Fast food has become the staple of many American and European diets and we’ve seen obesity rise. True more people take public or private transportation to work over walking, and many have given up smoking every time they had a hunger itch, but the most popular reason for our waistline increase is fast food. But is it the caloric content of the fast food that’s fueling the obesity epidemic, or the speed at which its ingested?
What is Fast Food?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Fast Food is “food that can be prepared and served quickly”. A burger, shake and fries is considered fast food but so is a take away salad or sandwich. It’s implied that fast food is a meal that is not made fresh but made previously and preserved such that it can taste fresh when needed to be served.
According to CalorieKing, a McDonald’s Big Mac is 540 calories. A large order of fries is 510 calories. So a meal over 1000 calories is obviously not the healthiest choice.
But let’s return back to the sandwich alone. While a Big Mac is 540 calories, CalorieKing finds Chick-Fil-A’s Cobb Salad (without dressing) 500 calories. Bob Evans Restaurant’s Cobb Salad is 516 calories.
Now on the same site a Tuna Salad Sandwich (5 oz) w. mayo, 3 oz Bread is 679 calories.
So are we becoming obese eating cobb salads and tuna salad for lunch just as one would eat a Big Mac? We don’t know since people don’t study cobb and tuna salad eating consumers. My guess is no.
Yes, and so fast that I believe it could be messing with our metabolism.
Think back to caveman days. We had to chew. And not on a soft sesame seed bun, but chew our meat. Nuts and vegetables took a chewing as well. Food was more scarce so it was savored and meals weren’t on the run while on a subway or at a stop light in one’s car.
Previous studies have shown that eating slowly and chewing it multiple times allow the body’s signals to trigger the satiety sensation sooner, hence one would eat less.
So gulping down a burger in 5 bites could be accomplished prior to the brain receiving the signal that it should be satisfied.
Now the metabolism issue. Fast food could contain sugars, fats and preservatives that alter metabolism. But eating on the run could cause metabolism issues in and of itself.
When a body senses that the food source is short-lived, unpredictable, and coming at a speed preventing proper absorption of nutrients, it may slow down metabolism to allow the body to make the most of what it has. Eating a meal slow and methodical may be the most successful way to not only feel full but to eat less and lose weight.
I suggest a study be done looking at two groups of people eating the same food with the same caloric content but differing on the speed at which they eat it.
I suggest to you all to take an extra 15 minutes to complete your meal than what you’re accustomed to and determine if you see results after a few weeks.
Of course avoiding fast food would be the most beneficial for our weight but if you must eat fast food, eat it slowly.
LearnHealthSpanish.com / Medical Spanish made easy.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.
Obesity is an epidemic in America. Overall, 38 percent of U.S. adults are obese and 17 percent of teenagers are obese, the Center for Disease Control reported in 2016. More than two-thirds of Americans are at least overweight. There is a difference between obese and overweight, though.
The obese are less likely to be physically active or are physically unable to be physically active, which is why this complete nutrition guide is for the immobile. You can lose weight without exercising. Use the following tips to start losing weight without knowingly altering your calorie intake and without exercising.
When overcoming obesity, you have to start somewhere, and if you have trouble moving, you have to start with the way you eat. I’m not talking about a diet or counting calories. There are things you can do before, during and after consuming food that will help keep you from overeating.
America’s obesity problem stems from increases in portion size since the 1980s, and those portions continue to grow as body weights increase. It’s corporate food taking advantage of an addiction it created, much like the tobacco industry. Don’t be a pawn in their game.
A serving of meat is three ounces, which is the size of a bar of soap. A hamburger serving is the size of a hockey puck. A serving of pasta is the size of your fist. A serving of vegetables is the size of a baseball, and a serving of fruit is the size of a tennis ball. A serving of peanut butter is the size of a ping pong ball. If you guide your portions based on the recommended serving sizes, chances are you’ll end up consuming less and losing weight. If you use smaller plates, you’ll also end up eating fewer calories, and research shows that people eat less off red plates than white or blue plates.
Plan what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for an entire week. Having a plan keeps you from replacing potentially nutritious meals with fast food and puts you in control of your nutrition goals instead of some high school kid inside a drive-thru window. Having a plan will also help you avoid skipping meals, which isn’t good for you either. I log my meals for the next day using the MyPlate app from Livestrong. Logging meals a day in advance gives me an idea of my calorie, fat, sugar and sodium wiggle room for snacks throughout the day. It also helps me save money because I’m less likely to eat out when my meals are already planned.
Impulse buying contributes to the American obesity epidemic. If it never seems like the healthy foods are on sale, it’s because they seldom are. But if you enter the store with a list of foods you know you need, and you don’t waver from that list, you’ll leave having saved some calories and some money.
Drink a glass of water before every meal and more water in general. Are you drinking half a gallon of water each day? Chances are you’re not. The daily recommended water intake is eight, eight-ounce glasses. With one before every meal that’s just three per day, so be sure to stay hydrated. It’s literally the easiest way to lose weight.
Eating in the proper environment can help prevent overeating. A study conducted by a Cornell researcher found that people eating in fast food restaurants where the lighting was dimmer and the music more soothing ate 175 fewer calories than those who ate in the same place with the lights brighter and the music louder. And don’t eat in front of the television, as you’ll be more likely to forget how much you’ve eaten.
It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you’ve eaten enough, so eat slower and you’ll be less likely to overeat. And chew your food thoroughly.
People who eat more in the morning and less at night lose more weight, and starting your day with warm food high in protein helps you feel fuller and less hungry later. Consume 350 to 400 calories and 25 grams of protein every morning and you’ll be on your way to losing weight.
Eggs are my go-to breakfast food because they’re cheap, quick to make, high in protein and are delicious when mixed with vegetables. Non-fat Greek yogurt is also a great breakfast food if you’re on the go. Mix it with granola and fruit for the perfect parfait.
If you have a blender, a plant-based, protein shake is a great way to get a serving of fruits and vegetables along with protein without the fat. I use hemp-based protein because it improves heart health, and BodyBuilding.com put together multiple lists of delicious shake recipes here and here so you never get sick of them. If you can push back your breakfast to later in the day, it lowers the amount of time you’ll have to eat throughout the day, too. This way you’re less likely to consume too much in one day.
Another reason obesity is a problem is the amount of time Americans have to actually sit down and eat. It’s very important that you sit down to eat, and that you actually eat more often. You just want to tone down the size of your meals and spread them out throughout the day so your metabolism stays high and you burn fat throughout the night. Eating smaller meals more frequently also keeps your appetite in check so you don’t wake up starving. Try to eat five smaller meals per day instead of three large meals.
Eating foods that satisfy your hunger is a key to eating fewer calories and overcoming obesity. WebMD put together a chart with examples of satisfying foods, as well as unsatisfying foods. I bet you can guess where Twinkies, Snickers, potato chips, cheese puffs and french fries fell. A turkey sandwich on wheat bread topped the list of satisfying foods, with oatmeal on its heels and bean burrito coming in third. A vegetarian refried bean burrito is an even healthier option.
Avoiding food before bedtime can actually keep you from losing weight. Just don’t overeat before going to bed and make sure you’re consuming protein instead of carbohydrates and fat. Your body burns more calories digesting protein than carbs and fat. Another protein shake is perfect before bed because it might boost your metabolism, according to a Florida State study. Adding a cup of rooibos tea could reduce stress hormones that trigger fat storage and hunger. Some of the best midnight snacks are turkey and cottage cheese, because they’re both high in protein and contain tryptophan, the amino acid that puts you to sleep on Thanksgiving. Speaking of sleep…
Fitbits wouldn’t monitor sleep quality if it wasn’t important to fitness. It’s incredibly important to get at least seven hours of sleep each night because people who get more sleep have the proper balance of leptin and ghrelin hormones that help control appetite. If you create a routine that you do an hour before sleep each night, like brushing your teeth and then reading for an hour, your body will be better prepared to sleep, and you won’t be counting sheep.
If you can’t fall asleep in 20 minutes, leave the bedroom and do something unstimulating. That doesn’t mean watch television or stare at your phone or tablet. Looking at a screen before bed not only makes it harder to fall asleep, but can make you more tired and less alert in the morning. If you still struggle sleeping or can’t seem to breathe while sleeping, get checked for sleep apnea. Oh, and the colder you can handle the bedroom while sleeping, the more calories you’ll burn in your sleep.
If you’re looking to overcome obesity and aren’t physically able to be physically active, week one of the “Overcoming Obesity” nutrition guide for the immobile can help you become mobile. We still won’t advocate exercise in week two, either, because you don’t need to exercise to lose weight. Week two of the “Overcoming Obesity” program will focus on nutrition -- not a diet.
If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: America’s Healthcare Advocate, The Bright Side, The Dr. Daliah Show, Dr. Asa On Call, Dr. Coldwell Opinion Radio, Good Day Health, Health Hunters, Herb Talk, Free Talk Live