Don’t think twice about whether fast food is ‘healthy’

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A college graduate in Lexington, Virginia, recently decided to eat nothing but Taco Bell for 30 days in a row, an experiment to see if he could get healthier while doing so. As I mentioned WDBJ, An ABC affiliate, this pledge was inspired by a 2016 article that claimed Taco Bell was a “healthy” fast food restaurant.

Fast food can be many things. Maybe CheapAnd the good tasteAnd the It is obviously convenientAnd the sometimes Surprise—But there is one thing that is unhealthy and probably never will be “health.” It was not designed to be this way. And that’s totally fine.

A quick history of fast food

Adam Chandler, author of Drive-Thru Dreams, to me Smithsonian Magazine. Even before that, in the 1920s, White Castle wowed customers with its assembly line operation to roll out quick-service, affordable mini burgers. People were fascinated by how quickly the sliders were made and how consistent the process was. This speaks to fast The main purpose of food: to be fast and convenient.

Chandler notes that there have been many initiatives over the decades to push fast food to change and become “healthier,” but they haven’t worked because the people who ordered it ultimately don’t want it. He adds that many, if not most, people consider fast food a treat or pleasure, which goes against the idea of ​​”good for you” food.

Why fast food shouldn’t be ‘healthy’

The concept of “health food” itself is already a broad term that is assigned – and not assigned – to so many products that its meaning is confusing. We know that Toxic diet culture Basically try to demonize all carbs, fats, sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and a number of other elements of an all-natural diet.

Is there a better example of this than gluten? In recent years, brands have begun to flaunt the fact that their products are gluten-free—even when items never contain gluten as a starter, like corn tortilla chips. However, unless you have celiac disease or are allergic to gluten, it is not a harmful substance, and there is no health-related reason to remove it from your diet. Any claim to the contrary is pure marketing.

Moreover, the revelation that certain foods can be harmful if eaten in large quantities is not new, and it is not limited to fast food. Documentaries like 2004 super size me, which depicted the purported effects of an exclusive McDonald’s diet, carried a message that seemed clear even at the time. Variety can have a positive impact on an individual’s diet thanks to a greater variety of nutrients, but that doesn’t have much of an impact on anyone’s decision to order a cheeseburger, fries, and cola when they’re hungry for these things.

However, even today, people are drawn to the idea of ​​making their way to “healthy” fast food. Which brings us back to a UVA graduate who he is He currently eats a month’s worth of Taco Bell. He plans to make a documentary about the experience this fall — and doesn’t use weight as a measure of health. Instead, he wants to determine if he can maintain his current fitness routine on the All-Taco-Bell Diet.

“I don’t think it’s so much about the type of food or the brand of the food,” he told WDBJ, “but it’s about making healthy, thoughtful choices when we eat.”

The word “healthy” may have a slippery meaning, but it’s best to think of “healthy” and “informed” choices this way: when you choose which food makes you feel full. That’s what really matters, and everything else is just noise.

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