Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fast food is killing me

I've loved fast food ever since I saw my first McDonald's commercial with Ronald McDonald running around with his geeky looking friends. Today, many have been advising me to avoid fast food as it's a health hazard, and with my previous post regarding my high cholesterol level, I have made a decision. I shall lay off fast food in Singapore, or at the very least reduce intake to at most once a month.

Goodbye Carl's Jr, McDonald's, KFC, Long John Silver. I have chosen health.

Some harmful facts of fast food:

* High palatability. Palatability of fast food is really guileful. It makes you to eat fast and want more of it. If you do, you are in for a gut busting, artery clogging ride.

* Rich in calories. Fast food is loaded with calories. Did you know that fast food meals usually contain about 1,000 calories in just one meal? Getting so many unnecessary calories in a single meal almost ensures that you will be overweight, especially if you do it on a regular basis. Before you go to lunch today with your co-workers, check out the restaurant you are going to see what your likely meal has in store for you.

* High in saturated and trans fats. Fast foods are probably the biggest source of trans fats in our diet. Many fast foods are cooked with a lot of oil, and very often in ultra-hot oil high in trans fats. Fried meet, fish, chicken, french fries, cheese, bologna, mayonnaise, and dressings are all common high-fat ingredients of fast food. Too much fat can contribute to obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease. This is especially true of saturated fat and trans fat.

* High glycemic index. Foods that contain carbohydrates are given a glycemic index, which indicates how quickly the carbohydrates are digested and thus how a food affects the level of sugar in the blood. Foods that contain large amounts of sugar and starchy foods have a high glycemic index because they are quickly digested and quickly increase blood sugar levels. Most fast foods have a high glycemic index. Desserts, candy, syrups, jellies and jams all contain added sugar. Corn flakes, French fries, white bread, soda drinks have also a high glycemic index. The studies confirm that fast food increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

* High levels of salt. Salt makes cheap food taste better, but too much salt is bad for you. You can reach your daily sodium intake in just one meal. Consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day is recommended. To see how simple it is to blow past this number, a single 7-layer Burrito from Taco Bell has 1300mg of Sodium.

* Lack of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Fast food tends to lack whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Any food that has poor nutritional value is considered unhealthy and may be called "junk food" or "empty calories".

* Numerous food additives. Fast food is given a very attractive appearance by adding food additives and colors to enhance flavor, texture, and palatability. Additives like preservatives, colorants and sweeteners may be harmful to the health. In fact, something I find to be disturbing is this statement:

"The FDA requires that all ingredients be listed on a food’s label, but often additives will be listed as “spices” or “artificial flavoring,” making it impossible for consumers to determine what, exactly, has been added to their food." - U.S. Food and Drug Administration/International Food Information Council, “Food Ingredients and Colors,”

* Large portion size. The large portions encourage overeating. Large, extra large and double portions are the rule for fast food meals. And most people don't need super-sized portions.

Fast food... this time it's goodbye.

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