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Everything you need to know about fast food

March is National Nutrition Month and while the focus is Nutrition from the Ground Up and eating whole based foods, an astounding 300,000 fast food restaurants alone exist in the United States.  

Here are some scary facts about the fast food industry:

  1. Every month, approximately nine out of 10 American children visit a McDonald's restaurant. Second only to Santa Claus, Ronald McDonald is recognized by over 96% of American children
  2. In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food. In 2006, the spending rose to nearly $142 billion.
  3. Eating fast food can result in high levels of insulin, which has been linked to rising incidences of Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, more than 600,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year.
  4. One fast food hamburger may contain meet from 100 different cows.
  5. McDonald's fries are flavored with unspecified "animal products" including beef tallow.
  6. Recent studies revealed that 50% of fountain dispensers are contaminated with fecal bacteria.
  7. Strawberry flavoring in milkshakes contain over 50 different chemicals including, Diacetyl.  Adds "buttery taste" and produced by fermentation of isobutyl anthranilate.  Used in perfumes.
  8. Fast food companies mark up soda pop by 1200% and french fries 500%.  Ironically, McDonald's earns the majority of its profits from collecting rent, not from selling food.
  9. The popularization of the drive-thru led car manufacturers in the 1990s to install cup holders in the dashboards. As fast food drinks became larger, so did the cup holders.
  10. Dangerous fast food ingredients that have been linked to various cancers and/or obesity includes MSG, trans fat, sodium nitrite, BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Olestra, potassium bromate, and food coloring Blue 1 and 2, Red 3, Green 3, and Yellow 6.  

The average daily intake by country:

  • Congo, 1500 calories
  • Ethiopia, 1800 calories
  • Angola, 1880 calories
  • Rwanda, 1940 calories
  • American, 3760 calories 

Some of the unhealthiest items available:

  • Carl's Jr Double Six Dollar Burger, 1520 calories
  • Nathan's Fish 'n Chips, 1537 calories
  • White Castle Chocolate Shake, 1680 calories

That is more than a day's worth of calories in some of the above countries!!

French fries are the single most popular fast food in America. In 1970, french fries surpassed regular potato sales in the United States. In 2004, Americans ate 7.5 billion pounds of frozen french fries.  

The most unhealthiest fries:

  • Dairy Queen's Regular Fries, 730 calories
  • Arby's Curly Fries, 631 calories
  • McDonald's Regular Fries, 570 calorie

Some of the healthier fast food choices include:

Arby’s Light Roast Chicken Sandwich (276 calories, 7 grams of fat, 777 mg sodium, 33 mg cholesterol), Burger King’s Chunky Chicken Salad (142 calories, 4 grams of fat, 443 mg sodium, 49 mg cholesterol), Wendy’s Chili (210 calories, 7 grams of fat, 800 mg sodium, 30 mg cholesterol), and McDonald’s Vanilla Shake (310 calories, 5 grams of fat, 170 mg sodium, 25 mg cholesterol).

Healthier "fast food" places include:

  • Panera Bread
  • Chipolte
  • Corner Bakery

Perhaps it is best to pack your own lunch, you'll not only have more money in your pocket, but your body will thank you later.

For more information:

55 Juicy Fast Food Facts

Fast Food Infographic: Holy Crap


  • Courtnye - Chicago Obesity Examiner 4 years ago

    I love McDonald's Vanilla shakes and once maybe every other month, I debate on whether to get one or not. It's a special treat to myself. But their Parfaits are heaven!!! I make sure to get one whenever I go, (which is seldom) and they're a dollar. An alternative to their fries apparently because 570 calories is insane!!!!! Thanks for the article.

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