We all know we should eat right and exercise more to lose weight. However, this seemingly easy formula still challenges most people. More than one third of American adults are considered obese. To be obese, an individual’s BMI, or Body Mass Index, must be over 30. There are several exceptions to certain individuals, as a BMI does not always correlate to whether an individual is healthy or not (just take a look at the weight of defensive football players and you’ll know what I mean).
There are plenty of weight-loss supplements, diets, and remedies on the market that are being advertised as a magical solution to weight loss. The real question is, do they really work? The ultimate culprit of this obesity epidemic is the food that is advertised to us all. You are what you eat, and unfortunately the truth about what we actually do eat hurts a little.
Americans have a constant go-go-go attitude; everything is rushed and we are always in a time crunch. The fast food option just makes sense. With about 50,000 fast food restaurants in the United States and an astounding 500,000 in the world, they are basically everywhere. Not only that, but advertisements on cheap meals seems to be the only thing that grabs our attention. Fast food chains even get celebs to appear on commercials advertising their products so these fatty meals are even more glorified.
Unfortunately, even if you want to be health conscious and watch what you eat it, it can be extremely difficult. Ever heard of a food desert? It means that there are places in America where it is hard to purchase affordable, fresh food. Sometimes our hands are tied and it’s virtually impossible to get a healthy meal in our lives.
Americans start their day off in many different ways, but most start with a hearty breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, right? Avocado toast is a great way to start the day, as an avocado is filled with healthy fats and are naturally sodium- and cholesterol-free. When paired with a piece of whole grain toast, it provides great long-lasting energy.
But avocados can get pricey, averaging to more than a dollar for one. Just. One. Avocado. Add a load of good whole grain bread, which averages between 3-4 dollars, and thats about 5 dollars for one meal, not to mention the additional work in preparing the ingredients. Add a fried egg on top and the cost just rises faster than a helium-filled ballon.
The alternative that many Americans might take is the good old drive-thru. Having a Sausage Egg McMuffin once or twice a month won’t kill you, but when it is a routine to eat it 3-4 times a week, it can create a deadly habit. With a whopping 470 calories, half of which are from fat, it really is a belly buster. The main reason people still flock to McDonald’s for their breakfast needs is that it is convenient and cheap, two things that are not usually associated with healthy food.
What You Can Do
Here are some tips if you have to eat out in a pinch:
- If you are eating fast food ask for no salt on your fries. Not only do they make you a fresh batch of fries, but you also save yourself some sodium, which we all could use less of.
- Order one size smaller—your wallet and stomach will thank you.
- Always order water (or carbonated water if you like the bubbles from soda). Cutting down on the sugar will save you some pounds in the long run.
- Think your salad is healthy? Think again— many salads are drowning in dressing. Try to order your dressing on the side or use a vinegar/oil-based dressing.
What Fast Food Chains Can Do
Yes, there has been a lot of improvement within the fast food industry to provide nutrition facts for the products they serve and whether they use artificial colors and preservatives, but we’ve heard it all. At the end of the day, accommodating the public is crucial. No one is going to go online and look up how many calories their McFlurry has.
Printing nutrition labels at the bottom of these meals in super tiny illegible font also isn’t helping. The food industry needs to take a serious look at what their products are doing to the country and how they are advertising it. Glorifying these high-calorie meals might be their winning advertising technique, but it is ultimately hurting customers. Don’t we matter?
One Last Thing
In America, it might be unavoidable to not get take out or order fast food once in a while, or it might be a part of our daily routine. It’s a lifestyle many of us are accustomed to. There is nothing wrong with that. But as a society we need to take our health into consideration.
We are given one body to live in and we have to love it. We should try to work with our busy schedules and the inevitable eating habits that accommodate that. It might be a difficult change, but it’s the only way we can stop ourselves from spiraling into the obesity epidemic and start to truly take care of what we are grateful to have.