Nutrition at Fast Food Restaurants Still Leaves Much to be Desired

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Fast food has become ubiquitous in the American diet, with over 25% of Americans eating fast food two or more times a week. So it’s especially concerning that a 14-year study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows menus haven’t made much improvement in their nutritional quality.

Investigators examined food trends and nutrition profiles of menus from the following eight popular fast food chains between the years 1997 and 2010:

• McDonald’s
• Burger King
• Wendy’s
• Taco Bell
• Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
• Arby’s
• Jack in the Box
• Dairy Queen

(MORE: How Much Exercise Will It Take to Work Off a Burger? Menus May Soon Tell You)

Researchers evaluated the nutritional quality of the restaurants’ offerings using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Eating Index 100-point scale. Disappointingly, the results showed the nutritional quality of fast food improved only by three points from 45 to 48 over the study period. Compared to prior years, scores remained unchanged for fruit, vegetables, grains and oils, but improved for calories from solid fats and added sugars as well as meat and saturated fat levels. Scores were worse for dairy and sodium.

An overall score of 48 is discouraging given that it’s lower than the average American’s diet score of 55, which the USDA says is far from ideal.

“The [three-point increase] is disappointing, and a bit surprising, given the many pronouncements by companies that they have added healthier menu options, switched to healthier cooking fats, are reducing sodium, and are touting other changes in company press releases and advertising,” said Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, D.C. in an accompanying editorial.

(MORE: Do Calorie Counts on Menus Curb Eating? Not So Much)

A handful of the restaurants, including Kentucky Fried Chicken and Jack in the Box, did improve their individual scores by offering more proteins and grain options and lowering sugar and saturated fat levels. However, other restaurants like Burger King headed in the other direction by boosting sodium and saturated fats.

Some changes that could improve the nutritional rating for fast-food joints include lowering portion sizes and offering more fruit and vegetable options. Wootan notes in her editorial that current portion offerings are two to three times larger than food labels list as a single serving. When offered bigger portions, she observes, people tend  to eat more.

(MORE: What’s in Your Whopper? Salt in Fast Food Varies Greatly Between Countries)

Large restaurant chains have started displaying calories counts on their menu boards, and Wootan says smaller chains should follow suit. “The full impact of menu labeling will not be clear until menu labeling is implemented nationally and consumers become accustomed to seeing calorie counts on menus,” says Wootan in her commentary.

With Americans consuming about one-third of their calories outside the home, fast food is playing a greater role in how families feed themselves. But public health advocates remain hopeful that restaurants will start to take greater responsibility for offering healthier foods, since their current offerings may be contributing to health problems related to diet, like diabetes and obesity.

3 comments
goodgenie4u
goodgenie4u

Food is now manufactured, using man made chemicals for taste and shelf life. Our immune system was built in the "stone age" . What the immune system does not recognize (chemicals) is "stored " in our various organs like the kidneys and liver. The famous "toxins" we talk about.

CAVEAT EMPTOR  is a latin term that defends the rights of suppliers from the outrage of buyers.

"Caveat emptor means `let the buyer beware', and is a warning to someone buying something that it is their responsibility to identify and accept any faults in it"    The FDA is paid for by taxpayers to represent their interests in this regard. They have been as successful as the folks paid billions to prevent 911. It should be no surprise that the biggest security threat is not terrorism but what we eat, drink and inhale and the amount of time we spend doing this instead of an activity lifestyle.

 Capitalism at any cost produces a class of bandits gently called plutocrats. They take the tax payers money one way or another and are even successful at persuading us to be patriots. We put our lives in harms way on the battlefield and also when we are hungry or thirsty.
When we become casualties, they insist we need to have the right health insurance or mortgage our houses to pay for treating what ails us. 

Go figure who are the culprits;  consumers or suppliers. 

ainiclive
ainiclive

Threat of obesity, other serious issues are growing speedily across US, UK countries. just because of easiness provide by these junk food companies parents are giving less attention to their children. Mothers have stopped cooking healthy food for there children. These children are facing great danger of health issues. It's time to wake up and FDA and other food authorities must have to give attention to such places that they are following all rules and take great care of healthy food items. speakingabouthealth.com



thewholetruth
thewholetruth

The problem is not table sugar but the problem IS high fructose corn syrup


This poison called High Fructose Corn Syrup is now used in every soda and even in vegetables and fruits. It is highly addictive and used by all food makers today because it creates addictions to the foods which make the food makers richer 

The "TRICK" is to talk about "sugar" ...High Fructose Corn Syrup is different, it is a fake sugar that made people fatter. You will never hear the Food makers talking about High fructose corn syrup because it is a billion dollar secret profit makers that makes people fat 
Here  http://type2diabetesdietplan.blogspot.com/2013/05/cant-lose-weight-how-and-why-food.html