About 10 years ago, I wrote a blog post that was very popular. In fact, it was the most popular article I have ever written. It was entitled “Where to Eat Out In Bakersfield.” When I wrote the article, people seemed to want to eat out 2 to 3 times per week and needed direction on what foods qualify as healthy. I did make it clear that the number one choice when it comes to eating healthy is to shop and cook rather than eat out. A couple of years after I wrote the article, I started to notice a trend towards people eating out 4 to 5 days per week. As someone who is trying to help people eat healthy, this concerned me. As I saw the trend towards eating out continue to grow, it was no surprise that the fast food chains were growing. If you support them, they grow. Over the past 10 years, we have all seen fast food turn up in every new shopping center. They are on every corner in
Bakersfield these days.
On a list of cites all across the United States that rank high with fast food choices, Bakersfield is listed as 16th on the list of 18,443. I have spent the last 19 years in Bakersfield trying to combat obesity with my clients, boot campers, team training groups etc., and of course nutrition talks. When I talk nutrition, I am constantly trying to get people to shop for food and cook. My job has become tremendously hard over the past 8 years due to the overwhelming amount of fast food choices offered in this city. I am not alone. I am sure trainers all over Bakersfield are finding it harder to get people to eat at home. It really is the solution. Eating at home is always going to be lower in sodium, saturated fats, sugars, preservatives, etc. Fast Food chains simply do not care about offering actual healthy items. The items that they claim are healthy are no different. They are simply portioned smaller. A small amount of crap food is still crap food.
All fast food is bad for you. I am sorry if you do not like that statement, but it is true. I am not saying that you have to be perfect and never eat it. If 80 percent of your meals come from home and 20 percent of your meals come from eating out, you are good. Most people that I am trying to help have that equation flipped. That is a serious issue. Here is why:
Fast food beef is very low quality. The fat content is usually 30 percent or higher. Animals that are fed hormones, toxins, cheap food and/or antibiotics store these things in their fat. You eat the meat and their fat and you have now ingested those wonderful additives. Ninety-nine percent of low and medium chain food places offer caged chickens. Caged chickens are fed the same and yet have no way of exercising as they would if they were free range. Caged chickens are pumped with additives and hormones. So your nuggets, sandwiches, salads, etc., all come from that source. In terms of your health, this source of meat no matter how it was prepared, is bad for you.
Fast Food chains love to market using keywords like: grilled, flame broiled, skinless, fat free, etc., to sell the public crap. Grilled crap is still crap. Fat free crap is still crap. If a professional athlete is on a commercial selling you on a sandwich that is served out of a gas station, it does not make it healthy. If that same place is using marketing terms like “eat fresh” and sells you processed, nitrate enriched meat, is not fresh and definitely not healthy.
Here is my list exploiting fast food chains to prove why you should avoid them as often as possible. I will not use real names for obvious reasons.
1. The large M place. The father of all fast food.
a. Cheap processed beef and chicken full of hormones and antibiotics
b. Cheap processed buns full of sugar
c. Horrible choices for kids and yet they market heavy to kids as early as 2 years old to get them hooked.
d. Deceiving marketing to all ages. They spend billions to convince you that they are great for families
e. For their influence and blueprint making other fast food chains all most as popular as they are.
f. Super Sizing
2. Rhymes with Taco Hell
a. Their beans and cheeses all carry transfats. Trans Fats are so bad for human consumption that they are illegal to use in other countries and even some states in the U.S.
b. They use cheap quality beef and add fillers and preservatives to stretch their product. This makes it cheaper to sell, but worse on your health
c. Driving prices down to convince the public it is cheaper for you and your family to eat there instead of going to the store and buying food. I hear this all the time.
d. Claiming to be authentic Mexican food when it is not even close
3. The place that uses commercials claiming you will lose weight eating sandwiches. I realize the public can make their own choices. When a company spends millions on a message like that, unfortunately it works. Bakersfield people have shown a great love for this fake health food place and sadly they are not offering weight loss sandwiches. Make no mistake, this fast food sandwich chain should be looked at no different than the others I mentioned.
I could list others here and the pattern would be very similar. The burger places follow you know who. The fake Mexican places follow the one above. The sandwich places follow the foot long king. They are all bad for you. No matter how they market, portion or name their food, it is crap food that should be eaten in moderation. If you eat this type of food 5 days a week, you will be unhealthy. The sodium is sure to cause your blood pressure to go up. Your blood sugar is likely to spike towards conditions like diabetes. Your arteries are sure to clog over time. Your weight is very likely to put you in the obese and often morbid obesity category. I know this all sounds daunting and even cynical. Honestly, I am just being truthful. At the same time, I am optimistic that the demand for actual healthy food is going up. Bakersfield people are not quite there yet. We are headed there. The changes will come sooner across the nation due to the demand for healthy fast food in places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado, etc. Men’s Health puts out annual fittest cities. The ones at the top are creating a demand for good food. This will influence the fast food industry and at some point reach us.
I will write a follow up to this article that will go over other food options that include prepared meals. As most of you know, I have joined with a great team of people to offer healthy prepared meals. We are called Farm Fit Eats.