Created on: December 17, 2009
Fast food is unhealthy to the body for a number of reasons including high fat levels, high salt levels and the amount of calories contained in an 'average' meal served at fast food restaurants. Normal fast food meals contain a large amount of saturated and trans-fats, which are the bad fats that cause cardio-vascular disease. Sodium is a mineral and a component of table salt needed by the body in small amounts. In excess, sodium causes high blood pressure among other complications. An average, relatively active human needs approximately 2000 calories a day, eating in excess of what your body needs will result in your body storing the energy as fat. For the sake of this discussion, we will use a Big Mac value meal to show how your daily nutritional numbers are severely impacted by just one unhealthy meal a day. While the nutritional value of each value meal can be significantly different, none of them are going to be healthy. We are going to use the Big Mac, just because it is pretty close to the average for the most popular value meals. It is also important to note that while a fast food value meal will load you up with bad fats, sodium and excess calories, they provide very little positive nutritional value. You will end up getting about 80% of your daily calories from a single value meal, but less than 10% of most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Probably the most known problem with fast food is the fat content, but what some people don't know is that there are two types of fat, good fat and bad fat. Good fat consists of monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats which the body uses for hormone production, insulation and lubrication. The amount of good fats in your body can also greatly reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. These 'good' fats are mainly found in fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Bad fats consist of saturated and trans-fats. These fats are mainly found in animal fat and most oils. An average adult needs about 70 grams of fat per day, the majority of which should be good fats consisting of monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A Big Mac value meal will give you about 50 grams of fat per meal, almost all of which is bad fat which the body has no real use for.
An average, healthy individual will need about 2000 calories per day. Typically, these calories come into the body in four forms; proteins, complex
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