If you ask the average person what they think of when they hear the phrase “fast food,” you’ll probably get one of two answers. Some will see it as an unhealthy option that should be avoided at all costs, while others will see it as a quick and cheap alternative to home-cooked meals that are also packed with calories.
If you’re among those who believe that fast food is a bad choice for your diet, you’re not alone. This perception is driven by several factors, including a general distrust of anything artificial or processed and the celebrity-endorsed health fads that have come and gone over the years. While many people choose to avoid fast food because they feel it isn’t healthy, there are some good reasons why fast food can fit well into your diet on occasion.
What is Fast Food?
The term “fast food” refers to any food that can be prepared and served quickly, usually less than 10 minutes. This can include anything from burgers and fried chicken to sandwiches and salads. Sometimes, even desserts like ice cream or milkshakes are considered as such. While there is no universally agreed-upon definition of what constitutes “fast food,” there are some common features that most people associate with it.
Generally speaking, anything that can be prepared quickly and conveniently tends to be referred to as “fast food,” even if it doesn’t necessarily fall into the category of unhealthy eating.
Nutritional Benefits of Fast Food
While it may be surprising, there are actually some nutritional benefits to be found in most fast food items. There are some exceptions, but most of these items do have some redeeming value when it comes to meeting your daily nutritional needs. These benefits include:
- Protein – Most fast food items contain some amount of protein, which is essential to your health. This macronutrient is responsible for everything from keeping your bones strong to regulating your mood.
- Healthy Fats – There are many high-fat foods available at fast food restaurants. While these fats are typically “bad” fats, they are still good for you in small amounts.
The Importance of Healthy Fats
Any nutritionist or health sites, would say that healthy fats are an essential part of a well-balanced diet, even if you are on a low-carb or low-fat diet.
These fats are necessary for proper brain function and digestion, as well as hormone production.
While many people think of fat as something to be avoided, there are two types of fat that we need to stay healthy, saturated and unsaturated fat.