What’s not on the Menu: More Reasons to Avoid Fast FoodPosted: May 9, 2012 in Healthy Eating by Craig Primack MD FACP
Even more reasons to avoid the drive-thru window during your medical weight loss program.
The fact that you can have a meal handed to you without even getting out of your car should raise a big red flag, but for many of us drive-thru windows are the norm. We are surprised when a pizza company isn’t willing to deliver calorie-packed food to our doorsteps, and frustrated when our dinner takes longer than three minutes to be handed to us. Perhaps due to the ridiculous convenience of fast-food, we tend to turn a blind eye and avoid thinking about the nutritional quality of the burger and fries sitting in our laps.
Here are a few quick facts about fast-food items that may help you stop craving the greasy junk food.
- A ‘supersized’ or ‘king-sized’ order of French fries has about 600 calories and 30 grams of fat.
- An order of chicken nuggets from a fast food restaurant has twice as much fat per ounce as a fast food hamburger does.
- A large soda contains about 310 calories per refill.
The facts about just how bad fast food is for you can be hard to digest, especially as we are subjected to so much marketing that gets our mouths salivating and our minds forgetting about the diet plans for just another night. Thirty-three billion dollars are spent annually advertising food items, and just under one-third of that is tailored towards children.
Is Fast-Food to Blame for Obesity?
There are a lot of people who will shout a resounding ‘yes’ after being asked this question. The amount of sodium, high-fat foods and sodas that are consumed in this country has risen exponentially over the last several decades. A lot of Americans can’t seem to break away from the habit. This is causing cities to begin intervening by banning fast-food-like items from school lunches and creating designated walking zones in downtown areas where visitors are forced to get out of their cars and walk around instead of driving up to every door as they run their errands. A few of the more progressive proposed initiatives to limit fast food consumption include an added tax on soda and zoning limitations on fast-food restaurants.
Fast Food: More than a Calorie Problem
In addition to the health consequences of living on fast food, there is an emerging pool of critics who find that fast-food may actually be changing the way many Americans are living their lives, and not for the better.
Consider the ways that fast food is influencing the American culture:
- Instant Gratification Curbs Stewardship: The years of the rural U.S being an agricultural environment are long gone, and the lesson that the soil teaches young gardeners seems to be diminishing as well. Too many adults and children alike have no patience when it comes to waiting for a meal, let alone the understanding of the care required when tending to a garden of their own.
- Reduced Sense of Community: Very little of the food we eat comes from local resources. As a result, increasingly fewer local farmers are able to provide for their communities, as private farmers cannot maintain a sustainable living. This leaves us with fewer options to eat locally-grown foods, which means more processed and preserved items headed to our plates.
Stepping away from fast-food is a hard transition for a lot of patients beginning medical weight loss programs, but it is an important step to make. There are plenty of ways to find convenient meal options without succumbing to the drive-thru: you just need to find what works for you.