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My Name is…and I’m a Fast-Foodoholic.

ronald-mcdonalds1That seems ridiculous, but I have a challenge for you at the end of this entry. The fast food industry has added every chemical possible that they can legally get away with to addict people to their food. In fact, if you eat fast food and you stop eating it, you actually go through withdrawal symptoms. It’s like a drug. Not only that, the preservatives are so high in these fast food burgers these days that the product does not even break down. Fast food has been linked in the increase in obesity in both adults and children. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our country, particularly in children. Here are some startling statistics to consider:

• 65% of American adults are overweight
• 30% of Americans are obese
• According to the American Obesity Association, 127 million Americans are overweight, 60 million Americans are obese, and 9 million are “morbidly obese”: they weigh 100 pounds more than they should.
• In the last twenty years, the rate of obesity has doubled in children and tripled in adolescents and teens.
• As of September 2004, nine million American kids between the ages of six and eighteen were obese.

Obesity-related illnesses will kill around 400,000 Americans this year–almost the same as smoking. Americans have gotten so big that their coffins have to be supersized!
Related illnesses caused by obesity:

• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Heart disease
• Breast Cancer
• Colon cancer
• Gout
• Arthritis
• Asthma
• Diabetes
• Strokes

In 2003, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that one out of three kids born in America in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes.

The life of a ten-year-old child who has Type II diabetes will be, on average, between seventeen and twenty-six years shorter than that of a healthy child.

Diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage in the lower legs which may result in amputation (82,000 of these cases occur every year).

Diabetes is currently the sixth-highest cause of death in America.


Fast Food is Everywhere
The rise of the fast food industry plays a critical role in why our country is plagued with obesity. Fast food is everywhere: in big cities, small towns, shopping malls, the airport, the bus station, schools, and even hospitals!

There are 31,000 McDonald’s worldwide- almost 14,000 of them are in the U.S. 

People are Eating a lot of Fast Food
Fast food has become cheaper and easier to buy. In 2004, Americans spent $124 billion dollars on fast food. That same year, The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study showing that the percentage of fast food calories in the American diet has increased from 3 percent to 12 percent over the last twenty years.

Fast food culture was introduced to other countries around the world in the 1980’s. In countries like Japan and China, people have abandoned traditional healthy diets in favor of fast food and as a result the rate of obesity and other diseases has soared.

Fast Food Restaurants Serve More
Not only is fast food everywhere, but fast food companies encourage the consumer to eat more by supplying over-sized burgers, extra-large servings for fries, and buckets of soda.

Products like The Whopper, The Big Gulp, and Super Size meals pack in a whopping amount of calories, sugars, and fats. Let’s take a closer look:
• The Double Gulp soda at your local 7-11 holds 64 ounces of soda – that is half a gallon! It contains the equivalent of 48 teaspoons of sugar.
• A typical hamburger at a fast food restaurant weighs six ounces. In 1957, it weighed one ounce.
• According to one nutritionist, your average fast food meal is more like three meals.
• The average meal at a McDonald’s has 1,550 calories.

Fast Food is not Good For Us
We’re eating more food that is not nutritious. Most fast-food meals are high in fat, high in sugar, high in calories, high in starch, high in salt, and low in fiber and nutrients. Because fast food lacks nutrients, after we eat it we’re not satisfied. That makes us hungry for more soon after.

Why kids are at a major risk
Our children are exposed to an onslaught of advertising for fast food. Fast food chains spend more then $3 billion every year on television advertising. They intentionally campaign to kids so they become life-long customers. These are known as cradle-grave advertising strategies. Researchers have found that children can often recognize a company logo, like the Golden Arches, before they can recognize their own name.

In one year, the typical American child watches more that 40,000 TV commercials. Around 20,000 of these ads are for junk food: fast food, candy, soda, and breakfast cereals. This means that your child sees a junk food ad every five minutes when they’re watching TV.

To further motivate children to eat fast food, companies like McDonald’s have Happy Meals with free toys. McDonald’s gives away more than 1.5 billion toys every year. Almost one out of every three new toys given to American kids each year is from McDonald’s or another fast food restaurant.

In order to combat these calculated advertising strategies, educating our children on healthy eating habits that are easy, fun, and taste great is paramount. By teaching our children how harmful fast food is and how to eat healthier, they are empowered to make the right choices.

Fast Food is filled with chemicals and preservatives.
Fast food doesn’t break down. This is because it is loaded with chemicals and preservatives. There’s of course, the great video out on YouTube called The Bionic Burger that illustrates this in a fun and informative way.  The video is based on a true story. In 1991, this software engineer from Burlington, Vermont (he prefers to remain anonymous) was out with friends in Boston for New Year’s Eve and stopped at McDonald’s on the way home. He bought a couple of cheeseburgers, ate one and put the other in his coat pocket to have later.

He forgot about the burger in his pocket. A year later, he pulled his coat out of the closet, put it on, and discovered the cheeseburger in his pocket from New Year’s Eve. It looked exactly the same. He was absolutely blown away. He told his friends and family but nobody believed him. So he decided to start a burger museum to demonstrate to everyone that these cheeseburgers and hamburgers were literally indestructible.

He started collecting burgers, one every year. By the fall of 2004, he had amassed quite a collection:
• The original ’91 McDonald’s Cheeseburger from that New Year’s Ever
• ’92 McDonald’s Cheeseburger and Big Mac
• ’93 Burger King Hamburger
• ’94 McDonald’s Hamburger
• ’95-’03 McDonald’s Cheeseburgers

He kept them on bookshelves in his living room in the open air. These burgers look exactly the same. The bun, the meat, the cheese, the special sauce, the pickle, even the lettuce. They have all retained their shape, and color for over a decade!

Food is supposed to break down. Food is supposed to be the most biodegradable of all products. How is it possible that these burgers have not broken down? Decayed? Become moldy?

We brought the bionic burger museum to a recent health event to demonstrate how fast food is made of chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and low quality ingredients. Hundreds and hundreds of people saw burgers that were between one and eleven years old. None of them had decomposed. Adults and children were shocked. When people see first hand that fast food is not food, it has a powerful impact that can cause them to make the right choice: the choice to eat healthy, nutritious food instead of a cornucopia of chemicals, preservatives, fat, grease, and salt.

The video has been viewed by 1.3 million people on YouTube. It has been translated into 7 different languages, and featured on 50,000 blogs. This demonstrates that people want this information, they want to be informed because information empowers us to make the right choice. You choose every day what you are going to put into your body. Make the best choice and put food in your body that is going to help you, not harm you.

When you put living food in your body it contains enzymes that naturally break the food down. The ripening process of fruit, for example, is an enzyme controlled process. And those enzymes will eventually, if that fruit’s not eaten, cannibalize the fruit. So the fruit will eat itself.

Well, these burgers aren’t eating themselves. They are here twenty years later because there are no enzymes present. These burgers are so loaded with preservatives that they’re like a sealant, as if they are permanently made, like you would have a painting glazed over and framed and put on your wall. It’s not food, it’s something else. What that something else is, we don’t know, but I’m totally impressed that people can survive eating it.


Your Action: Stay away from all types of fast food for at least a month.


What did you eat on Sunday?

ramen_eating_contestYou probably don’t remember. Do you really know what you eat every day? You probably do not, unless you keep a food log. Keeping a food log is simple. Every day, use a new page, and write down everything you put in your mouth. By writing everything down, you will limit calorie intake, because, at some point, you will connect what you have eaten with extra calories, and the extra calories with your weight.

You can get more benefit from your food log with minimal extra effort. At the end of the day, jot down some ideas on how you felt that day-were you hungry, full, or just right? Was your breakfast adequate, but not your lunch? Writing down notes about ways your food choices corresponded to your hunger signals during the day will help you plan future days and meals during your weight-loss journey. You will see patterns develop-eating a whole apple fills you up more than drinking apple juice. You can eat ten potato chips, or an entire bag of Smart Pop popcorn, and the fiber from the popcorn will keep you satisfied longer.

Every weight-loss plan available will tell you what to eat and when, or at least give hints and tips. By keeping your own food diary, you will be able to “research” food and your body in a way that is tailored exactly to you. No matter what books and plans tell people, the best way to learn is by doing and observing yourself. Keeping a food diary will help you unlock your own secrets to weight-loss and nutritional success.

The benefits of keeping a food log outweigh the time and effort of recording every little morsel of food and sip of liquid that passes your lips?
Benefits are;

Makes you more conscious of when and what you consume on a daily basis. It’s easy to account for the big stuff – that piece of cheese cake, or that big turkey dinner. But it’s often the little things that get you, like…
The cream and sugar in your daily coffee.
The butter on your morning bagel.
The handful of peanuts you mindlessly grabbed while sitting in front of the T.V..

Allows you to gain an understanding of just how much food you need to consume to reach your weight loss goals. If you keep track of your weight or waist measurement along with your food intake, you’ll soon notice whether your weight/waist size is trending up, down or staying the same. If you keep an accurate food log, you can make small adjustments to your caloric intake to help you achieve your goals.

Allows you to accurately calculate how many calories you eat. When you combine your food log with a nutrition software, you can quickly and easily find out how many calories you consume…on a meal-to-meal, day-to-day basis. Doing this is perhaps the quickest way to reach your weight loss goals.

Reveals patterns in your eating habits. Do you eat more at night than during the day? Do you eat when more or less when stressed? Do most of your calories come from carbohydrates? From protein? Or from fat? Are you eating at regular intervals throughout the day or do you eat fewer but bigger meals? Keeping a food log can help you answer these questions. Just being more conscious about what you eat, when you eat, why you eat and how much you eat can make all the difference in the world.

Keeps you focused on your goal. What you focus on becomes your reality. If you are focused on eating balanced, healthy meals you will tend to eat that way more often than not.

Most people mindlessly go through their day, grabbing food whenever they feel hungry. They give very little thought to what goes in their body.

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of keeping a food log is what happens when you use it as a planning tool. Sit down with your food log at the beginning of every week and plan what you want to eat at each meal and snack. Doing this will help you control the amount of calories you consume and stay focused on healthy eating.

Your Action: Begin to log everything that goes in your mouth and when you eat it.
Log your food intake for a week. Review it after that week. Send a comment tell me what you learned,