Last Updated on April 8, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
In the United States, fast food is one of the biggest industries. You can spot a burger joint or a burrito hub even in the smallest of towns. In reality, it’s a brilliant idea – combining the need for sustenance in a fast-paced environment. Unfortunately, it may also contribute to some of the most unhealthiest of practices. However, you shouldn’t condemn these organizations. There may be a way you can enjoy those tasty treats and still remain healthy.
The Damage Fast Food Can Cause When Eating A Lot of It
There are two obvious components to fast food that make it unhealthy: sodium and fats. I know there is far more out there that can do some damage such as genetic modification and growth hormones, but I’m just looking at the components that are simple and in plentiful supply. Even if you eat organic-grown beef, you’ll still consume a great deal of sodium and fats. I could go on for hours about all of the bad things in fast food, but I’ll probably go into that at a later date.
It’s important to remember that all salt is sodium, but not all sodium is salt. You can still consume a great deal of this component even if you don’t season your food. It all depends on what it is and how it was prepared. Sodium helps regulate hydration and blood-sugar levels in the body. But too much of it can be damaging to the heart and lead to a slew of physical complications.
Fats and Carbs
Not all fats and carbohydrates need to be avoided. In fact, the human body can metabolize these nicely – especially if you’re very physically active. What makes this part extremely bad in fast food is that the “bad” fats and carbs are in plentiful supply in most cases. Without an energized outlet, these elements can easily add to health problems including obesity and heart disease.
Ways to Reduce the Impact of Fast Food on Health
Of course the best way to avoid the damage fast food can play on the body is to avoid it all together. But I believe that you don’t have to deny yourself some of the guilty pleasures in life. I take more of a Buddhist approach to health – everything in moderation. Here are some methods you can limit how fast food affects your body.
Water isn’t merely the building block of all carbon-based lifeforms. It allows the body to rid itself of excess elements within. This isn’t saying that drinking a whole gallon at once will get rid of all of your fat, but it does help move things like excessive sodium and other toxins out through urine. And, it’s always key to keep yourself hydrated throughout any given day.
More Physical Activity
The lack of physical activity is what drives many of us to become obese. My problem is that I spend 16 hours per day in front of my computer. By getting more movement and adding a regular routine of exercise, you can burn away a lot of those fats and carbs you eat through fast food. However, this still doesn’t do much when faced with the other elements such as sodium and chemical modifications. But it will help prevent that Big Mac from collecting onto your ass.
Reduce Your Visits
A lot of Americans spend a great deal of time and money at the drive through of their favorite fast food stop. Try to limit these visits to just a couple of times a month. I know it’s difficult at times, especially when you’re balancing a family and a career. Time may not be on your side for cooking dinner. Plan your day better and prepare for those moments when you only have a few minutes to eat. Besides, the food you make at home is going to be far healthier, and often cheaper, than anything you could pick up at the drive through.
Avoid Large and Super Sizes
Even if it’s a better monetary value to order more food, it’s not better for the body. Most medium sized drinks are going to add more than 200 calories to your diet, not to mention the sugars and carbs. Sometimes, I’ll skip the meals and just drink a water with the sandwich. Most of us in the US are grossly overfed in terms of mass. Do you really need to have all of that food even if it’s considered cheap or on the “dollar” menu?
Dump the Bun
Sometimes my wife will order a burger at McDonald’s without the bun. There are times when we just feed the bun to the dogs. This decreases the calorie and carb intake greatly. While it’s not the most ideal snack for my black lab, it’s not very often and he’ll easily burn it off because he’s an energetic spaz. Bread products can be the source of many complications in terms of food. While I do use it in many of my recipes, it’s the amount of bread that I don’t eat that helps me.
A lot of fast food restaurants have “value” or “dollar” menu items that are cheap on the wallet. Unforutanetly, this doesn’t mean that the decrease in price is also a decrease in unhealthy additives. For example, a McDouble here costs just over $1.00. It’s also close to 400 calories – nearly twice that of my favorite Progresso soups. Don’t be tempted to give these organizations the change in your wallet when it could be better spent getting something far healthier from the store.
You don’t have to deny yourself some of the tasty things that fast food restaurants create. Just make sure you don’t overload your system with things that can contribute to a shortened lifespan. Take the time to make something tasty at home, and reduce your dependence on the drive through window. Otherwise, you may be paying for the convenience of being unhealthy.