Understanding fast food effects on health is an important part of diabetic living. Learn about the relationship between fast food, obesity and diabetes, and how an occasional fast food meal can fit in your diabetic diet guidelines.
Fast Food Concerns and Diabetic Diet Guidelines
For diabetics, controlling blood sugar levels and weight are essential for maintaining good health. Even though fast food can be delicious and addictive, blood sugar and general health may suffer from fast food effects.
When using a diabetic meal planner, consider these basic facts about fast foods:
- An average fast food meal can contain 1,000 calories or more, as well as more carbohydrates and fat than your diet permits in an entire day.
- When eaten regularly, fast food effects can contribute to elevated blood sugar, obesity and diabetes complications.
Even if you don’t have diabetes, regular fast food consumption can cause weight gain and increase your risk of diabetes. A 15-year study of people who ate at fast food restaurants more than twice a week found that they gained an extra 10 pounds and had twice the increase of insulin resistance than those who ate these foods less than once a week.
Moderation for Diabetic Living
Luckily, you can enjoy your favorite fast food, while still sticking to your diabetic diet guidelines. Moderation is the key to maintaining your health without having to give up a specific food you love. If you want to enjoy fast foods, follow these tips for your diabetic meal planner:
- Examine nutritional and calorie content for fast food menus to make the wisest choices.
- If you have a fast food meal, try to choose the healthiest foods you can for all your other meals that day.
- Try to only enjoy fast foods occasionally.
- Watch out for descriptions such as “biggie-sized, giant, jumbo or super-sized.” These large portions have even more calories, carbs, fat and salt than their regular-sized counterparts. Opt for a regular or junior portion instead.
If the portion you order is larger than what is allowed on your diabetic exchange diet, which it probably will be, eat just what you are allowed and share the rest with a friend or take it home for later.
Healthier Choices for Diabetic Living
Not all fast food is equal. When browsing fast food menus, consider the following in order to stay consistent with your diabetic meal planner:
- Avoid low-fat foods that are high in sugar.
- Enjoy the salad bar, but avoid high-fat dressings and cheeses, bacon bits and croutons.
- Grilled or broiled meats are healthier than fried or breaded meats. Avoid rich sauces and mayonnaise, and substitute mustard, lettuce or tomatoes for flavor.
- Pizza can be one of the best fast food choices. Limit yourself to one or two slices, and look for thin crust with vegetable toppings.
- Substitute salad with low-fat dressing for fries or onion rings.
Free Articles. (2009). Fast-food and diabetes. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from http://www.articlesbase.com/food-and-beverage-articles/fastfood-and-diabetes-1357269.html.
National Institutes of Health. (2004). Eating at fast-food restaurants more than twice per week is associated with more weight gain and insulin resistance in otherwise healthy young adults. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/dec2004/nhlbi-30.htm.