Whenever 5 p.m. approaches and you don’t have a clue what’s for dinner, the glowing sign in front of the burger joint down the street might be beckoning.
A quick trip through the drive-thru might seem like the perfect option, but there are definite drawbacks. Since fast-food restaurants serve food so quickly, cheaply, and consistently, they focus more on process and efficiency than on serving nutritious, quality food.
The dietitian Nancy Geib, RD, LDN says eating Fast Food Can Affect Your Body occasionally isn’t something to be worried about. There are times when it’s all you can get.
You can still go to a fast-food restaurant if that’s all you have if you do your research and search for the best options, she says.
However, if burgers, French fries, and greasy breakfast sandwiches become the centerpieces of your diet, you may suffer serious health consequences. You are more likely to develop depression, cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions if you eat an unhealthy diet.
In what sense is fast food considered fast?
It is true that fast food has been around for almost a century, but the concept – and some of America’s most well-known fast-food restaurants – took off during the 1940s and 1950s. In fact, Fast Food Can Affect Your Body is such a staple of American culture that one in three Americans consume it every single day.
Fast food is highly processed and mass-produced food that’s usually cooked quickly – usually over a grill, in a fryer, or in a microwave. Restaurants serving Fast Food Can Affect Your Body follow very specific preparation methods to make sure you always get the crispy, greasy fries you expect.
What are the health risks of fast food?
The effects of different foods vary from person to person, but here are some of the things that eating Fast Food Can Affect Your Body might do to your body:
Blood pressure rises
Fast food items are loaded with sodium, which is a preservative that enhances taste and preserves freshness. Geib says processed, packaged, or boxed products all contain sodium.
A high-sodium diet is known to increase blood pressure, which puts stress on the cardiovascular system. High blood pressure can stiffen or narrow your blood vessels over time, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
According to the American Heart Association, adults should try to limit their salt consumption to under 1,500 milligrams a day – although its current recommendations allow up to 2,300 milligrams. As sodium is so prevalent in our diets, it can quickly accumulate.
You can pretty close to the daily recommended 1,500 milligrams of sodium with just one bacon cheeseburger. Fried chicken breast accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy can be equally satisfying. The daily intake of sodium can surpass 1,000 milligrams even with seemingly healthier options, like an Italian-style sub sandwich.
Leaves you feeling bloated
Bloating can occur if you eat meals that are high in sodium, high in fat, or high in refined carbohydrates (such as bread, buns, or breading). Carbonation from a soda could make matters worse if you drink it with your meal. If you’re wearing tighter pants or if you’re trying to put or remove rings, bleeding should only be temporary. However, it can make life difficult if you’re wearing tight pants or if you’re putting on or taking off rings.
Raising your cholesterol
Fats, including saturated fat, are high in food that has been fried in oil. Taking in too much saturated fat increases your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, which puts you at risk for heart disease. No more than 6% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat, according to the American Heart Association. For every 2,000 calories you consume, that amounts to 13 grams of fat, or the amount in a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich.
Contribute to digestive issues
While bagels, muffins, and anything breaded might taste great, they’re all processed carbohydrates that lack fiber. It is important to eat adequate amounts of fiber (25 to 35 grams per day) to maintain a healthy digestive system. You are less likely to develop diverticulitis and other conditions associated with constipation and straining, such as hemorrhoids and hernias.
The fiber in your diet also helps your gut bacteria flourish and keeps you feeling full. The recommended amount of vitamins and minerals won’t be achievable if you rely heavily on Fast Food Can Affect Your Body. Coffee-shop blueberry muffins provide about 20% of your daily carbohydrate needs but only a few grams of fiber.
Result in weight gain
By going to the drive-thru and getting a value meal, you’re likely to end up eating a larger portion (and higher-calorie foods) than if you were cooking at home. It doesn’t take long for those extra calories to add up to extra pounds if that becomes a regular occurrence. You might end up feeling hungry within a few hours if those calories are mostly from highly processed carbohydrates, which contributes to – you guessed it – even more added calories.
And then there’s the sugar factor. It’s well known that sugar contributes to obesity. Foods and drinks, as well as sauces and drinks, contain it. Foods and drinks, as well as sauces and drinks, contain it. There is sugar in foods and drinks, as well as sauces and drinks. Guess how much is in your morning café mocha? Around 25 grams. How about in your vanilla milkshake? A large one has more than 80 grams. A teaspoon is more than 8 grams.
Don’t drain your energy
Your blood sugar rises quickly after you consume refined carbohydrates and sugar, so your body produces a surge of insulin to bring it back down. When you experience spikes and crashes, you can feel tired and cranky.
Furthermore, a balanced meal with protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates takes longer for your body to digest and absorb. Slowing the release of sugar into your bloodstream provides sustained energy without a crash.
Influence your mood
If you eat a diet high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar and refined carbs, you’re not only getting too much of these things, but you’re also missing out on a lot of other important nutrients. In addition to iceberg lettuce and tomato slices on Fast Food Can Affect Your Body sandwiches, fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that nourish your body and improve your mood.
You could even be more likely to develop depression if you eat a lot of processed foods.
The five healthiest fast food options
- Pepperoni pizza: contains about 680 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of fat (including 5 grams of saturated fat), and 300 calories per slice. How many people eat just one piece? In just one meal, three slices of a large pie provide more than 2,000 mg of sodium – almost the daily limit for average Americans.
- Burger and fries: A typical double cheeseburger and large fries contain more than 1,200 calories and 1,700 milligrams of sodium. You’ll consume 1,500 calories if you combine it with a large soda.
- Cold-cut deli meat: Deli meats tend to be high in salt, saturated fat, and carcinogenic compounds called nitrates and nitrites, which are known to cause some types of cancer. Processed deli meats can contain up to 1,300 milligrams of sodium – even before you add cheese, condiments, bread, and chips.
- The hot dog: Without condiments, a typical frankfurter contains more than half your daily recommended saturated fat intake and 33% of your daily sodium intake. When you eat two hot dogs a day, you are eating close to your daily saturated fat and sodium allotment.
- Chicken: One fried chicken breast from your favorite chicken place contains 500 calories, 34 grams of fat, and 1,200 milligrams or more of sodium.
Fast food options that are healthier
You can eat fast food without sabotaging your healthy diet, but you have to do some work to accomplish it.
Meals with lean proteins, veggies, and fiber are best, and anything supersized should be avoided.
You can make an informed choice by researching the nutritional content of a particular Fast Food Can Affect Your Body, says Geib. It should be available online or in the restaurant if you ask. All of the major restaurants should have that information.