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Why You Should Avoid Fast Food Restaurants

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

It’s true fast foods have gotten a bad rap. But if you look at the list of foods that Money says you shouldn’t be ordering from fast-food restaurants, it’s not hard to figure out why. From greasy burgers with fake cheese to sugary sweets disguised as a drink, the processed fare you find is far from healthy. On the other hand, the french fries and other “tried-and-true staples” the featured article recommends aren’t healthy, either.

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While it’s commendable that many fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s have made an effort to add healthier fare to their menus, they still can’t deny that much of their foods are fried and full of hidden sugars and other additives. And those are just the ingredients they purposely add to the food. When you consider that usually you’re also getting a side of antibiotics and other foreign substances used to raise the animals or food you’re eating, you’re basically getting a bundle of junk in every bite.

For example, antibiotics are used in poultry farming, usually concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), both as a preventive and therapeutic medicine for treating (or preventing) illnesses. Likewise, beef operations use antibiotics to alter the gut flora in an attempt to improve nutrient utilization, or increase weight gain and the amount of meat per animal.

What this adds up to is that fast food is calorie-dense and loaded with chemical additives that increase your risk for obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. The bottom line is, according to epidemiology professor Tim Spector, even eating a relatively small number of highly processed ingredients is toxic to your gut microbiome, which start to die off just days after eating a fast food heavy diet, suggesting excess calories from fast food may not be the only factor to blame for rising weight.

On top of that, many fast foods contain other ingredients that compromise your health, including an extra serving of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are linked to sexual dysfunction, reduced IQ in children, early or delayed puberty and allergies, to name just a few.

The best choice to make, then, when considering which fast foods to eat, is to avoid fast-food restaurant fare altogether. Eating a diet focused on locally grown, ideally organic, whole foods cooked from scratch will significantly limit your exposure to added sugars and fake ingredients, but also a wide array of other chemicals, including synthetic food additives and pesticides.