories. Next, choose a grilled sandwich instead of a fried one.
Many books such as Fast Food Nation have studied the effects of fast food on the overall health of those consuming it. However, even despite these studied people still choose to indulge in fast food and many times a week.
One study found that fast food led to obesity in 3 million school children and over 1 million pregnant women.