When it comes to eating healthy, one of the most dangerous habits people develop is depending on fast food for meals. In today’s society, fast food has become a quick replacement for eating a home-cooked meal.
As a result, we’re experiencing more problems with obesity and chronic illness than ever before. Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes have become some of the most serious problems we face as a society. This is the first generation in many that our life expectancy is actually decreasing.
While fast food certainly isn’t the only factor to consider, it’s definitely a major contributor to health problems. It’s important to take stock of your lifestyle and make sure you’re doing all you can to live the best life possible.
Why We Take the Fast Lane for Food
For many people, eating fast food is as habitual as brushing their teeth. In fact there are many families that eat most of their meals from a fast food restaurant. What is it about this lifestyle that’s appealing?
First, today our schedules are more hectic than ever. It’s not uncommon for a typical family of four to have activities to attend every night of the week. After coming home from work or school, you may only have a few minutes to spend before heading out again.
Enter fast food. When you need something quick, it’s easy to just hop in the car and grab a quick bite to eat on the way to your next stop. Most people don’t even take a few moments to eat something at a table.
The cost of fast food is also appealing for many people. Buying fresh, nutritious ingredients for meals can often break the family budget. Fast food companies have appealed to the thrifty family by offering dollar menu items that are less expensive than some home cooked meals.
Fast food companies have also capitalized on the flavors that our bodies crave. We are genetically engineered to love fat, sugar, and salt. These are essential nutrients, but in nature they aren’t that abundant.
We’re hard-wired to crave these nutrients and take them in whenever we can. Unfortunately, we’re no longer part of hunter-gatherer societies and the typical person can have access to these nutrients at any time.
That means that we tend to overindulge in the things that once were hard to come by. Fast food companies tend to serve meals loaded with extra fats, salt, and sugar and we keep them in business by eating them regularly.
Even if you don’t have a large family and activities to attend, you may find that after a long day of work you’re just too tired to cook a meal. Sometimes single people can be as much or more affected by the temptation to grab a quick bite on the way home.
Why You Should Say No to Fast Food
Fast food may seem like a friend to the busy family trying to save money. However, it’s really not as friendly as you might think. Eating fast food regularly has consequences that greatly outweigh its benefits to your lifestyle.
Here are a few problems with fast food:
- The average fast food meal can have as many calories as you need for an entire day
- Fast food meals tend to be high in saturated fat – that’s the fat that causes heart disease
- Food from fast food restaurants tends to have high amounts of preservatives
- Many fast food restaurants serve meat with fillers known as “pink slime” that are treated with harsh chemicals
- While many restaurants offer healthier choices, those choices are usually more expensive and not chosen as often
- Fast food meals don’t contain the necessary vitamins and minerals for good health
- Fast food meals don’t contain much fiber which helps to keep digestion regular and lower cholesterol
- The cost of treating medical conditions caused by a poor diet are much greater than any money you could save on a value menu
- For the first time in history, children are having problems due to obesity that once plagued only adults such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol
While it may seem convenient and inexpensive, the real cost of a fast food diet can be devastating for your health. It’s important to find a way to eat healthier foods that will fit into your lifestyle.
The Benefits of Saying Yes to a Healthy Diet
Once you begin to let go of your fast food habit, you’ll begin to see immediate benefits. First you may notice that after meals you no longer feel weighed down by heavy foods. Healthy foods tend to leave you feeling light and energized while fast food tends to make you feel heavy and lethargic.
You may also enjoy one or more of the following benefits:
- Weight loss – you may find that you begin to lose weight without really focusing on it
- Lower cholesterol
- More energy
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Reduced risk of diabetes and fewer problems if you’ve already been diagnosed
- More energy
When you say no to fast food and yes to a healthy diet, you’re choosing a life that’s free from many of the health problems associated with a diet high in calories, fat, and sodium.