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Opinion column: From lips to hips

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2013

Today’s society is all about the “getting it on the go” mentality when it comes to food. This is becoming a problem in young adults that I fear will be passed down to the next generation.

Think about it for a minute. Think about how we, as a society, have learned to replace good, hearty and healthy meals with foods that have been processed and are full of saturated fats and sugars.

I’m not saying that every meal that is a “quick grab and go” is a poor choice. I myself have had plenty of times where I opt for a deli-style sandwich at a gas station as opposed to going and sitting in a drive-thru.

Of course, that fried chicken and pizza that are literally right next to the sandwich smell amazing, but I just remind myself to choose the healthier food with fewer calories, especially when I am on the go.

Unlike a hamburger and fries washed down with a large soda, there are endless options for what kinds of fast foods you can put in your body without increasing blood sugar levels or adding the risk of health issues.

Most convenience stores offer fruits and a variety of salads and sandwiches. Although these may not be as mouthwatering as a triple-stacked bacon burger, the health effects are less damaging to the body both physically and mentally.

Remember, I am not saying it is always bad to indulge in a taco or nachos. Heck, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a big ol’ greasy hamburger and fries! But, I do eat these meals in extreme moderation, and putting these processed foods in our systems can be doing more damage than we know.

According to an article from The Huffington Post, a recent study by the Canadian Journal of Cardiology proposed that almost immediately after you finish one junk fast food meal, the damage to the body’s arteries is instant.

Many professionals in the medical field have found numerous health-related issues just in the fast food restaurant’s processed foods, with obesity being the most obvious.

Another would be the lack of energy. For example, a person who eats fast food more than twice a week may not have as much natural energy as someone who takes in a quarter-pound beef patty, dressed up like prom night, with a large fries, about twice a month.

Of course there will always be people who have the “I don’t care” attitude, but I am hoping to at least teach someone the effects of poor diet choices when on the go.

You don’t have to have a big bankroll to afford fresh vegetables and foods at the supermarket. Whole wheat breads and pastas, which are healthier, cost the same as regular bleached pastas.

Google some new and fun ways to cook for your family and children to help incorporate fruits and veggies into their daily diet.

So, if you want to be on a fast track to getting healthy, losing weight and feeling better, first and foremost, cut out the soda pop! Then, instead of grabbing for that bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, which is packed with calories and sugar that a good hour at the gym alone would be needed to burn off, grab some baked chips.

Look at what you are putting in your body before you just start consuming, because an extra two minutes of your time is worth more than potentially losing two years off your life because of health issues. Live healthy, feel great and make good choices.

Courtesy of Harvard Health Publications

Most fast food and other restaurants offer many dining options, some of which are better than others. For example:

A Burger King Double Whopper has 830 calories and 50 grams of fat (17 grams of saturated fat, nearly the daily limit) while a hamburger has only 240 calories and 9 grams of fat (3.5 grams saturated).

An Angus Bacon and Cheeseburger at McDonalds has 790 calories and 39 grams of fat (18 grams saturated) while the Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap has 250 calories and 8 grams of fat (3.5 grams saturated).

A Wendy’s medium fries delivers 420 calories with 21 grams of fat (14 grams saturated), while a garden salad is 210 calories and 13 grams of fat (only 2 grams saturated).

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