Top Fast Food Joints to Avoid

By Hope Kumor

“Can I have a double cheeseburger with extra mayo and large curly fries on the side,” says a hungry woman customer. When she adds a “diet soda” because she’s watching her figure, the whole staff cringes. Instead of a shrinking economy, we are becoming larger, in terms of waist size. But, the fast food joints aren’t helping when they offer low price items such as dollar menus or cheap food that feeds two to three people. You might be asking yourself questions such as “what are some of the worst fast food restaurants to eat?” Well, to answer your never ending thoughts I’ve interviewed nutritionist Kristie L. Finnan, RDN, LDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Diva Dietitian blogger to get her insight.

Below, Finnan weighs in on the five worst fast food restaurants : McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Five Guys, Dominoes and KFC.

  • McDonald’s: This restaurant has been associated with the growing rates of obesity in Chinese cities and with the clearing of rain forests. Also, why are we rewarding our children with cheap toys for eating junk food?  The toys have the kids begging to go to the Golden arches.

  • Dunkin Donuts: DD is easy and convenient which draws folks in, a regular stop on weekends for many families.”

  • Five Guys: [It has] greasy burgers, peanuts on the floor, which is an allergy kid’s nightmare.

  • Dominoes: [There is] not a lot of variety, non nutritive and non flavorful pizza.

  • KFC: I think they may have grilled options now. But, when people go to KFC, the fried chicken is what most people order.

These places are filled with high calories with a side of high blood pressure. They are convenient and easily accessible to drive to. However, when asked what the healthier options would be, Finnan recommends Chick-Fil-A and Panera Bread.

“Chick-Fil-A offers real chicken, healthy kids meals with education toys like books.  The downside is they are more expensive. Their fries are fried in a separate fryer from breaded items, so [they are] gluten free,” says Finnan.

But, wait, maybe you could avoid all of this fast food and pick something up at the local grocery store. Finnan suggests grabbing a yogurt or a cheese stick, rotisserie chicken, salad. Even if it’s in a bag, you could grab a bag of spinach.

We want to get to the bottom of this fast food talk. Why do so many people flock to fast food joints? Well, simply because food is everywhere, it’s cheap and everything is fried! Therefore, since fast food tends to taste so yummy because companies add several fatty ingredients to make the taste out of this world, people are likely to consume more than they should.

“People crave fast food because it’s addicting.  It tastes good, it’s readily available,” says Finnan. “Many also tend to wait until they are starving at work or after work to go there, so it’s a quick high and burst of glucose to a hungry brain.”

Some may say “just get grilled chicken or salad and you’ll be fine.” Sure, those are better options, but you must remember to order a plain chicken sandwich without that creamy mayo that adds a ton of calories and ask for no croutons or cheese on your salad. The salad should have extra veggies and light dressing in order to be considered healthy.

Fast food is causing all types of problems and if companies don’t start offering healthier options, obesity will increase even more than is has in the past few years.

“Fast food places, large portion sizes at most restaurants and a sedentary life style is what is causing the obesity rate to sky rocket,” says Finnan. “We don’t walk anywhere, eat too much and have too much screen time like TV, computers, iPad, iPod, phones, gameboys and video games. [It’s] sad when we don’t even have to get out of our cars to get the fast food.”

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