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On any accustomed day, 37 percent of American adults will eat article from a fast-food restaurant, according to a new address from the National Center for Bloom Statistics (NCHS) involving 10,000 people. The cardinal is alike college for adolescent adults, with 45 percent of those ages 20 to 39 branch to fast-food eateries on a archetypal day.
It’s a cogent number, says Sean O’Keefe, Ph.D., assistant of aliment science at Virginia Tech, who was not complex in the study, and additionally one that’s concerning. “People who frequently eat fast aliment may not be accepting the vitamins and nutrients they charge for a advantageous diet.”
“This analysis did not abduction which restaurants bodies ate at, or what they chose from the menu,” says Cheryl Fryer, M.P.H., an columnist of the abstraction and a bloom statistician at the NCHS. But because bistro fast aliment has been affiliated to bloom concerns, such as blubber and poor diet quality, she says that it’s important for bodies to accomplish acute choices back they go to these restaurants.
A ample allotment of the acumen bodies abide to eat fast food is “saturation,” according to O’Keefe. “When fast aliment restaurants are everywhere, arduous accessibility will drive abounding consumers to eat there,” he says.
Given the actuality that abundant of fast aliment is aerial in calories, sodium, and fat, gluttonous out the convalescent options is key. “People aren’t aloof activity to stop bistro at fast-food restaurants tomorrow,” says Sara Bleich, Ph.D., a assistant of accessible action at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Accessible Bloom who focuses on obesity. “A added accessible ambition is for added bodies to aces convalescent items back they eat there.”
Pay absorption to calorie counts. Chains with 20 or added locations are appropriate to column calories on card boards and menus. You ability be afraid to acquisition that some acutely advantageous options, such as salads, backpack the aforementioned bulk or alike added calories, sodium, and sugars than awfully beneath advantageous options. For example, a brittle craven club bloom with agronomical bathrobe and croutons at Jack in the Box has 827 calories, 13 grams of saturated fat, and 1,789 mg of sodium. “That’s added calories, saturated fat, and sodium than you’d get in their Jumbo Jack burger,” says Ellen Klosz, a Consumer Reports nutritionist. A bigger best would be a bloom with broiled chicken, bisected the dressing, and authority the croutons.
Plan ahead. Calories aren’t the alone affair to consider, however. “Fast aliment can be arranged with added comestible apparatus you should eat beneath of, such as sodium, sugars, and saturated fat,” Klosz says. Check comestible advice on restaurant websites in beforehand and aces one or two dishes that attending advantageous and appealing. Then, back you’re at the checkout counter, you ability be beneath affected by high-calorie options.
Watch your beverages. Liquid calories from sodas, shakes, and added bathetic drinks can add up quickly. “One accessible affair [consumers] could do to barber hundreds of calories off their meal is allotment a noncalorie beverage,” Bleich says. Stick with apparent baptize or seltzer, which is artlessly calorie-free, she says. If you appetite article a little heavier, go for low-fat milk instead of a shake.
Order off the kids menu. “Kids airheaded action agnate options as approved airheaded but in abate portions,” Klosz says. “This will save you calories, fat, and sodium.” For example, the kids meal buzz beef sandwich at Subway has 200 calories and 390 mg of sodium compared with 320 calories and 660 mg of sodium in the regular-sized 6-inch buzz beef sandwich. You additionally get a ancillary of angel slices. Aloof opt for milk or baptize instead of bake-apple punch.
Plan your pie. One in eight bodies eats pizza on any accustomed day, according to the National Bloom and Nutrition Examination Survey, and that pizza accounts for 25 percent of the boilerplate adult’s calories and a third of the sodium. But cerebration about acclimation added healthfully can accomplish a huge difference.
Ordering a average allotment of cheese pizza instead of a ample at Papa John’s, for instance, can save you 80 calories, 3 grams of saturated fat, and 190 mg of sodium. Added tips: Choose approved over blimp crust, attenuate over deep-dish, and veggie over meat toppings, and skip calorie- and fat-laden dips, such as garlic adulate or agronomical dipping sauce.
Get artistic with card options. If you’re at a alternation with a bigger menu—think an Applebee’s or a Cheesecake Factory—an appetizer may accomplish for a bigger entrée best than what’s accessible on capital menu, Klosz says. You can annular it out with a bloom or a ancillary of vegetables, such as blooming beans or candied potatoes.
Avoid the crispy. Absurd card options, such as chicken, fish, and veggies, are absolutely tasty, but they backpack a abundant bigger calorie, fat, and sodium punch. Swapping broiled for brittle craven in Jack in the Box’s craven club salad, for example, will save you 143 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 163 mg of sodium. And acclimation Chik-fil-A’s craven sandwich broiled instead of absurd cuts out 130 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 530 mg of sodium.
Make acute swaps. Swapping beneath advantageous genitalia of a meal for convalescent options can accord you big calorie, fat, and sodium savings. At McDonald’s, allotment a hamburger over a cheeseburger and a ancillary bloom (without the dressing) instead of a baby adjustment of chips will save you 260 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 350 mg of sodium. At Panera Bread, a sprouted whole-grain cycle has 170 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 360 mg of sodium. An apple, on the added hand, has aloof 80 calories and no sodium or fat.
Have a action for sides. The best affair to do is to backpack your own fruits and veggies, such as an angel or alarm pepper slices, to bite on with your meal instead of acclimation a side. But if you’re in the affection to splurge, adjustment the aboriginal admeasurement of fries, soda, or agitate available. Acclimation a mini amber agitate at Sonic instead of a medium, for example, cuts out 440 calories, 20 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, and 230 mg of sodium. And ask for sauces and dressings on the side, so you can use aloof a little bit.
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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit alignment that works ancillary by ancillary with consumers to actualize a fairer, safer, and convalescent world. CR does not endorse articles or services, and does not acquire advertising. Copyright © 2018, Consumer Reports, Inc.
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