In 2004, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but fast food for a whole month for the sake of television.
The show was called Super Size Me, and the results were shocking.
Mood swings, hormone imbalances and sexual dysfunction were just some of the problems that arose by the end of the experiment, but in spite of this the world’s appetite for convenience foods continued to grow.
In fact, in recent years, others have performed similar “experiments” to prove that, actually, you CAN lose weight whilst consuming nothing but a Maccy D’s and Burger King.
After all, they provide “healthy” options now…
The general consensus amongst those who have tried and succeeded in this, is that as long as you’re disciplined, choose the “healthier” options and exercise, you’ll not only be fine, but you could drop up to 2 pounds of weight each week!
The facts are facts.
Yes, you can lose weight by eating nothing but a KFC all the time, provided you remain in a calorie deficit whilst chowing down that bucket of wings.
But here’s why this isn’t such a good idea…
Most, if not all, fast foods are absolutely loaded with carbohydrates that have little to no dietary fibre.
When these carbs hit your digestive system, the body breaks down them down and releases glucose into your bloodstream.
From there, your pancreas gets in on the action, pumping out insulin to cope with elevated blood sugar levels – a perfectly normal response.
But, if you’re eating high amounts of low fibre carbohydrates, this can lead to repeated blood sugar spikes, meaning your pancreas has to work harder to reign in your blood sugar levels.
Over time, these spikes increase your risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and weight gain.
On top of that, many of these joints actually ADD even more refined sugar to their meals!
While fats aren’t all bad, there is one sneaky fat that has no goodness in it whatsoever.
And that, folks, is Trans Fat.
This is a manufactured fat, created when food is highly processed. It’s commonly found in fried foods, pizzas, cookies, fast food…
And no amount if it is good for you.
Eating it has been shown to increase bad cholesterol in your blood, whilst lowering good cholesterol, thus upping your chances of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Fat, sugar, sodium – together they make up the holy trinity of fast food, and many fast food joints are absolutely bursting in the latter.
In fact, a recent study showed that about 90% of adults underestimate the amount of sodium in their fast food meals by almost 1,000mg.
You see, one meal can contain up to 1,292 mg of sodium.
So why is this such a big deal?
Well, considering that it’s recommended we eat no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, if one meal doles out roughly 1,200mg – that’s over HALF your recommended daily allowance!
On top that, all that sodium can lead to water retention – making you feel puffy, bloated and sluggish – AND do a number on your CV health.
This is due to the fact that sodium elevates blood pressure and puts an immense stress on your heart and cardiovascular system when taken in high quantities.
Too much sodium increases your risk of heart disease.
Eating fast food regularly has been shown to have a negative impact on your fertility.
This is because fast food can actively interrupt your body’s natural hormone balance due to Phthalates.
Phthalates are an endocrine-disrupting group of chemicals that show up in fast food putting you at risk of obesity, diabetes and infertility, especially in men.
They decrease testosterone levels and affect sperm count.
Of course, women can be affected too, with studies showing that women exposed to Phthalates may take longer to conceive, have more complications during pregnancy and produce smaller babies.
But the buck doesn’t stop there. These Phthalates can affect the fertility health of your offspring…
While many people have tried to prove that you can indeed lose weight whilst eating fast food, it is vital to note that these “experiments” were conducted over a period of, on average, 7 days.
Eating like this for a prolonged period of time has the complete opposite effect.
Morgan Spurlock is proof of that gaining 11.1kg over the course of one month.
You see, fast food is naturally higher in low quality calories and, let’s face it, you always want more so you are more likely to end up taking in more calories than you burn.
As a result, you will put on weight in the long run.
There is a light…
We know the above all seems very scary, but we want to tell you that having an occasional fast food meal isn’t going to do you a button of harm. Eating fast food every day will.
So, if you’re serious about trying to lose weight and get healthy, here are our top tips to help you on your way…
1. Choose whole foods
Whole foods are loaded with important nutrients, tend to be lower in calories and brimming with nutrients your body needs.
2. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated has been shown to actively boost your metabolism by up to 30% helping you burn more calories. Also, drinking 500ml before a meal may even help you feel fuller faster meaning you consume fewer calories.
3. Cut back on refined sugar
Too much refined sugar can increase insulin resistance, up your type 2 diabetes risk and even contribute to heart disease. So read your labels and try to cut back.
4. Get moving
You don’t have to hit the gym every day like The Rock, but even just taking 30minutes to go for a brisk walk will help you burn calories.
It’s one of the most underrated aspects of weight loss that really should be taken more seriously. You see, when you sleep well Leptin is released from your fat cells causing you to feel full and even supress appetite. If you don’t get enough sleep, ghrelin is released, which naturally increases your appetite.
6. Protein up
Protein is highly satiating, so when you eat a high protein diet, you’re more likely to feel fuller for longer and less likely to snack on quick energy foods.
7. Get rid of snacks
You see those biscuits? Bin them and get yourself some fruit instead. Keeping healthy food close to hand means you’re less likely to indulge on high sugar, high fat, high calorie grub.