Can you bear with my food fascist side for a moment? Then I’d tell you that no one should eat fast food. Not ever. Personally, I say that the likes of McDonalds and Dominos have no place in a healthy diet. Ever.
Before you click away from this blog in anger, let me explain. While cheat meals are a useful and normal part of long-term healthy diets, some things are just not good enough to be considered food. If you really love it, you might not be ready to adopt my draconian perspective, but know that your progress and your body will eventually feel the effects of poor quality nutrition, if you can stretch to call fast food a form of ‘nutrition’.
Somewhere in recent history, we stopped needing to be vigilant and discerning about what we eat. With the advent of food producers and government food standards, we kind of forgot that not everything we can chew on is going to benefit us. And even more difficult to swallow, it seems, is the idea that there is actually a lot of ‘food’ out there that actively harms us. Somehow, we have lost the natural ability to wonder if things are ok to eat and have come to believe that just because it’s available, it must be fine.
My readers will know that I’m always hot on cutting out the sugar, but in this instance I’m referring to even less healthy things. Preservatives, emulsifiers, artificial this-and-that, anti-caking agents, bleach and ammonia. Things that are common in fast food, but have no place in your stomach and will not be able to fuel or build cells that function as nature intended.
After spouting this argument to clients and friends, I know the kinds of reaction it gets. Like, ‘Surely once in a while is fine.’ Or, ‘No one can go without fast food.’ Or, simply the look that says, ‘You’re nuts!’ So I imagine you might be reacting to this in a similar way. But I stand by it and urge you to cut it out of your life.
We’ve become accustomed to ignoring the signals from our bodies and listening instead to the clever advertising and hunger stimulating messages of fast food sellers. Eating without work, preparation or clean up is seductive, but unnatural and unsurprisingly linked to obesity. Once you’ve fallen prey to their product, the unnatural, nasty ingredients inside do their own work providing a hit of energy, fat and sugar (but very scant nutrition) that your body will crave again as the effects subside. Fast food sellers don’t intend to feed you. They intend to get you hooked.
We love to sing the praises of functional fitness, but can forget that firstly we need to lay the groundwork with functional nutrition – stuff that our bodies can use. Stuff that is fuel, not manufactured fillers and preservatives. Your body is the product of what you eat, and in that sense, if you want health, not everything is suited to your consumption.
Call me crazy. Call me extreme. But I don’t and won’t eat fast food. And I’d encourage everyone to think of the long term when it comes to their health, and not just the quick fix fast food has to offer.