Great question! We try to encourage people not to think of food as “good” or “bad” because those are not qualities that food can really have (unless you are allergic to it). Instead, try to think of foods on a spectrum of healthiness; some foods are more healthy, some foods are less healthy. Generally speaking, fast food tends to be on the “less healthy” end of the spectrum for a few reasons:
- Fast food is usually higher in sodium and saturated fat (think fries and burgers) and lower in fiber (think fruits and vegetables). Too much sodium and saturated fat can be unhealthy especially for your heart. Fiber, especially from fruits and vegetables, is good for your digestion and has other health benefits.
- Portions tend to be bigger with fast food so you might eat more than you are actually hungry for, because it is sitting in front of you.
- People tend to drink sugar sweetened beverages such as soda, juice, or energy drinks with fast food rather than choosing the healthy alternative of water which they might do at home.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat fast food occasionally, just be aware that eating food prepared at home made from whole food ingredients (i.e. not frozen, from a can, or in a box) is the healthier choice. This way you can control what goes into it, how much you eat, and what you drink with it.