Fast Food or Fat Food?

We are talking about the "F" word in this episode. Fast food (okay two "f" words). So does fast food make you gain weight and is it unhealthy? We cover better fast food options, those sneaky options that look healthy and why, even after doing your homework, fast food might still cause weight gain.

In our "worth it or waste" segment, we cover and obvious waste- the french fry holder that fits in your car cup holder (pause for reaction). Obviously if we eat so many french fries that a special holder to eat them while driving is needed, we have a problem!

The french fry holder brings us to this episode's topic- fast foods. While eating fast food occasionally, about 1 to 3 times a month, might not have any long term effects, according to one small study, it could. In a study of 28 healthy men fed one high saturated fat, high sodium fast food meal, researches found their artery walls narrowed by 24% just 2 hours after eating the meal. A Mediterranean style meal with the same amount of fat from unsaturated fats on the other hand, did not have this effect. Narrowing and hardening of the artery walls is a precursor of high blood pressure and potentially other heart problems down the road.

If you do visit a fast food restaurant and would like to find healthier options, be aware of these sneaky culprits:

1. Salads: limit cheese, dried fruit, crispy things like tortilla strips or wonton strips, bacon, heavy dressings and breaded meats. Pick just one or two of these higher calorie options and request the rest be left off.

2. Condiments: many sandwiches and burgers come with mayonnaise. By asking them to hold the mayo, you will save 80-100 calories and around 10 grams fat (per tablespoon).

3. Human element: while the menu boards says 350 calories for the sandwich you order, the employee making the sandwich could add a little extra sauce or cheese, bringing the calorie total to 430 calories. By limiting how often you dine out, you can prevent this common occurrence from hampering your health goals.

Click here to read ten better fast food choices from the Today Show.

As always, talk with your doctor about health concerns or changes you make to improve your health. He or she will be happy to hear you are taking care of your health!

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