Fast food: why too much can be too much

Nov 12, 2014
Fast food fare has its pluses but its minuses can leave you in bad shape.   Ted Bigham

THE next time you feel like dropping by a fastfood joint or a 24-hour convenience store for a quick fix, you might want to consider the pros and the cons before ingesting that greasy burger and side order of french fries.

Although you may leave feeling full and satisfied after your meal, you could also wind up leaving unhealthier.

If you live or work in the city, fast food is practically everywhere - from fancy, air-conditioned restaurants, colorful mall kiosks to cheap sidewalk stalls.

We may think we reap instant benefits from fast food dining: they’re readily available, relatively inexpensive, tasty and served quickly. Many people consider fast food as their first choice for meals since these are economical and well suited for a busy lifestyle and offer a convenient alternative to cooking at home.

But what we should also know is that down the road, our bodies will pay the price for over-indulging. Fast food meals are generally high in calories, fat, saturated, sugar and salt and may put people at greater risk of becoming overweight.

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As an example of the perils posed by fast food, many establishments use partially hydrogenated oil for its convenience since this can be reheated and reused many times. Cooks can fry more food with less oil. Unfortunately, this “100 percent cholesterol-free” oil contains trans fats, and consumption of trans fats could lead to heart disease.

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Fast food menus also serve processed foods (low in nutrients and high in sodium) as well as soft drinks - the biggest sources of added sugar in the diet and excessive consumption of sugar can lead to adverse effects on your metabolism.

When ordering consider a ‘healthier choice.' A meal consisting of a cheeseburger, French fries and soda might be replaced by a ham sandwich, side salad and a glass of water or non-carbonated drink for example.

Here are other bits of information as well as suggestions to counter the fast food fad:

  • Avoid deep-fried food since these tend to be very high in fats and calories. Deep-frying drastically reduces the amount of nutrients.
  • If you can, eliminate foods containing trans fats completely. Trans fats are simply too destructive to your heart.
  • Limit extras such as cheese, bacon and mayonnaise.
  • Consider eating in places that offer a variety of salads, soups and vegetable dishes.
  • Not all dietary fats are bad. There are actually fats that are healthy since your body needs healthy fats to function normally. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats work to lower your risk of heart disease and can even reduce the cholesterol in your bloodstream. Food containing healthy fats include olive oil, avocadoes, eggs, nuts and oily fish such as tuna, sardines salmon and mackerel.
  • Try to adopt a more balanced diet by inserting fruits, grains and vegetables into your meals.
  • Adopt a more active lifestyle. Try to find ways to exercise on a regular basis.
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Research shows that one out of four Filipino adults is overweight. Childhood obesity is on the rise. With people spending more time online, seated in front of computers poring over the internet and social media, obesity will continue to rise due to the lack of physical activity and the popularity of unhealthy eating habits.

With the proper diet and the right amount of exercise, you can also improve your health by making sure you have daily nutrients.

To aid your diet, take a multivitamin packed with the right amount of nutrients to help fill in nutritional gaps. But make sure it’s not just any multivitamin; it has to be complete.

Centrum not only fills in those nutritional gaps, it also helps give the body energy, strengthens the immune system and promotes healthy skin.

Help complete your nutrition by taking Centrum every day. #BeComplete from A to Zinc for only P10 SRP daily!

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Fast food fare has its pluses but its minuses can leave you in bad shape.   Ted Bigham
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