Most of the press coverage regarding fast food restaurants revolves around how bad their food is for you: high in fat, high in sodium, high in cholesterol… and a massive recipe for a heart attack. But, if the naysayers were to be a little more truthful, tey might be surprised at how the fast food industry has evolved, and the number of foods available that are actually pretty healthy. At the very least, there are a number of lower calorie options – and for those on the go, the cold hard truth is that fast food restaurants actually can make you lose weight.
How can fast food restaurants make you lose weight? There are actually several reasons why. But let’s start with what’s on some of the most popular fast food restaurant’s menus. From salads, to snack wraps and sandwiches, there are a number of low-calorie options. For instance, McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Wrap is only 230 calories, and Wendy’s version is a mere 260 calories. On the salad side, these same two competitors offer low-calorie, low-sodium salads, like the McDonald’s Might Caesar Entrée Salad, clocking in at 250 calories, and Wendy’s Chicken BLT Cobb (Half-Size), at only 300 calories. Some other fast food options under 400 calories include:
- Wendy’s Large Chili: 270 Calories
- Subway’s 6” Turkey Breast & Ham: 280 Calories
- Subway’s 6” Veggie Delite” 230 Calories
- Carl’s Jr. Grilled Chicken Salad: 280 Calories
- Carl’s Jr. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich: 390 Calories
There are so many healthy options at fast food restaurants now, that is seems a little hard to believe that there is still such a negative association with a quick meal out. Even if you just have to have a McDonald’s Cheeseburger now and then, though it isn’t as healthy and is high in sodium, you will still rake in only 300 calories for the sandwich. Nearly every fast food chain now offers healthier, low-calorie food, and the number of choices under 400 calories are growing.
When it comes to beverages, however, there are a number of zero calorie drinks available, but they won’t necessarily help you lose weight. Diet drinks with aspartame – like Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi and Dr. Pepper – have shown in studies to actually increase cravings for carbs and sugar – negating the whole purpose and making sticking to your weight loss plan even harder. When grabbing a drink to go with your low-cal meal, it’s best avoid those diet drinks with aspartame altogether, and stick to teas, coffees and good ole’ water. If you really must have something bubbly, believe it or not, a regular soda will do less damage to your health and weight loss plan overall, as long as you factor in the calories (a small, 12 oz. Coke has 100 calories).
The whole reason why a fast food diet can work for you is because the portions are laid out for you already, and as long as you stick to one main course and avoid the unnecessary sides, you will have filled up enough to make it to your next meal. Portion control is a huge problem with meals made at home, but at a fast food restaurant, you know exactly what you’re getting.
So, how can fast food restaurants make you lose weight? Low-calorie options, low-sodium options, and portion control. It’s pretty simple when you think about it, it’s just like any other pre-made diet program meal – only it’s probably fresher.
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