Sugary & Salty Fast Food – Are Both Culprits In Increasing Your Weight

The words “fast food” may conjure images of greasy burgers, salty fries and frosty shakes brimming with fat and sugar. The truth is, fast food doesn’t always mean “bad for you,” said Linda Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University.

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“You just have to be selective, both about the choice of restaurant and the choices you make when you get there,” Van Horn said. “Some, but not all, fast food restaurants have grilled chicken, salads, low-fat milk, fruit, and even oatmeal choices for breakfast. Figure out which restaurants offer such options and try to frequent those more often. Consumer behavior strongly influences what restaurants choose to serve, so if you want healthier choices, choose them and let it be known.”

Even if you’re in good heart health, try to avoid poor food choices, especially the obvious culprits that are deep-fried, swimming in cream or butter, showered in salt or glittering with sugar. Even a salad that may seem healthy is just a few dollops of fatty dressing away from being bad for your heart.

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A standard fast-food meal of a burger, fries and soft drink is about 650 kilocalories roughly the extra amount that people worldwide, on average, are consuming every day compared to what they were eating in the 1970s.

“A salad loaded with bacon, salty high-fat dressing and cheeses can have more calories than a hamburger or piece of thin-crust cheese pizza,” Van Horn said.

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Diet is an important part of your overall health. A diet high in saturated and trans fats raises blood cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and too much fat and sugar can lead to obesity, both of which may contribute to heart disease as well.

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