Why should I avoid eating at fast-food restaurants if I want to be healthy?

Fast food is loaded with saturated fat and sodium (both of which contribute to heart disease), but its trans fat is even worse: It raises LDL (bad) cholesterol while lowering helpful HDL cholesterol. Food manufacturers love trans fat because it has a long shelf life. Doctors hate it for the same reason. Since trans fat won't break down, it does an extra good job of clogging arteries. The Food and Drug Administration recommends no more than 1.11 grams of trans fat per day, but some doctors say there's no safe amount.

When you hit up the drive-through, choose the grilled chicken sandwich and hold the fries. Supplement with fruit and yogurt instead.

Laura Katleman-Prue
Nutrition & Dietetics
Most fast-food restaurants use considerably more fat, salt, and sugar than we would at home. A restaurant's motive is profit, not our health, and creating food that tastes better than the competition's is the key to filling its coffers. If we're to bring our bodies back into balance, though, we need to ask ourselves, "Is taste more important than health?"

We've been focused on taste from the time we were children, and our taste buds have become accustomed to the flavors of pleasure foods (engineered, often through the addition of fat, salt, and sugar), expecting them every time we eat. But now that we're adults, it's time to take responsibility for our eating and tell ourselves the truth: Most food companies and restaurants sell unhealthy foods that human bodies were never designed to eat, and if we want to get healthy and stay at a natural weight, we have to stop or limit our junk eating.
Skinny Thinking: Five Revolutionary Steps to Permanently Heal Your Relationship With Food, Weight, and Your Body

More About this Book

Skinny Thinking: Five Revolutionary Steps to Permanently Heal Your Relationship With Food, Weight, and Your Body

READY TO END YOUR FOOD and WEIGHT WORRIES? If so, Skinny Thinking is for you. The only way to create a healthy relationship with food and stop battling with your weight is to change the way you think...

Continue Learning about Nutrition

Natural Ways to Add Food Coloring to Your Meals
Natural Ways to Add Food Coloring to Your Meals
In the 1989 tear-jerker, Steel Magnolias, bride-to-be Shelby (Julia Roberts) permits her adoring fiance to order his own groom’s cake. It’s shaped lik...
Read More
Will eating breakfast improve my health?
Dr. Robin Miller, MDDr. Robin Miller, MD
A recent study among men found an association between eating breakfast and a decreased risk of heart...
More Answers
How much fiber should I eat per day if I have diabetes?
Toby SmithsonToby Smithson
The recommendation of fiber intake is the same as for the general population. The guidelines come fr...
More Answers
What Foods are Good Sources of Fat?
What Foods are Good Sources of Fat?

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.