Fast food is bad. And not just in the ways you think.
A typical fast-food meal contains an entree, a side, and a drink — but the most popular items in these categories are normally jam-packed with calories, sodium, and sugar.
One study from Ohio State University and the University of Texas at Austin found that adolescents who regularly eat fast food demonstrate lower academic improvement in math, reading, and science, compared to students who eat no fast food or only do so on occasion.
Replacing healthy meals with low-cost, low-nutrition alternatives can result in a myriad of health problems, beyond weight gain and heart disease — particularly in people who have or who are at risk of developing diabetes.
Another study, published in the respiratory health journal Thorax, found that children who consume fast food three or more times a week had an increased risk of developing asthma, eczema, and rhinitis.
However, fast-food marketers refrain from mentioning that their food has been linked to insulin resistance and obesity. And though thirteen percent of all calories consumed by children ages two to eighteen come from fast-food restaurants, companies continue to spend more than a billion dollars marketing to children each year.
Don’t fall into the fast-food trap. Here are some of the worst meals you can get for your children at a fast-food restaurant:
5. McDonald’s – Double Cheeseburger, Small French Fries, Extra Small Hi-C Orange Lavaburst
This seemingly small meal totals 770 calories, with 38 grams of sugar (almost entirely from the small “orange” drink), and 1,170 mg of sodium. That’s nearly half the calories an average child would need to consume, more than the recommended daily dose of sugar, and fifty-four percent of suggested daily sodium.
If you simply must go here:
Get something like a 4-Piece Chicken McNuggets with Honey, Apple Slices, and a 1% Low Fat Milk. While the nuggets still have 360 calories, accompanying them with fruit and milk make this a more sensible meal.
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!