We all know that fast food isn’t the best option for those who are trying to lose weight, but does that mean we should cut it out of our diet entirely? Not necessarily. Fast food items such as cheeseburgers and french fries are delicious, but they’re also loaded with sodium, fats, and cholesterol. While your body does need these nutrients in order to function, fast foods often contain excessive amounts of them that can easily surpass your recommended daily intake. It’s important to have fast food in moderation, much like desserts or other “guilty-pleasure” foods, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Remember “Super Size Me”?
Recent studies have linked out-of-home eating (fast food or otherwise) to increased levels of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as depression and fatigue. One Big Mac from McDonald’s is not going to cause diabetes overnight, but eating McDonald’s multiple times per week can lead to plenty of health issues. In one Big Mac meal with a medium fry and soda, there are over 1,000 calories. This amounts to more than half of the 2,000 calorie recommended daily intake, not to mention the carbohydrates, fats, and sodium found in each item. A good rule of thumb is to try and eat fast food only once or twice a week maximum, and to have those meals be your largest of the day. Stopping to grab a burger on the way home from work may be easy, but burning off those calories wont be!
Of course, there are always healthier options at fast food restaurants as well. Most major fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s have recognized that their restaurants are unhealthy, and have started to implement salad menus and other light options such as yogurt parfaits to appeal to those who are trying to watch what they eat. If fast food is your only option, consider looking at these healthier menu items instead of choosing calorie dense foods like burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets. That being said, fast food in moderation won’t kill you. If you’ve had a long day of exercise, work, or even just need a little pick-me-up, stopping for a
quick bite to eat at your favorite drive-thru can be a great way to refuel and refocus. At the end of the day, moderation is key!