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Can I follow a diet plan if I eat fast food?

JJ Virgin
Health Education
Bypass the high-sugar impact buns, salad dressings, and even so-called healthy offerings that are high in sugar. Stick with a grilled chicken breast (sans bun) and either a simple side salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar or a sauteed green veggie if they offer it.
Fast-food restaurants are notorious for featuring meals that are high in fat, cholesterol, sodium and calories. However, most places offer some healthier choices as well. Tips for eating at fast-food places include:
  • Choose chicken, turkey or fish entrees instead of beef and pork.
  • Avoid breaded meats.
  • Skip the "supersized" version of your meal. Even if you're not trying to lose weight, a "biggie" meal is probably more than you need to eat at one sitting. (Some supersized meals have more fat and calories than you need in an entire day!)
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
You can still eat fast food and follow a diet plan. You need to look at the nutrition facts of your favorite fast food restaurants and look for the healthiest, lower calorie items. Choose salads and grilled proteins. Avoid fried foods and foods high in carbohydrates. French fries, onion rings, and sweets should also be avoided. Find menu items that meet both your calorie and nutrient requirements. If you rarely eat at fast food outlets, a typical fast food meal should not derail your diet.
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics
Fast food can definitely be part of your eating plan especially if you do your homework and get the nutritional information from the restaurant (many times you can get it on-line). It is important to do this because many people are unaware of the total calories and fat in fast food. For example, a large McDonald's French fry has 500 calories and 25 grams of fat, which is almost as much as the Big Mac that has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. It's difficult to fit this in a healthy eating plan. Many fast food places do offer healthy options and they sometimes are indicated on the menu-Subway does this. Try to choose a healthy non-fried option that does not have any cream or cheese. You should try to incorporate some home cooked meals and fresh fruits/vegetables to balance your diet.
Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
A diet plan should allow for some flexibility and that would include some fast food. In my opinion, a long term healthy diet plan will include a variety of foods that are made available to you in your everyday environment. Fast food restaurants are continuing to increase healthy, nutrient dense foods options. Be informed and read nutrition facts from fast food choices to increase fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Look for whole grain products, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, soy and dairy, and decrease saturated fat.

It is important to plan for meals daily that you would make yourself to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein source including lean meats, nuts, soy or dairy and choose fast food only when necessary.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Is it possible to eat fast food while following a regimented, healthy diet? In this video, watch as Dr. Oz puts two fast food addicts to the healthy eating test.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.