By this point there are very few of us who see fast food items as a healthy dietary choice, yet many of us continue to succumb to their unmistakable charms quite regularly. While 2014 research from the NPD Group revealed that Americans are dining out less often, they still average approximately 191 visits per year when both dining in and takeout numbers are combined.
Whether it be an addiction to the fat, sugar, and salt these foods are loaded with or their sheer convenience, we continue to dine out far too often.
While many existing fast food restaurants have made substantial changes to offer “healthier” menu options, most still fall well short of actually being healthy. And it’s hard to believe that our continued patronage of these places doesn’t play a key role in America’s obesity epidemic, with over one-third of the population currently fitting that profile.
A common indicator that we as a collective turn to, to better understand our food — especially in relation to its potential impact on our weight — is the amount of calories that we consume daily. While there are many schools of thought on what is optimal for us, there are very few that would claim any benefit to excessive calorie intake.
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Given that the majority of us consume 3 meals per day, it would therefore seem illogical to consume a single meal totalling what many suggest as a target total for one day. That target is approximately 2,000 calories.
To illustrate how easy it is to meet and exceed that amount at many of our favourite fast food restaurants, Business Insider put together a sample meal from each one:
(Note: Please do your research and consult a health professional that you trust before determining the caloric intake that is best for you — including the balance between carbs, fats, and proteins you may need.)
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Kentucky Fried Chicken
Whether you ever consume anything close to what is pictured above at any of the fast food chains or not, this certainly illustrates just how calorically heavy these meals can be. Combine that with their general lack of actual nutrition, and the solution seems simple: avoid eating out as often as possible.
While I am certainly not perfect at this, I have made drastic strides toward limiting how often I eat out, particularly at fast food restaurants. One tool that I’ve found to be particularly helpful in tracking my daily consumption is the app MyFitnessPal.
The app not only helps you keep track of what you eat, but breaks it down thoroughly to give you the fullest analysis possible. It’s also very easy to use, and thanks to its high user count, has quite an extensive pre-built library of most meal items, plus the option to manually enter anything else.
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