Fast Food Facts
In the city and desperate for a snack? Maybe it’s lunchtime and you’re just plain hungry? Think carefully about what you put in your mouth. Fast food can often contain too many of the three deadly s‘s – salt, sugar and saturated fat.
What happens when we eat too much salt? We place added strain on our kidneys and run the risk of increased blood pressure. Salt is often added to processed foods such as stock cubes, gravy, and tinned meats and sausages. Hot chips and potato crisps are often swimming in salt.
What happens when we eat too much sugar? We increase the likelihood of suffering obesity – particularly if we have a sedentary lifestyle or work at an office desk.
Sugar’s bad for our teeth as well as it encourages tooth decay and cavities. Worst of all, a high-sugar diet can lead to mature-onset diabetes, which can in turn lead to blindness, blood clots and loss of limbs.
You can find sugar in foods such as biscuits, cakes and muffins, and it also lurks in soft drinks, waiting to attack our bodies.
What happens when we eat too much saturated fat? We run the risk of turning into fat ourselves by becoming obese. With obesity also comes a stronger chance of becoming diabetic. Excessive consumption of fat can lead to heart disease and higher blood pressure – which a diseased heart cannot cope with – leading ultimately to heart attack.
Fat is often used in cooking. It’s not possible to make fried food, for example, without some fat. But there’s fat and there’s fat. Saturated fats are the worst for us. They usually come from animals in the form of butter or lard, but can also be found in coconut oil and palm oil. Vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, canola oil and olive oil are better for us.
Fat, like sugar, is an energy food. We experience strong cravings for it when we are hungry – or even when we are depressed. But when you have that feeling, think about why you are eating and then what you are eating.
The truth is, fat doesn’t turn into energy straight away. Sugar, on the other hand, does turn into fast energy but it leaves equally as quickly and we end up feeling worse than we did before we ate it.
The best sources of energy are carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. As well as providing lasting energy, these foods contain fibre, which is also good for us.
So think about putting something healthy in your mouth. You won’t be the only one thinking about making a healthy choice. More and more people are opting for snack foods in the forms of salads, sushi, casseroles or curries. They taste just as good as fast food and they leave you feeling more satisfied because you know you’re taking care of yourself.