Is it possible to lose weight and only eat fast food?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Could you forego the fries and make healthy choices if you could only eat fast food? In this video, Dr. Oz reveals how two fast food addicts actually lost weight while eating only at fast food restaurants.

Melinda Johnson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Weight loss comes down to the calories -- when you eat less than you burn, you lose weight. So, technically, you CAN lose weight eating only fast food, if you are eating fewer calories than your body needs. However, losing weight should not be the only goal for your health -- there are plenty of skinny, unhealthy people walking around.

Your body still needs vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber -- these nutrients are often lacking in over processed and fast foods. Therefore, it is much better to focus on health rather than weight -- watching your portion size, focusing on fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy, and getting physical activity every day. 
Janice Baker
Nutrition & Dietetics

It is possible to lose weight while eating only fast food. There are many choices in fast food establishments these days that can make healthful choices possible. However this takes careful planning and attention. Weight is also determined by daily physical activity and other factors- not only food choices. If fast food is a frequent part of your lifestyle, become familiar with nutrition content of your choices and plan accordingly. Good choices include fruit, salads, water, iced or hot tea, grilled chicken, whole grain cereals. Beware of fried foods and extra cheeses and fatty meats as well as sugary drinks and desserts.

Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

It is possible to lose weight and eat only fast food in carefully planned small portions. People who have food insecurity, are hungry and not able to afford enough food daily, may lose weight eating fast food. In my opinion, if food is plentiful, a fast food diet will result in only short term weight loss and is unable to be followed long term. It is not optimal for adequate nutrient intake and chronic disease prevention.

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

While it is possible, it is not optimal. If you limit your portion sizes and chose meals with low fat proteins and vegetables as opposed to loaded with fat and carbohydrates you could still create a calorie deficit and lose weight. Fast foods tend to be higher in fat, sodium, and other preservatives, which makes them not ideal for a well-balanced diet.

Kelly Shaughnessy
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes, it is possible to lose weight while only eating fast foods. However, this entirely depends on which items you are choosing at the fast food restaurants. You will not likely lose weight by eating fried chicken sandwiches, french fries, sodas and milkshakes. The best advice is to go online to your favorite restaurants' websites and look at the nutrition facts. Make a list of items that are low in calories (about 300-400 calories), as low in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars as possible. Keep this list with you in the car so that you can refer to it when you order your food. Also, try to avoid high calorie condiments like mayonnaise or whipped cream and choose low-fat or non-fat dressings for salads. By making smart, healthy decisions at the drive-thru, weight loss is possible.

Ruth Frechman
Nutrition & Dietetics

Of course. A calorie is a calorie. You could lose weight by eating three candy bars a day. It wouldn't be healthy, but you could lose weight. Losing weight means consuming fewer calories than you were eating before. If you choose to only eat fast food, you have to make careful choices. Make sure you are getting enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and low-fat or fat-free sources of dairy. The problem with fast food tends to be the high amounts of sodium and fat.

Cindy Guirino
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes, is is possible if you eat under your caloric needs but your body will probably be receiving too much sodium and not enough nutrition if you eat in this manner.
Molly Morgan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Actually yes. In fact, here is a link to a news story about a nutrition professor who lost 27 pounds on the "Twinkie Diet": What this helps to remind us that the bottom-line with weight is calories in versus calories out!
Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
Technically yes. You would have to very carefully order the lower calorie, less fat, less processed items. Today there are hundreds of healthy fast food options. You need to look at the menus carefully identifying salads, lower fat proteins, and whole grains. Mexican restaurants have lower calorie options as do Japanese, Korean, Thai, and all American. If you take the time to carefully review menus you can lose weight eating fast food.

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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.