The issues surrounding the consumption of fast food have been mentioned by many. The fact remains that for most of us, myself included, fast food remains a much loved part of our lives, both from a point of view of personal indulgence as well as about families spending time together.
Should we avoid fast foods? Yes, of course; there’s no doubt there. Will we be able to do so in a sustainable and consistent manner? I don’t think so. Speaking for myself, I know I will succumb to the lure of my favourite fast food places every so often and assume the case to be the same with many others.
The solution, is to do so while being aware of the attributes of what we’re putting into our bodies and to aim at balancing our indulgences. We have to pay for every indulgence!
One of my favourite fast food places is Burger King, and whenever I visit them, here’s what I order:
- Mutton Whopper
- King Fries
- Pepsi King
You can find nutritional information for the above products on the Burger King India website, which is where I obtained the following numbers.
The meal I’ve mentioned above results in:
What does all of this mean? I’m sure you know the literal meanings, but what are the implications from a personal nutritional point of view?
Let’s start with the calories. That meal delivers about 1400 calories. I need about 2,100 calories each day to maintain my current weight (different for every person). This means I have 700 more calories in my food quota for the day.
Keep in mind that most women of average height and weight need about 1500 calories a day to maintain their weight. So, the meal I’ve mentioned completes your quota if you’re similar.
What can I eat in 700 calories? As always, there is a choice. I can either maximise my food by including different types of foods, such as fruits, vegetables and meats, as in choice #1, or I can indulge myself, as in choice #2.
Choice #1: 726 calories
- Breakfast: 2 apples (64) and 1 fried egg (120)
- Lunch: Burger King as above.
- Dinner: 1 whole, grilled chicken breast (296) accompanied by 2 small roast potatoes (160) and a salad of 10 slices of tomato (20), 2 small portions of French beans (30) and 1 heaped tablespoon of boiled Rajma (36)
Note, that the meals mentioned above are an example of utilising 700 calories, and may not complete an individual’s daily nutritional requirements.
Choice #2: 764 calories just for breakfast + more for Dinner
- Breakfast: 2 aloo parathas (660), 2 teaspoons of butter (104)
- Lunch: Burger King as above
- Dinner: Equally indulgent meal options that will cause the total calories to substantially overshoot the remaining quota without really adding much nutritional value.
As you can see, either we can choose a variety of foods that satisfy and nourish, the first set being superior in my opinion, to the second. The choice is entirely mine.
Carbs and Sugars
The carbs and high sugar content although entirely avoidable from a non-indulgent angle, are alright occasionally for most of us, except diabetics. who need to avoid it altogether.
Sometimes, when we visit Burger King, I’ll order a Mutton Whopper with 2 extra patties plus extra tomatoes and pickles. My daughter eats the burger and I’ll just eat the two mutton patties with tomato and pickles in between. Keeps me happy without the extra carbs.
Fat content is alright for most of our daily needs, unless you’re a small person, in which case, it might be a little much. Depends from person to person, though again, we’re indulging, so enjoy yourself and exercise a little caution during the rest of the day.
This one can be a bit of a problem. There’s 1,600 mg of Sodium in that meal. Sodium is associated with high blood pressure and a daily upper limit of 2,300 mg is recommended for most people. This leaves just about 700 mg. To put that into perspective, one aloo paratha is about 597 mg and two of them as in the example above, are 1194 mg. We haven’t counted the butter or an entire dinner yet, and the Sodium content is already past the recommended amount.
Most fast foods are similar in their high sodium content and extra caution for the rest of day would be a good thing.
There’s no way we can ever label a fast food meal as healthy. We can however keep in mind that we have to pay for our indulgences and that indulgences will happen from time to time. They mustn’t happen every day, as in the case of some people, or we’ll end up gaining weight and a number of other disorders.
Some of us also believe home cooked food cannot cause health problems. I assure you, they can, and do so every day. Caution therefore is not only linked to fast food, but to every thing we choose to eat.
We can choose immediately pay off our debt through daily caution, or pay the debt later, with extortionate amounts of interest. The choice is ours.
All trademarks mentioned belong to their respective owners and are duly acknowledged. The cover picture isn’t from Burger King.