It’s no sin to opt for take out once in a while, but if your diet has fallen into a poor-nutrient pattern then one way to motivate change is to better understand what we’re putting in our bodies. Here are a few things to consider when you next feel like reaching for the cheaper, fast food alternative.
1. It’s addictive.
One study found that fast food is ‘a potentially addictive substance that is most likely to create dependence in vulnerable populations’. If you’re consuming fast food once a week or more, you could be more dependent on it than you think, and find it harder to make healthier eating choices.
2. It’s affecting your kids.
Childhood and adolescent obesity rates have skyrocketed in the past three decades. Research shows a clear link between the advertisement of non-nutritious foods and the rate of childhood obesity, which means your kids are vulnerable to advertising that pushes them into making poor food choices. During these years you’re the gatekeeper to their plate. You have the power to make better choices for them.
3. Even ‘healthy’ fast food isn’t a healthy choice.
Supermarkets and fast food chains are falling over themselves to accommodate increased consumer demand for healthier options, which is great. But these foods are often heavily processed meaning they’re pre-cooked, frozen, chopped and re-heated in order to last longer on shelves.
While lightly processed foods such as frozen, unseasoned veggies can be better for you than fresh in some instances, processed foods are often hiding fats, sugars, salts and chemical stabilisers to keep them edible for longer.
4. It’s costing you more long-term.
Besides the individual health risks and poorer quality of life associated with obesity, there are huge direct and indirect economic and societal burdens. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the annual cost of obesity – including heathcare system costs, loss of productivity and carers’ costs – was estimated at around $58 billion.
‘Carrying excess weight increases the risk of a variety of health issues,’ says Katherine.
‘It doubles the likelihood of depression, increases the risk of comorbidities associated with obesity and as a result, more visits to hospitals and GPs than a non-obese person, worsening the pressure placed on hospitals.’
Other hidden costs include increased sick days, loss of productivity and reduced performance.
So while it might seem cheaper to grab a pizza on your way home from work, the long-term costs could be astronomical.