Hey there! You like fast food, right? Let’s be clear here: whatever your opinions are about food, most of us would agree that the concept of “fast food”, where whatever your nourishment of choice may be can be made to eat faster, is pretty awesome. After all, nobody likes spending 5 hours to make something if they could get the exact same thing in 5 minutes.
What fast food is today, however, is generally regarded as unhealthy, and for good reason. Most “fast food” is what you get in a to-go, drive through style, with places like McDonald’s typically being the figurehead of the industry. And the majority of people whose diets include copious amounts of fast food meals tend to have the most health related problems and mortality rates.
But what is it about fast food that makes it so unhealthy? Keep in mind that businesses go into business to make a profit. And one of the ways to do that, aside from raising prices, is to lower overhead; lowering the cost of manufacturing the product specifically in the example here. And there are 3 ingredients that stand out as the worst thing you could ever add to your diet.
To be open here: there’s a whole lot more to nutrition and dietetics that explains the health problems western cultures face today, but when it comes to pointing a finger at a culprit, these 3 ingredients are the biggest sources of your problem with McDoubles:
1. Sugar, specifically added sugar
When I mention sugar, I’m not talking about fruits and veggies in their natural form; those are healthy when eaten as they are. Think soda, cookies, condiments, “low fat” foods, etc. Most manufactured foods today have added sugar to make them tasty, particularly if they’re marketed as “healthy”. And yes, I do mean most: look at the ingredients list of just about any product: if it has anything of the following words: sugar, syrup, evaporated ___ juice, nectar, molasses, fruit juice, etc., it has added sugar.
2. Plant oils and fats, especially trans fats
Again, in their natural form, they’re healthy, like the fats you get in nuts and legumes. Also to be excluded from this list: oil from olives, coconuts, and avocados; these are some of the healthiest fats on Earth. I’m talking about cheap mass made oils from soybeans, corn, grape seed, safflower, peanuts, rice bran, etc., along with anything that’s labelled as partially/fully hydrogenated, as those are trans fats. Canola (rapeseed) and palm oil are often used as well, but aren’t nearly as bad.
A small back story: wheat was once a healthy grain, and in some places it still is. The most common wheat today is dwarf wheat, which did help keep over a billion people from dying of starvation, is nowhere near as healthy as, say, einkorn wheat. Along with the way it’s processed to make it a cheap ingredient, makes it a terrifying ingredient. Such names are enriched flour (bleached or not), whole wheat, whole grain wheat, and other names for bread.
Again, this isn’t to explain why these are bad for you. I may tackle these later, but you can easily look up Kris Gunnars’ site AuthorityNutrition.com and read up yourself; he and his staff do a great job of showing the facts. What I want you to focus on is those 3 things, and look at how many of them, in their various forms, show up in fast food, whether bought ready to eat at Burger King, or at Safeway in the frozen aisle to microwave later, or as a snack on the go.
The funny thing is that many people demonize completely healthy things, particularly if they’re animal products like meat, cheese, saturated fat, etc. But look at that McDouble: cheap beef is supposed to be the killer(note: try not to eat cheap beef), but what about that white wheat bun, cheese filled with corn oil, and ketchup with corn syrup? That pepperoni on that pizza will kill you, not the whole wheat crust leavened with vegetable oil. Those eggs will give you diabetes, not the corn oil they’re fried in and the toast they’re served on.
Probably the worst example I can think of is the “healthiest breakfast”, which is finally being pointed out as completely false, that being breakfast cereal. Honey Nut Cheerios are “heart healthy”, but even without adding sugar yourself, the main ingredients are wheat and sugar. There are a million examples but just look at the back of the label; if a food is thought of as unhealthy (or even worse, if it’s a food marketed as healthy), see how many of those 3 ingredients in whatever form show up. Chances are they’re right there.
The takeaway from this? If you’re even slightly health conscious, you probably read food labels to see what’s in it. If you want a short cheat list to pick healthy food, look for these 3 things:
2. Plant oil/trans fat
If you avoid 3 things, you will be ahead of the game. The only problem is this means you will likely have to make your favorite things at home, like burgers, pizza, tacos, sandwiches, hot dogs, whatever you like to buy for less than $10 in 2010’s USD. Because the reality is that wherever you buy your food, chances are it’s made with the cheapest ingredients, and those 3 up there are the cheapest to use. That’s one of the main reasons fast food is dangerous to eat full time.
You dont have to believe me. Do your own research, use Google, ro again, simply go down the snack food or cereal aisle and ask for the nutrition facts at Jack In The Box and see how many times those ingredients pop up. Because those are the ones that are killing you. Just thought I’d point that out. Cheers!