• 11Feb
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    Fast Food Part 1: an alternative look at why it’s bad for you and your diet

    Most people think that consuming fast food is bad because it is usually associated with being friend, somewhat unnatural or not as clean as cooking a meal with fresh ingredients. And you know what, that’s usually correct!


    Today we thought we’d take a different look at why we think fast food is bad for you and your diet, and unfortunately we’ll pick on a few of the major restaurant chains; McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).


    It’s no secret that McDonalds and KFC have in recent times been regarded as possibly some of the worst food you could eat, especially when trying to control your weight. Apart from tasting like plastic, McDonalds have attempted over the years to shake of the stigma by introducing healthy options to its menu, like its salads and wraps among other items. This stigma doesn’t appear to be a concern for KFC, whose new menu items seemingly appear to top the charts in terms of saturated fat content, kilojoules and calorie counts.


    While people will continue to use the excuses of being ‘time poor’ and ‘because it’s convenient’ in order to get their fast food fix, the following should be an eye opener for those that don’t mind indulging in the odd burger from McDonalds or that extra piece of chicken from KFC.


    To set out the parameters, we’re looking at the daily average kilojoules intake and calorie intake (where possible) for men and women, aged between 31-50. Note that we did say ‘average’ so this is not representative of anyone person in particular, but works for our demonstration on why this food is bad for you.


    The data we’re using for the kilojoules average is from The Australian Government website for the Department of Health and Ageing. There is perhaps better sources, though might be subjective, so we’ve gone for a source that wouldn’t (shouldn’t) lie!


    The estimated range of kilojoules per day for males to maintain a healthy weight in the 31-50 age range is 8,900-15,800. For women of the same age range it is 7,300-12,500.


    You’d be wondering to yourself these are quite big ranges? Yes they are, which is obviously the range from sedentary (i.e. very little exercise) at its lowest, though to highly active at its highest. For example, if you train 5 days a week, you’ll probably require somewhere in the order of the top ends of those numbers to maintain a healthy weight.


    For the recommended calorie intake, we couldn’t find another Government source so we’ve chosen to go with the top result in Google for the keywords “average calorie intake”, which lead us to the Vital Health Zone website. They have a calculator on their website where you enter your height, weight and age and it provides a guide on the average calorie intake for ‘resting’ (i.e. for those that do very little exercise).


    We threw some figures in to the calculator to give us a starting point. For men, we entered height: 175cm, weight: 90kgs and an age of 35. We were given as calories require figure of 1,936 calories. For women, we changed the height to 160cm, weight 80kgs and an age of 35 and we’re given 1,531 calories.


    These figures might seem a bit low, but remember these are for inactive people, not those that exercise regularly. If you were to calculate this for yourself, you would need to take into account how many calories you’re burning during exercise and adjust accordingly.


    So, we’ve set the parameters. Now to the test cases.


    These test cases are pretty simple. We’re taking the kilojoules and calorie intakes above, with the figures from popular meals from the restaurants listed above (McDonalds and KFC) and comparing these to someone who requires the lowest amount of kilojoules per day (i.e. those that don’t exercise) and an average calorie consumption based on the figures and calculations above.


    Over the next two weeks, we’ll cover of McDonalds first, the KFC – it will be interesting to see the results.