If You Must Eat Fast Food, Eat Smarter

Not all drive-thru options are bad for you.

Posted: 12/28/2011 07:00 PM EST
If You Must Eat Fast Food, Eat Smarter

Now, I am not one to advocate for eating fast food on a regular basis, but I'd also be a fool not to acknowledge that sometimes it's just easier to grab something quick, especially when you have a busy life.


Fast can be easier, but it can also be extremely unhealthy and void of any nutritional value. Real talk: A lot of fast food meals are loaded with fat, grease, sodium and sugar, each of which is a serious factor in causing the obesity that is so prevalent in the African-American community.


Obesity rates among African Americans are 51 percent higher than for whites. And Black youth suffer, too.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 percent of African-American girls ages 6 to 11 are overweight and 19 percent of African-American boys in the same age group are overweight. In terms of Black teenagers, the numbers are almost the same. Overall, 22.4 percent of African-American children ages 6 to 17 are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index higher than 30.


But there is some good news when it comes to fast food and obesity. Thanks to better lower-calorie food choices, eating out can be nicer to your heart and your waistline. It just takes a little bit of willpower and saying no to a few of your favorites.


Dr. Jessica Bartfield, an internist who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, writes in a news release from Loyola University Health System, quoted by Health Quest’s HealthDay online newsfeed: “The average American consumes close to 50 percent of his or her meals outside of the home and fast-food restaurants are abundant. By following a few rules, you can keep any fast food meal in calorie check."


Bartfield offered up the following fast food tips:


•    Choose grilled, not fried. Choosing foods that are grilled can save 280 calories and 27 grams of fat.


•    Hold the high-fat extras. Cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressings can pack on up to 100 calories per serving. Avoid these extra ingredients unless low-fat versions are available.

•    Order small sizes. Opt for smaller portions and single burgers, rather than double or bonus sizes.


•    Avoid sugary drinks. These empty calories add up quickly and offer no nutritional value.


•    Save half for later. Wrap up the uneaten portion of your meal and have it for your next meal to save money and calories.


Will you rethink some of your fast food choices in 2012?



BET Health News - We go beyond the music and entertainment world to bring you important medical information and health-related tips of special relevance to Blacks in the U.S. and around the world.

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