5. There’s no such thing as healthy fast food
We know fast food isn’t good for us, and this is something the industry doesn’t want us to think about too much. Even their “healthy” offerings are often loaded with calories, trans-fats and refined sugar.
- McDonald’s California Cobb Salad with Crispy Chicken packs a whopping 18 grams of fat, almost 28% of the recommended daily value of 65 grams in a 2,000 calorie diet. That’s as much as a Quarter Pounder!
- Add a pack of Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing and you’re doubling the total fat of the salad, bringing it up to 36 grams—over half our recommended daily intake. In a salad.
- Just because something’s in a little packet doesn’t mean it’s safe, and sauces are particularly bad. McDonald’s 1.5oz pack of Spicy Buffalo Sauce is 60 calories (all from fat), plus 910mg of sodium – 38% of your recommended daily intake.
6. Artificial sweeteners are often far worse than sugar
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a commonly used sweetener. Despite the commercials which attempt to show otherwise – which are made by the Corn Refiners’ Association, by the way! – research has shown a link between HFCS and obesity.
- Princeton University recently released a study linking HFCS consumption to obesity in rats, even when their overall caloric intake remained the same as the rats given table sugar!
- And as this examiner.com article reports, mercury was found in HFCS as far back as 2005, and yet foods containing the chemical can still legally advertise themselves as being “natural.”
7. Bovine burps and dead fish
Most people are aware of the environmental implications of our food industry – food trucked or flown in from far off places, over-use of polluting chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the squeezing out of smaller farms. But did you know:
- Factory farms in the Midwestern US have released so many chemicals into the Mississippi River that a large “dead zone” – an oxygen-depleted area where no fish live – has formed off the Louisiana coast. This dead zone is about the size of New Jersey, and has had disastrous effects on the important Louisiana shrimping and fishing industries.
- The greenhouse gas methane is approximately 23 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, and is a significant factor in global warming since cows produce so much methane. A single cow can belch out anything from 25 to 130 gallons of methane each day, which means they can be said to produce more greenhouse gas than an SUV! Oh, and there are 1.5 billion belching cattle on Earth – a number set to rise rapidly as the world demand for meat increases.
8. Fast food never tastes like it looks
In fact, it often doesn’t even look like it looks, at least in those glossy pictures. One photographer recently took it upon himself to document such discrepancies. Enjoy!
What do you think of fast food? How often do you eat it? Do you think it’s an important issue, or one that gets blown out of proportion. Share your thoughts in the comments.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like The No Nonsense Guide to Food Labels at Farmers’ Markets, and Going Organic: 6 Reasons Why You Should (Or Shouldn’t).
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Megan Hill is a freelance writer from New Orleans. She recently finished a year of service with AmeriCorps NCCC and is seeking representation for her memoir of her service. Read more from her on her website.
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