Although the fresh food movement is picking up momentum through popular documentaries like Fed Up and Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, it wouldn’t have been unrealistic to believe the impact of fast food on our society has lessened. Unfortunately, fast food data in 2016 suggest this isn’t the case.
In fact, according to a segment from NPR, the rate of fast food consumption hasn’t slowed in over 15 years.
How you fuel your body has an enormous impact on your overall health and wellness. And while some chains are slowly beginning to offer healthier options—yes, it’s true: some McDonald’s restaurants are even offering kale—eating out is, by and large, not a healthy choice.
Here are eleven shocking statistics you should know before pulling through that drive-thru:
- Fast food restaurants in America serve 50 million customers per day.
- In 2015, Trans fats, which found in most commercial baked goods and fried foods, were officially deemed by the FDA to cause high cholesterol– the leading cause of heart disease in the U.S.
- According to the American Beverage Association, American consumers on average drink more than 54 gallons of carbonated soft drinks each year, making carbonated soft drinks the most popular beverage in the U.S., almost three times more popular than bottled water, milk or coffee.
- McDonald’s sells an average of 75 hamburgers every second.
- 44 percent of people report eating out at least once a week.
- On any given day, 34 percent of children between ages 2 and 19 consume fast food.
- McDonald’s has more locations (35,000) than the combined total of Burger King (14,000), Wendy’s (6,500), Taco Bell (6,200) and Arby’s (3,400) combined.
- The average American spends an estimated $1,200 on fast food each year.
- Children consume an estimated 12 percent of their calories from fast food.
- 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car.
- More than half of the money Ohio residents spend eating out goes to these restaurants.
With these facts in mind, let’s look at a few ways you can cut back on your own consumption.
3 Ways to Break Your Fast Food Addiction
Slowly cut back
If cutting it out altogether feels like too big of a change, try cutting back on the number of times per month you eat it or reducing the size of your order when you do. Steer clear of options to upsize and embrace healthier options when they’re available. For instance, opt for grilled over fried chicken and pair your meal with a bottle of water instead of a fountain drink.
Add it up
If your health isn’t as big of a motivator as you’d like it to be, check your bank account. Add up the amount of money you spend on eating out and make a commitment to bring that number down each month.
Pack food from home
If you’re going on a road trip, make sure you pack a bag of healthy snacks so you won’t be tempted to pull over for something greasy. Having healthy options ready and available can help you fight off those convenience cravings.
Eating out less is good for your health, good for your waistline, good for your moods and good for your wallet. You’ll be glad you made the change.
Too busy to eat healthy? There’s no such thing. Check out our guide to eating healthy on a busy schedule for more quick tips.