Fast Food Makes Up 11 Percent of Your Caloric Intake

02/26/2013

Dietitians agree that fast food should be a once-in-awhile food, but for most Americans, it's more of a once-a-day kind of food. A study just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied 11,000 Americans' daily eating habits and found that the average adult in the U.S. gets 11 percent of their calories from fast food. For a 2,000-calorie diet, that's 220 calories.

The study was conducted between 2007 and 2010, and the results show an improvement since the same survey was held in 2003 to 2006 (back then it was calculated that 13 percent of adults’ caloric intake came from fast food). Photo Credit: Stephen C.W. OungBut if we're eating less fast food, why are our waistlines still expanding?

The survey went into personal questions about demographic and had some interesting conclusions:

  • Young people between the ages of 20-39 are the most likely to get calories from fast food – this population’s average daily caloric intake went up to 15 percent as compared to the general population’s 11 percent.
  • Young black Americans were the most likely group to consume fast food, in particular Wendy’s, Taco Bell and KFC. Their average daily caloric intake from fast food was a whopping 21 percent.
  • While there was no direct correlation between income and amount of calories consumed from fast food, it was discovered that as income rose between the ages of 20-39, the amount of calories consumed from fast food decreased.

As would be expected, there was a direct correlation between both fat and obesity and fast food intake.

What We Can Expect to See

Experts are calling for a greater variety of healthy options in fast food restaurants and requesting better, ‘sexier’ marketing to make these products more appealing.

For example, years ago McDonalds was certainly not selling salads and yogurt parfaits, and even though they're not your healthiest option on a daily basis, they are certainly a better alternative to the traditional Big Mac with a side of fries.

But the greatest issue here is time, convenience and, of course, money. Marketing better options is a great temporary solution, but to see a serious decrease in America’s obesity epidemic, Americans will have to find a healthier alternative to the fast food corporation.

Until that time comes, it looks like we’ll have to hope for a longer menu at the next drive-thru, fully equipped with healthier alternatives to high fat, high-calorie foods.

By: Jen Wolfe

For More on Healthy Eating:

Top 10 Ways to Eat Healthier

Eating Smart

How do you know if you need to eat less salt?


The Discovery Fit and Health team brings you the latest (and most interesting) health news as well as exclusive interviews, video clips, and other juicy tidbits from your favorite shows.
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