I’ve got plenty of vices. I love beer. I’m big fan of whiskey and I make every excuse (legit or not) to not work out nearly as often as I should. That said, I’ve had one vice that’s proven the most difficult to beat: Fast Food.
Kicking my fast food habit has been more difficult (in some ways at least) than when I quit dipping. Thanks to the folks at KillTheCan.org I’ve got that one under control – 2,766 days today… but who’s counting? What worked for me to quit dip was the accountability that the site provided from other people who were struggling with their addiction.
“But Chewie… I thought this post was about fast food?”
Don’t worry… I’m getting there. See, while KillTheCan.org focuses on quitting dip, the community there has grown so large that several “sub groups” have spawned. They practice the same accountability and “one day at a time” approach that has worked for so many of us who have been successful quitting nicotine. So… 41 days ago I sought out 2 of these groups: Fast Food Quitters and Soda Quitters.
For 41 days now, I’ve not touched the stuff. No fast food and no soda (or pop depending on where you live). As with any addiction, which I fully believe I have to fast food, the first couple of days were the toughest, but as I move forward it’s becoming less and less difficult to stay away from that garbage.
And the other night, I had another experience that really opened my eyes to just how bad this stuff is for me.
McDonald’s “Nutrition” Information Front And Center
The wife is taking a photography class on Wednesday nights from like 6:30 – 10:30 or so. This means that ol SuperDad is on his own for dinner with the boys. Every week I take them some place “special” of their choosing (The Winking Lizard, The Annex, Chick Filet, etc.) And while those places aren’t the greatest from health perspective I’ve been really good at trying to make better choices there.
Anyhow, this week, they wanted to go to McDonald’s. Not so much for the food, but rather for the playground that this one particular location had. Anyhow, in we marched and I got through dinner without so much as a bite of one of their cheeseburgers or a sip of their pop. I went with a “Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken” and a water. Still not the greatest option, but I don’t consider this a “cave” by any stretch for my consecutive days streak.
I can honestly say I didn’t really miss it at all even being there in the building.
One thing I noticed is that McDonald’s is now putting their “nutrition” information more front and center on their meals. I took note of my previous preferred meal and what it would have “cost” me from a caloric perspective:
A Look At The Calories
- Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese: 750 calories
- Large Fries: 500 calories
- 10 Piece Nugget: 470 calories
- TOTAL: 1,720 calories
Compare this to what I actually had:
- Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken: 390 calories
That’s a difference of 1,330 calories in ONE MEAL!
To put that meal into perspective, the recommended daily calories for a male 31-50 years of age is 2,200 calories.
Even if you throw in the full Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing (which I didn’t) that takes my meal to 570 calories which is STILL a delta of 1,150 calories.
And that doesn’t even begin to look at fat, etc…
A Look At The Fat
- Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese: 43 grams
- Large Fries: 25 grams
- 10 Piece Nugget: 30 grams
- TOTAL: 98 grams
- Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken: 22 grams
- Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing: 15 grams
- TOTAL: 37 grams
For a difference of 61 grams of fat in one meal.
And this is where it really gets bad. The the recommended daily allowable fat intake for adults and children over the age of 4 is… 65. This means that my former self, at one meal, would consume nearly TWICE the recommended fat. Fuck that.
A Look At The Sodium
- Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese: 1,280 milligrams
- Large Fries: 350 milligrams
- 10 Piece Nugget: 900 milligrams
- TOTAL: 2,530 milligrams
- Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken: 870 milligrams
- Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing: 530 milligrams
- TOTAL: 1,400 milligrams
That’s a difference of 1,130 milligrams of sodium in one meal.
Recommended dietary allowance of sodium is 1,500 milligrams with a “tolerable upper intake level” of 2,300. My former self’s ONE MEAL takes me out of the “upper tolerable” level for the day.
A Look At The Carbs
If you’re like most of America you’ve heard of or tried the Atkin’s Diet. I know I have. And I’d had success. Atkin’s dieters care about one thing over all others: carbohydrates. And while this meal definitely wouldn’t be Atkin’s friendly, I wanted to take a look at the carbs as well.
- Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese: 42 grams
- Large Fries: 63 grams
- 10 Piece Nugget: 30 grams
- TOTAL: 135 grams
- Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken: 24 grams
- Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing: 9 grams
- TOTAL: 33 grams
That’s a difference of 102 grams of carbohydrates in ONE MEAL!
According to this carbohydrate calculator, I should have 345 grams of carbs per day. Personally I think that’s way too high as they tend to make me feel like garbage. If you’re an Atkin’s dieter, the first phase of the diet allows for no more than 20 per day (!) and the ongoing phases allow for no more than 45. Even in the ongoing phases, my former meal would be 3 days worth.
Do Some Googling
I’m not a doctor, and I’m not putting this out there to pretend I know more about nutrition than anyone, nor do I have an agenda. Honestly, I did the research for me. Seeing it on virtual paper like this really hits home. I’m guessing it will for some others as well. I’m sure most folks out there already knew most of this, and if I’m being honest with myself so did I. But I can honestly say that I never truly looked and just how bad this stuff is for me. 41 days today… I can’t imagine ever going back.