How fast food affects your body
It’s tempting to grab fast food on hectic schedule, but people need to make sure they weigh that convenience against the potential health hazards.
“It is important to really consider what you’re putting into your body,” says Barbara Melendi, registered dietitian at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “Some fast food options are highly processed, and a poor diet can put you at risk of more than just obesity.”
- Saturated and trans fats that raises blood cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke
- A high amount of sodium which can lead to high blood pressure
- Lots of fat and sugar that contributes to obesity
Busy adults aren’t the only ones at risk.
Nearly one in three children are overweight or obese, and childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades in the U.S., according to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.
“Ideally everyone would eat the recommended amount of protein, fruits and vegetables every day, but realistically that is not always possible,” says Melendi.
When looking for a quick meal, Melendi recommends:
- Choosing a salad or grilled item if you must east fast food
- Checking the nutritional information often posted on restaurants’ websites or using an app such as “Fast Food Calories” or “CalorieKing” to compare menu items and choose healthier options
- Running into the grocery store for a quick salad or soup to go
- Reading the labels on your food before checking out at the store
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.