Top 10 Fast Food Meals to Avoid
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
March 17, 2011
Filed Under Health
Contributed by Rosemary O’Brien, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
To some people, fast food is a staple of their diet. To others, it is the occasional treat. It is safe to say, however, that for most people, fast food conjures up copious amounts of salt, unidentified meat, and preservatives most of us never even knew existed.
With the help of a few carefully compiled lists of the deadliest fast food meals, I have come up with a list of the top 10 fast food meals to avoid. To avoid a lawsuit, I will break them down into types of foods rather than by brand. I’m sure you can figure out which brands they are anyway. There is probably a bag or two sitting in your car waiting for your next gas stop so you can dump them in the trash between the pumps. If you want to guess which meals won before you read, think salt and calories and you will be heading in the right direction.
Here are the top ten fast food meals to avoid:
10. Giant burgers
There are a number of extra-jumbo-super-size burgers all going on a variety of aliases. The fact remains, they are all variations on the same theme. That theme is “big.” These burgers are stacked with at least two meat patties, and usually three, covered in melted cheese, and has some sort of mayonnaise-based sauce topping. Total calories can reach as many as 1300 calories, and the salt content resembles the salt content of the Dead Sea: some 3500 grams. Well, the Dead Sea comment is inaccurate, but you get the idea.
If you think replacing the bread with a wrap is going to save you from calories, think again. It is true the wrap avoids some of the carbohydrates you would be getting from the bread or roll, but the filling will more than make up for it. Usually wraps are filled with a variety of items to make it seem more satisfying and, frankly, worth the price. Unfortunately, unless you get your wrap from your local deli or make it yourself, the filling may contain high-calorie and high-fat items such as seasoned rice, beans cooked in fat such as lard, and condiments filled with salt.
8. Fried chicken
We all know frying food is not a healthy way to cook, but frying food in oils that are not easily digested by the human body is even worse. Since olive oil is not a choice due to its low flash point and strong flavor, many restaurants choose the unhealthier types of cooking oils. Peanut oil, palm oil and hydrogenated oils make the chicken taste good and are frequently used to fry chicken. The problem is that none of these choices are good for your heart. Besides, frying adds to the calorie count of the chicken, another bad option for the heart as well as the waistline.
I confess. Some of my favorite fast food choices involve lots of bread and heavy on the meat. The problem is that these are not healthy favorites despite what the ads try to tell you. You cannot, and should not, lose weight by eating sandwiches day in and day out. Even if you choose low-fat meats and cheese, the carbohydrates from the bread adds tons of unnecessary calories that only convert to fat. One of the popular combination foot long sandwiches totals a whopping 1300+ calories and more than 5000 grams of salt! Can you say, “Pass the paddles?”
6. Pizzas and calzones
Pizzas are no more than cheese sandwiches with some tomato sauce thrown in. If you come from an ethnic background in which we regularly make these at home, you also know this is not spaghetti sauce from scratch. Most of us cannot bring ourselves to order a pizza at a restaurant unless it’s a local Italian restaurant and not a chain. The bread is a problem, but the cheese is the real concern. Filled with fillers and coagulated oil, you might want to skip it and settle for the salad bar. Remember, go light on the dressing and avoid marinated items.
The same applies for pastas. Unless you make it from your own eggs, flour and water, you have no idea what type of calories and fats are packed into these little noodles of doom. Yes, they may taste great, but combine the noodles of unknown origin with the mysterious ingredients added to the sauce, and you may be eating thousands of calories in an average-size bowl. One of the more well-known choices even combines the pasta with bread by serving it inside a bread bowl! Talk about adding insult to injury. At almost 700 calories and over 1700 grams of salt, you do not want to know what this is doing to your body.
4. Meat (in any form)
If you live in the United States, you are somewhat lucky when it comes to your food choices. We have standards when it comes to food preparation and procurement. With that being said, not all checks and balances lead to healthy meats in your processed or prepared foods. Yes, if the nutrition label states the meat you are eating is beef, it will be beef. The problem is where the beef is obtained. It could be from the less savory parts of the cow or even beef from another country. The meat has to meet certain standards when it hits our country, but what of the standards from the country of origin? Not all beef is the same.
You would think salad would be a good all around choice for a meal, but you would be wrong. I recently had a salad that contained chicken. While it was good, the chicken pieces were fried in that mystery oil mentioned above. There are also salads that add steak. Again, see the bit about mystery meat above. Add on dressing and cheese, and your healthy salad can resemble the sodium and calorie content of a sandwich or a cheeseburger. Be careful to ask for your dressing on the side. You can also absorb some of the benefits of eating almonds, skip the meat and add protein in the form of a few unsalted almonds.
There are fast food restaurants that tout the benefits of fish on their menu. Don’t believe them for a minute. The fish is usually fried. Even if it is baked or broiled, they tend to add seasonings, oils and butters that turn it into an unhealthy choice. The most amusing part of these choices is the crunchy things they sometimes serve with the meal. This is merely fried batter. Yes, it’s scary to think about someone making that choice. Don’t you add insult to injury by ordering it, too.
1. Mac and cheese
If you read the pasta section, you already know not to order macaroni and cheese. Between the mysterious additions to the noodles and the oils and fat in the cheese, you have a real heart attack on a plate with this one. It may taste a little like your mother’s at some fast food restaurants, but it certainly wasn’t made with the love and the healthy ingredients your mother chose in your childhood kitchen. The better bet is to call your mother and have her cook her version instead.
Heart patients and those who are on a salt- or cholesterol-free diet should stay away from fast food items in general. If you absolutely have to grab something on the go at one of the more popular fast-food restaurants, stick with a plain salad minus any type of meat and light on the low-fat dressing. Or you can hold off your hunger until you get home by choosing a bag of apples as a snack. If you do choose to eat this stuff, and the saying is true that we are what we eat, then you, my friend, are a big glob of fat. I suggest you treat your body as the temple it is and avoid these meals at all costs.
Resources: The Daily Beast, March 24, 2010