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Health and Fitness News

Rolling the Dinner Dice

Do you know what your fast food is made of? Come find out . . . if you dare!

It looks like the real thing, smells like the real thing, and tastes like the real thing. But is it really the real thing? Fast food is good at tasting good, but what are you really putting in your mouth and feeding your body? Sure, many fast food chains have improved the health quality of their menu. The majority of foods are drinks offered, however, are far from being nutritious.

Fast food is cheap, convenient, and tasty. It’s a popular choice for millions of people everyday. But what is it costing your health? Before stopping at the drive-thru for dinner tonight, here’s what you should know about fast food.

Sweet, Sweet Sugar

Wonder why fast food tastes as good as it does? It’s not because fast food restaurants use the freshest ingredients of the highest quality. It’s because of all the sugar it contains. Before you defend that chicken salad you indulge in three times a week, keep reading.

Do you enjoy sauces, battered foods, breads, and drinks? They’re all filled with added sugar. In fact, nearly every menu item at your favorite fast food restaurant contains sugar. It may be labeled as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, barley malt, rice syrup, or another name. But whatever it’s called, it’s still sugar.

Though sugar may improve flavor, it only adds calories with zero nutritional value. As you know, a diet high in added sugar increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Craving a strawberry milkshake? You probably think you’re enjoying nothing more than milk, cream, and strawberries. What you’re really getting is milk, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and harmful preservatives. Still want one? A small strawberry milkshake contains 60 to 80 grams of sugar. If you’re keeping count, that’s twice as much sugar as you should consume in a day. The only thing that’s missing is real strawberries.

The problem is when that fun stuff becomes the habit. And I think that’s what’s happened in our culture. Fast food has become the everyday meal. - Michelle Obama

Salty Sodium

Fast food is notorious for being high in sodium. Why do they pile on the salt? In addition to enhancing flavor, salt is beloved for its ability to preserve all sorts of things. Preserved foods can have a longer shelf life. Longer shelf life means less waste. Less waste means more profit for fast food restaurants.

Think there’s not too much salt in your meal? A single fast food meal may contain as many as 1,300 mg of sodium. Since the most sodium you should consume in a day is 2,300 mg, eating out just once consumes more than half your daily allotment. Too much sodium is a contributing factor of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and diabetes.

Think your French fries are made of potatoes, oil, and a little salt? Think again. The fries you order at your favorite fast food establishment contain more than 15 ingredients. Besides potatoes and salt, you’re eating sugar, artificial coloring, and dangerous preservatives.

Laboratory Chemicals

You can’t taste or see them, but chemicals are there. They’re all over your food. Numerous engineered chemicals are used to prepare, process, and preserve fast foods. Propylene glycol is an additive that keeps food from drying out or sticking together. Toxic in high doses, this chemical is found in salads to keep the lettuce crisp. It’s in the eggs used for your breakfast sandwich. It’s even found in certain dipping sauces. Interestingly, propylene glycol is also found outside your fast food eatery, in the parking lot. Because it’s also used in antifreeze, paints, and hydraulic fluids.

Not turned off yet? Many processed meats are especially high in sodium nitrites and nitrates. These preservatives and color-enhancers are linked to cancers and can be found in bacon, hot dogs, ham, or pepperoni. And while artificial food colorings and flavors make your food look uniform and tasty, they’re associated with certain cancers and allergic reactions.

Other common chemicals you’ll find in fast foods include ammonium sulfate, olestra, cellulose, potassium bromate, azodicarbonamide, and antibiotics. Google them and see if you still have your appetite.

The Bottom Line

If you eat fast food regularly, slow it down. Cut a weekly habit down to a monthly habit. Learn how to cook simple dishes at home so you’re less likely to want fast food. When you eat out, skip the sauces and desserts. Over time, you’ll wean yourself from fast food altogether and find you prefer healthy options. Your body certainly does.

About Training with Mr. America
About my programs: Mr. America Jason Kozma's Personal Training is a triple threat of body shaping weight workouts, precision fat-loss cardio and holistic nutrition using regular foods. Using his system, you can radically upgrade your fitness, health appearance and self-confidence. Clients routinely shed 20 pounds of body fat in eight weeks or less, increase their strength and flexibility, and achieve extreme cardiovascular fitness.

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