Bigger Than Biceps: Choose health over fast food

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McDonald's, Taco Bell, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Wendy's. Depending on where you're from, your fast food options may differ. I'd take Chick-Fil-A over KFC any day. It's 2016, so we all know that fast food is bad for us, but we still eat it. I'll confess I had Taco Bell twice in one week at the beginning of the month and the other night I had a McChicken. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

The benefits: It's cheap and convenient.

The disadvantages, short and long-term: nausea, dehydration, doesn't help your blood sugar, high cholesterol, weight gain, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.

Fast food is full of saturated fat, sodium, modified food starches, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hydrogenated oils, too many calories and enriched bleached wheat flour. Food should not be prepared fast unless it's cereal.

Pizza, hotdogs and breakfast sandwiches that sit at gas stations all day long are not things that should be consumed, at least not on a daily basis. In short, they lack nutrition and most of the ingredients are cheap.

Ann Pietrangelo and Elea Carey reflected on the effects fast food has on each part of the body. The article appeared on Healthline.com and was medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA. For the digestive and cardiovascular systems, consuming high levels of carbohydrates from fast foods and drinks, it causes the blood sugar to spike and alter the insulin response. All that salt on the ever-so-popular McDonald's fries will leave you feeling bloated and puffy with high blood pressures and other factors that contribute to heart disease.

While indulging once in awhile won't hurt, it might help to be informed on what a meal under $10 can get you. Much of fast food is highly processed. I won't eat Mexican food unless I can get a Mexican beer with it and hear sizzling of chicken from the kitchen. Taco Bell, for example, sells a bean burrito with GMOs, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone), artificial preservatives, and other additives. GMOs are linked to newly discovered diseases and TBHQ is a fat preservative to prolong shelf life, but it's also linked to asthma, dermatitis, and hyperactivity as well as for stabilizing certain explosive compounds and to make varnishes, lacquers and resins. If I really wanted to add some lacquer preservative, I would go to the hardware store myself.

There's a real satisfaction understanding what simple ingredients are. By buying fast food, there's a larger picture than the price and convenience. You choose non-nutritious food that contributes to diseases, and put money in the pocket of big chain industry owners who could care less about the health of the population its serving.

I'm a fan of Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle and small-town cafe's and family restaurants that utilize local produce or at least fresh ingredients that I can identify. Diseases and health problems don't just choose to take your life one day, it accrues residency over time. Choose wisely.

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-490-6471


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