What's the big deal? If you find yourself speeding through the drive-thru every day, you may want to supersize your workout plan instead of that combo meal. Twice a month is not a big deal, says Kathy McManus, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and director of the department of nutrition at Brigham Women's Hospital in Boston, but do it too often and you're prone to weight gain and a slew of health issues. That's because fast food is low in nutrients and high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. The majority of breads are refined and most meals are scarce on the veggies. True, there are proteins, but they are usually breaded and fried, and portion sizes are out of control. "Studies show you can actually become addicted to salt, sugar and fat and develop cravings for them," says McManus. "Fast food has all of these things combined."
Break it: McManus says to start by taking a baseline inventory of how much fast food you are eating by writing it down for two weeks. Next, reduce your trips by one to two times a week. Take easy steps, such as bringing a bag of apples to work for the week if you tend to eat fast food around your 3 p.m. snack time. And spend some time online for better options. A lot of restaurants let you build your own sandwiches and salads so you can have more control over your calories.
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