Limit Fast Food Most Of The Time
Believe it or not, approximately 50 million people eat fast food each and every day of the year. That means they have a higher intake of calories, saturated fat, and sodium on those days, with a lower intake of fruits, vegetables or whole grains.
Research from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2013-2016) assessed the quality of food intake on days when people ate at home versus at fast food establishments. Were the food choices and menus healthier or not so much? Let’s find out.
The study assessed the fast-food frequency and diet quality of over 4,000 adults. People were considered frequent fast-food diners if they ate fast food three times per week or more.
These were the characteristics of people who ate fast food at least three times weekly:
- Men ages 20-39 years
These individuals were the least likely to eat fast food:
- Women over age 60
- Healthy weight individuals
The at-home diet quality of those who were frequently eating fast food was not so great and was similar to the diet quality of a fast-food day:
- Lower intake of vegetables, greens, beans, fruit
- Lower intake of whole grains
- Higher intake of foods with added sugar
Those adults who infrequently go to fast food restaurants for meals had a different diet quality when eating at home:
- Lower in calories, total carbohydrates, fat
- Higher intake of fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients
Even though fast-food restaurants offer some healthier options most adults do not choose those items. This study serves as a good reminder that our diet and nutritional intake does take a hit if we frequent fast food restaurants. And for those who do eat fast food often, those habits of food choices may carry over to meals eaten at home by purchasing foods that are convenient, highly processed and require minimal food preparation.