Fast food has become a growing trend in recent years.  Chains are working hard to come up with the best advertisements to get more customers to eat at their restaurants.  Fast food is fast, cheap, and convenient.  But the negative effects that come with fast food far outweigh the advantages.  Get the facts on fast food… you might just decide to bypass the drive through:

1. Excess Calories

Fast food meals are usually saturated in calories, mainly because of huge portion sizes and high fat content.  Several meals contain more than half the amount of calories than a person needs in one day.  This contributes to obesity, which can lead to several other health problems. 

2. Trans and Saturated Fat 
The oil that fast food is cooked in is often high in unnatural trans fats which build up in the blood vessels.  This can eventually lead to clogged arteries, causing heart attacks or strokes.  French fries, cheese, mayonnaise, chicken, and other fast food products are also high in saturated fat which contributes to heart disease. 

3. Sodium 
Extra salt is added to fast food products to preserve it and make it taste better.  However, too much sodium in the diet can cause high blood pressure and lead to heart disease.  If you eat fast food regularly, it won’t be hard for you to consume more sodium than you need.  In fact, several fast food meals contain a day’s worth of sodium or more.

4. No Vitamins and Minerals 
Most fast food meals lack essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function.  The calories you get from it are considered ‘empty’ meaning that they provide you with little to no nutritional value. 

5. HUGE Portion Sizes
Of all the facts on fast food to really chew on, this might be the biggest... can you Super Size that! The portion size of fast food meals continues to increase, contributing to overeating.  This essentially leads to obesity because people consume more calories and fat than they need to. 

6. Additives
Ever notice that fast food meals taste exceptionally good, sometimes better than meals you can cook at home?  This is because the flavor, color and palatability in fast food are enhanced by additives.  Over-consuming additives, like sweeteners and colorants, can lead to health problems.

If you absolutely cannot avoid fast food, make better choices by:

•    Ordering a Kid’s Meal.
•    Reading nutrition information online ahead of time.
•    Asking for grilled chicken instead of fried.
•    Going light on the mayonnaise, salad dressing, honey mustard, barbeque sauce, etc… (You can always ask for your meal without these accompaniments)
•    Getting water to drink instead of soda.
•    Ordering a salad (BUT make sure to check nutrition information first—some salads contain more calories than regular meals because of the added meat and salad dressing!)

After checking out these facts on fast food, hopefully you are convinced to limit your consumption of fast food and are thinking about eating healthier. It's good to remember that moderation is key, a Big Mac every once and a while won’t really do any harm, but if you’re eating one every day, there might be a problem.