As implausible as it may sound, fast food advocates claim that not only will a fast food diet help you maintain your weight, but in some cases, it may even help you lose weight! They claim that healthy maintenance and weight-loss is possible by following a special calorie-based 3-4-5 program including: 300 calories at breakfast, 400 at lunch and 500 at dinner. In addition, fast food dieters are also permitted to consume an additional 300 "snack" calories.
This fast food diet is said to be simple, budget-friendly and easily accessible. If a fast food diet interests you, simply choose your favorite fast food establishment to get started. To help you decide on the best fast food restaurant for your lifestyle, below are a few sample menus along with corresponding fast food chains.
° Breakfast: Egg McMuffin (300 calories) or Sausage Breakfast Burrito (290 calories).
° Lunch: Four Chicken McNuggets and Small Fries (420 calories).
° Breakfast: Western Egg Breakfast Sandwich (300 calories).
° Lunch or Dinner: Large Chili with Cheddar Cheese and Saltines (395 calories) or a Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a Side Salad and Lo-cal Dressing (420 calories).
° Lunch: Grilled Chicken Sandwich (310 calories) or Home-style Cheeseburger (340 calories).
° Dinner: White Rotisserie Garlic Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy (400 calories), Meatloaf with Potato Salad (510 calories) or a Marinated Grilled Chicken Sandwich (470 calories).
For an additional dinner option, try three slices of reduced-fat pizza (500 calories) from your favorite pizza parlor or Italian restaurant. It's best to drink plenty of water and opt for diet beverages instead of full-calorie sodas, sugary juices and shakes.
The fast food diets main focus is calorie-reduction, but the diet does not take into account the amount of fat and sodium an individual consumes while on the diet. Unfortunately, the fat and sodium content are at least double the maximum daily allowance. Abnormally high intakes of fat and sodium can be hazardous to your health as it may lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease and hypertension.
According to a Boston Children's Hospital study, "a steady fast food diet inevitably leads to obesity and diabetes." Findings also include evidence to support the fact that people who visit fast food restaurants more than twice a week are more likely to develop serious health conditions that affect the heart, arteries and blood pressure. Weight gain and even obesity are also common conditions associated with the excessive consumption of fast food.
In addition, there is a correlation between fast food consumption and insulin resistance. Participants in the Boston Children's Hospital study who consumed fast food regularly had twice the increase in insulin resistance as compared to participants who consumed fast food less than once a week. Funded by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Boston Children's Hospital study on fast food consumption analyzed the risk of cardiovascular disease in 3,000 participants. Body weight and insulin resistance were monitored over the course of 15 years.
Over the past three decades, the consumption of fast food has increased in the United States and at the same time, obesity in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions. Lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and smoking are also contributing factors to weight gain, but they appear to have far less notable influence on weight and insulin resistance than fast food intake.
The increasing weight problems and health conditions associated with fast food consumption challenges Americans to bring about many changes regarding nutrition. Today, fast food chains are required to display nutritional information along with their menus and they are morally obligated to offer healthy alternatives to higher fat and higher calorie foods and beverages, such as salads, fruits, water, etc. While most fast food chains have complied with the new rules, at the same time, they have added "super size" to their menus. This means, serving sizes have nearly tripled. Has adding nutritional values and healthy alternatives to their menus helped? Has it stopped people from patronizing? Sadly, the answer is no.