Fast food, the so-called fast food, can hardly be called a classic of healthy eating. Huge burgers dripping with fat, sodas containing daily levels of sugar, deep-fried potatoes and nuggets are unlikely to benefit the body. Margarita Provotorova, a leading expert of the Center for Molecular Diagnostics CMD of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, told Izvestia about what makes fast food harmful and whether it can be made useful.
Dietary fiber deficiency
According to the expert, in the first place, the harm of fast food is associated with a lack of dietary fiber, which is almost completely absent in products made from white flour.
“They are removed during production, and in the end we have a great fluffy white bun. But it is almost completely devoid of fiber. Meanwhile, a person needs at least 30 g of dietary fiber per day. And you can only get them with food. Therefore, eating processed foods devoid of dietary fiber, we risk not gaining a third of the prescribed norm, ”she explained.
Provotorova emphasized that flour dishes made from white flour should not prevail in the daily diet. Instead, it is better to choose products where wholemeal flour is used instead of premium flour. The labels of such products usually indicate “Second grade/coarse flour”, “Wholemeal flour”, “Peeled flour”. For sandwiches, instead of fluffy buns, it is recommended to use whole grain pita, tortilla tortilla.
In addition, the practice of preparing burgers, in which lettuce leaves are used instead of bread, is becoming increasingly popular in catering establishments. This is an excellent solution, because in this way the dish is enriched with fiber, and its calorie content is reduced by almost 30%.
Increased salt content
“The fact that salt is by no means a poison, but a microelement necessary for life, is now known to many. But the devil is always in the details … More precisely, in the amount of this very salt consumed. It should not be more than 5 g per day. Excess sodium, which is part of the nutrient, can lead to disruptions in the cardiovascular system, causing swelling and increased blood pressure, ”the expert warned.
She stressed that industrial products, such as sausages, bacon, sausage, nuggets, french fries, contain a large amount of salt. And when a portion of ketchup or cheese sauce is added to them in the process of eating, then at one meal the amount of salt exceeds the daily allowance.
In addition, cheese, traditionally used in the preparation of burgers, holds the record for salt content. To make the dish more healthy, it is better to use soft types of cheese with a lower salt content – for example, Adyghe.
In addition, it is recommended to choose sauces based on white yogurt and add lemon juice, ground pepper and fruit flavored vinegar to the dish instead of salt. And including a portion of fresh, salt-free vegetables or potassium-rich legumes in your diet will help balance out the excess sodium from salt.
Increased fat content
As you know, fast food is also characterized by high fat content. At the same time, in industrial products used in the preparation of fast food, the fat content is often much higher than in the whole product.
“This is because fats are added to meat or poultry just at the factory. And, unfortunately, they can be of low quality, for example, artificially cured. Of course, this helps to keep food longer, but there is no benefit for the body. Trans fats can lead to problems not only with the gastrointestinal tract, they also contribute to the statistics of heart attacks, strokes, and even “involved” in colon and breast cancer, ”the specialist warned.
According to her, the safe amount of trans fats in the diet is only about 1%, while, according to studies, one can get as much as 40% in one fast food meal. oil changes and use it repeatedly, and this is a direct way to acquire a large dose of trans fats.
It’s also better to opt for whole foods – steak or steak is much healthier than nuggets or sausages. In addition, you should avoid fatty sauces, such as cheese or mayonnaise, in favor of light dressings.
Too much sugar
As Provotorova pointed out, fast food dishes, in addition to an excess of fat and salt, also contain an increased amount of sugar. It’s found in burger buns, sauces, and even sausages or bacon, all of which add empty calories without increasing nutritional value.
In addition, sugary drinks, which are usually washed down with fast food, are harmful. At the same time, not only carbonated drinks, but also fruit juices are dangerous.
“Packed juice is by no means a healthy alternative to fresh produce. The main thing that is in vegetables and fruits is pulp and fiber. And the fragrant sweet liquid also contains only empty calories and does not benefit our health, ”the expert emphasized.
She recommended choosing drinks without added sugar, such as freshly squeezed with pulp or smoothies, as well as water with lemon, lime or orange.
New trends in fast food – just as harmful?
The specialist noted that in matters of nutrition, the most proven must-have for years is the so-called plate of a healthy person. Refined foods like burgers and french fries, when eaten once or twice a month, won’t do much harm and may even help meet your body’s need for calories, fats, and carbohydrates. But it is very problematic to fully fill the need for vitamins, minerals, microelements, fiber through fast food, so the diet must be balanced.
Thus, Provotorova came to the conclusion that even the most modern, innovative fast food cannot replace good nutrition.
“Make it a habit to buy products with minimal processing, limit those made in mass production. This applies to everything – both plant and animal products. Natural sugar-free white yogurt with a handful of berries is healthier than sweet cottage cheese, and whole grain bread is a better choice for a sandwich, as opposed to white toast. And the way to every meal will be fruits and vegetables, even if you eat in a hurry. Help your body be healthy, ”the expert concluded.