Good Reasons to Break the Fast-Food Habit

There’s no denying the appeal of fast food – it’s affordable, convenient, and in many cases, it even tastes good. With endless to-do lists and not enough time in a day to accomplish everything on them, it’s no wonder why 8 in 10 people ear at a fast food restaurant at least once a month. But make no mistake…the small convenience this dining option offers is not worth the price you’ll pay when it comes to your health.

Here are some of the main reasons you should avoid eating fast food altogether:

1. You’ll gain weight

Eating foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium feels rewarding in the short-term, but can lead to unwanted weight gain and diabetes down the road. Even choices disguised as “healthy options” like salads can cause your waistline to expand over time due to add-ins like high-fat dressings, cheese, and processed meats.

2. Fast food is addictive

Believe it or not, it’s possible to become addicted to fast food, just like you can with nicotine or drugs. The salty, sugary, and fatty ingredients cause full-fledged physical cravings that drive you to consume more and more (even if you try to fight it). Don’t let those French fries and milkshakes draw you back in — cut off the potential for an addiction now.

3. You’re not getting any nutrition

If your diet is heavy on fast food, you might be putting yourself on the path to a harmful vitamin deficiency. Most of the menu items at these restaurants, from fried chicken to an excess of white bread, don’t carry the essential fiber, minerals, and healthy fats needed to fuel your body. Instead, you get all of the empty calories that feel good in the moment but leave you weaker in the long run.

4. Depression and anxiety

Food can affect your mental health just as it does your physical health. When you eat too many carbs (like the ones found in fries, pizza, and buns), the lack of essential ingredients for brain functioning can potentially cause anxiety and depression.

5. Digestive problems hit hard

Nothing can ruin the joy of a meal quite like an upset stomach. If you regularly experience things like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, or heartburn, caffeinated drinks and greasy, high-fat food only make these bodily troubles worse. Not only that, regular consumption of these foods can cause you to develop these issues without having previously experienced them at all! Take a step back and consider how avoiding fast food can keep your stomach strong (without having to reach for an anti-acid).

6. Your heart suffers

Your taste buds may thank you for eating fast food, but your heart certainly won’t. The tasty, yet damaging agents in fast food contribute to heart disease in different ways: sugar leads to weight gain and obesity, high salt content increases blood pressure, and excessive saturated fat raises cholesterol — all of which puts you at risk for heart problems. In order to keep your heart pumping as strongly as it should, you need to maintain a diet that’s “low in salt, sugar, and saturated fats, and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

Here’s the reality – fast food may be cheap, quick, and delicious, but the rewards pale in comparison to the potential consequences. While it may be hard to part ways with your favorite fast food joint, it might just be the wisest breakup of your life.

For Weight Loss, Less Exercise May Be More

Cutting calories appears to promote weight loss more effectively than does increasing exercise.

The key to weight loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn. For most people, it’s possible to lower calorie intake to a greater degree than it is to burn more calories through increased exercise.

That’s the reason cutting calories through dietary changes is generally more effective for weight loss. But doing both — cutting calories through diet and burning calories through exercise — can help give you the weight-loss edge.

If you lose weight by crash dieting or by drastically restricting yourself to 400 to 800 calories a day, you’re more likely to regain weight quickly, often within six months after you stop dieting.

Exercise can help you maintain your weight loss. Studies show that people who lose weight and keep it off over the long term get regular physical activity.