Is Fast Food Making You Slow?

Healthy SnacksIt’s been a long day. You`ve had back to back meetings. You`re running late and you`re stuck in traffic. You`re starving. At this point, the idea of preparing dinner is about as exciting as heading off for a 10km run. You decide to take the main road home and pick up dinner from one of the many fast food take away outlets that you’ll drive past…

Sound familiar?

Fast food has unfortunately become an integral part of our time-strapped lifestyles. It’s cheap, convenient, predictable and…surprise, fast!

Yet fast food can be food terrorism in little cardboard boxes. It’s packed with artery-clogging, heart-attack-causing amounts of kilojoules (kJ), fat and sodium.

And it’s not just the quality but the quantity we eat when eating fast food. The fact is that your fat intake for one fast food meal alone – whatever it is – will usually far exceed your fat allowance for an entire day!

In today’s ‘more is better’ consumer culture, we’re constantly encouraged to supersize. Sure, you may be getting value for money. But you’ll be getting value for waistline as well.

Check this out … 1 slice of margarita pizza contains 616 kJ and 1 teaspoon of fat. Upsize that to a triple decker pizza and one slice now contains 1738 kJ and 3 teaspoons of fat. So one slice of the latter is what an entire light meal should provide!


Considering that one large movie combo or a burger, chips and cold drink combo contains almost 6500 kJ, it becomes clear that consuming a surplus of kilojoules is easier than we might think.
‘Can’t I just burn the surplus off at the gym?’ I hear you ask…
Not really, is the (unfortunate) answer. Most of us expend about 1000 kJ for every 1 hour of moderate exercise. You would probably need to run a half marathon to ‘burn off’ that combo you had last night. Moral of the story? Prevention and planning is definitely far easier than cure.
Here are some tips to help you eat less kilojoules from foods that give you energy:
  • Become an energy guru – read labels and be aware of how much energy is in the servings, snacks or beverages that you eat and drink.
  • If you want to lose weight, aim for a daily intake of 6500 kJ (women)  or 8500kJ (men).
  • Keep in mind that a snack should provide 500 kJ and a meal about 1500-2000 kJ.
  • Fill your plate up with colour from vegetables and salads as these are the most nutritious yet lowest in kilojoule foods.
  • Choose higher fibre, slower releasing carbohydrates to help you stay fuller for longer and manage your appetite (
  • First things first, eat mindfully. Chew each mouthful well. It takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to let your appetite centre know that you’ve had enough to eat.

It’s all about moderation…having the occasional fast food type meal is okay. It’s when you’re on a first name basis with the local drive through checkout lady that it’s time to get back to those wholesome, home-cooked meals.

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