Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hard to Swallow?

How about a Big Mac, medium fries and a medium soda? How about 1,130 calories? Let’s pretend that’s lunch. Maybe for breakfast you had just a single jelly doughnut—at 270 calories. Then there was a mid-morning grande mint mocha chip frappuccino, another 460 calories. So far, that’s 1,860 calories, not counting any mid-afternoon or pre-dinner snack, and not counting dinner or after-dinner. And this is just the calorie count. Consider the fat, saturated and trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Dietary guidelines for adults recommend about 2,000 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, depending on age, gender and activity level—fewer if you are one of the two-thirds of our population who is overweight or obese.

The average American spends about $500 a year on fast food, and more than half of our population eats fast food once a week. But a whopping 20 percent eat fast food at least every other day.

Sure, it’s fast, some of it’s tasty, it’s easy, it’s not super-expensive (the average spend per occasion is approximately $10.16). But if it’s not hard to swallow, it should be. We’re not doing ourselves any favors here, and if we think we’re saving time for the more important things in life, we should think again. The time we spend in a drive-thru rather than in the kitchen will come back to haunt us.

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