“What Happens To Your Body When You Give Up Fast Food?” The title of this article peaked my interest enough to read through it.  After all, we’ve been eating at home for months, not even a whiff of a  burger and fries.  So how are we doing? 

My brain knows fast food isn’t the best choice but my tummy says, I’ll have a Quarter Pounder with cheese, please.  Yes, of course I’ll have fries with that.  

I admit it right up front, I’m a McDonalds fan, a quarter pounder brings a smile to my face. Monty, on the other hand, has thing about McDonalds, I‘ve never figured out what he has against the Golden Arches, but it is serious.  In thirty years we have been to MacDonald’s twice, and only then because we had a grandchild in tow. 

I confess, once when Monty was stuck on jury duty, I grabbed the car keys and took myself to McDonalds for lunch. There I sat all by myself emitting little sighs as I bit into the juicy wonder of that quarter pounder.  It was sooooo good I felt guilty about the indulgence.

We haven’t eaten out since the end of February.  That includes our favorite In and Out Burger.  We aren’t being martyrs here, it’s just that anytime we’ve been near the place the drive through line is so long it just doesn’t seem worth the wait.   

 Food at In and Out, is practically health food, I mean they have  lettuce and slice of tomato along with a paper thin paddy of beef on a tasty bun.  Sounds like health food to me.  Put that together with a chocolate shake and a load of crispy fries and you have a meal fit for a king.  My mouth is watering just thinking about that first bite.   We enjoy eating outside at their comfy cement tables over looking the asphalt parking lot.  That is great in December, not so much in June. Now everything is relegated to ‘take out’.  The only time eating in the car is fun is at a drive-in movie.  When was the last time you did that?  We have triple digits here so no one is going to sit in the car for long, and who wants to eat cold french fries that made the trek home.  

So now that you know where I stand on the fast food deal, let’s see if what they are saying about giving up fast food is true.  I think almost four months of doing without french fries should have some impact.  I’m going to provide the Reader’s Digest version of the article here, suffice it to assume these are reputable studies.  

Seven Amazing Things That Happen When You Give Up Fast Food

It’s no secret that fast food while tasty, is overall just not healthy. In fact, eating fast food can negatively affect much more than your waistline. Researchers have found that a diet high in fast food—and its essential components such as bad fats, sodium, and sugar—can have effects on your brain, your bones, and your mood. 

So what happens if you stop eating fast food? It’s been four months I expect results here!

1. Your jeans will fit better. Fast food is packed with sodium, and you can easily consume most of your daily allowance in one meal. At McDonald’s, a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and medium fries contains 1,630 milligrams of sodium. 2,300 milligrams a day is recommended moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams, so you can see how these meals are not helping you there.

The body copes with this influx of salt by holding on to water to maintain the proper sodium balance in the body. That’s when you experience bloating. Stop eating fast food and just watch the bloat subside, allowing your jeans to fit better.

 Because I’m stuck at home mostly sitting at the computer or reading I don’t see any great difference. My middle is attempting to reach the size of my hips just because there is no where else to go. 

2. You lower your risk of heart disease. Eating fast food more than twice a week makes you 1.5 times more likely to develop heart disease than people who infrequently or never eat it. The high fat and sodium content of fast food is to blame. In fact, if Americans reduced their sodium intake, there would be 120,000 fewer cases of heart disease, 66,000 fewer strokes, and 99,000 fewer heart attacks each year.

Well, that is a goal worth working toward but they seem to be dwelling on the sodium thing a bit much. Monty salts the fries before we even taste them!  Probably not the best plan.

3. You improve your memory and ability to learn. It’s not just years of relying on the fried food of these restaurants that will affect your body, either. Mice who ate a diet of junk food  displayed memory loss and a lack of cognitive ability after just one week. Sorry to break it to you, but those effects extend to humans.

I think referring to fast food as ‘junk food’ is a bit harsh, mean spirited even.

Researchers compared people’s blood levels of trans fats to their brain volume via MRI. They found that trans fats actually shrink your gray matter, replacing good fats in its membranes and affecting its ability to function. Yep, fast food can fry your brain.

But it does make my tummy happy!

4. Your mood improves. A study found, eating fast food is associated with a higher rate of depression, and the risk gets higher the more fast food that’s eaten. Researchers found that women who ate a diet high in foods that trigger inflammation—such as soft drinks,  refined carbs, red meat, and margarine—had a 41% higher risk of depression over 12 years compared to women who ate a diet rich in inflammation busters like healthy fats, vegetables, coffee, and wine.

Now here is some research I can get into, they mentioned wine and I’m sure they meant to say two glass at dinner is a great idea.  I love this researcher, but he better keep his hands off my margarine, ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’.

5. You reduce your risk of diabetes. Eating a diet high in saturated and/or trans fats—hello, fast food!—can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body releases more and more sugar into the blood. Over time, this can lead to weight gain and a vastly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. In fact, regularly eating fast food doubles your chance of developing insulin resistance,

6. You get stronger bones. Those deliciously salty fries can have unappetizing long term affects: Excessive salt consumption is associated with high blood pressure, strokes, and reduced kidney function. And, as if negatively impacting your heart, brain and kidneys weren’t bad enough, some studies suggest sodium also affects your bones by competing in your body with calcium.

Here they are with the salt thing again, really? That’s the fall back position?

7. You have more energy. Fast food is high in sugar, and it lurks in menu items that don’t sound remotely sweet. When you consume a high amount of refined sugar and simple carbs the pancreas secretes insulin to keep your blood sugar low. Because fast food doesn’t contain enough complex carbs to give you lasting energy, your blood sugar levels crash soon after you finish eating, leaving you tired, and craving another quick hit of energy from more junky sugar and carbs.

There you have it folks.  That stop at the Golden Arches might provide a brief ‘high,’ but burgers and fries are addictive, the more you eat the more you want.  Think of it like ‘crack’ only cheaper.  

So now that we’ve gone ‘cold turkey’ giving up fast food, how are we feeling?  According to the points made in this article our pants fit better, our memory has improved, our skeleton feels stronger and we have more energy.  

I don’t know about you, but to be honest, I don’t feel the least bit healthier and my mood definitely has not improved.  In fact I’m downright cranky. 

I want a burger and fries, damn it.  

6 replies
    • Carrie Bonello
      Carrie Bonello says:

      Thanks for sticking with me, I hope we can actually go out to lunch one of these days. I really miss those good times.

      Reply
  1. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    Thanks for convincing me that eating at home is so much more healthier. But that chocolate milk shake reference now makes a trip to DQ a must do and very soon. Take Care.

    Reply

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