McDonald’s is an indulgence that most of us find hard to resist, so we enjoy it from time to time. But with fast-food chains gaining even more popularity during the pandemic, eating at McDonald’s has become an everyday habit for many Americans.
With craveable new menu items and value deals being introduced all the time, it isn’t hard to see why the chain has such an appeal, and why it’s easy to fall into the trap of enjoying its meal combos every day. After all, it’s a familiar, cheap, and delicious option.
But if you’re feeding yourself or your family at McDonald’s every time you need a quick, convenient lunch, we urge you to consider the devastating consequences this could have on your body.
We’re not saying you should never eat at McDonald’s, but it should be an indulgence rather than a daily, or even weekly routine. And here’s why. For more, don’t miss The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now.
Most fast food, like burgers, french fries, and even sodas, are loaded with simple carbohydrates. When your body breaks down a McDonald’s meal, your blood sugar levels spike, and in order to deal with these spikes, insulin is quickly released to help bring the sugar levels down, leading to spikes in insulin itself.
While healthy bodies can handle this from time to time, daily insulin spikes from eating fast food can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. While manageable, diabetes is the 7th most common death in the United States.
Besides the fact that you’re more likely to develop diabetes, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, your heart health will suffer in other ways because of your regular McDonald’s habit. Fast food is full of hidden added sugars, and these amounts are in stark contrast with recommendations by The American Heart Association (AHA).
For example, if you’re starting your day off with McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes, you’ll have eaten your entire day’s worth of sugar and fat before noon. Love a good McFlurry? It’s a sugary monstrosity, equal to consuming seven of the chain’s Apple Pies. And don’t even get us started on soda, an inevitable part of the McDonald’s experience for most.
Another heart killer in fast food? You guessed it, trans fats. Fried, aka “crispy,” stuff at McDonald’s is full of them. And no amount of trans fats is actually recommended as safe, as ingesting them can lead to higher levels of bad cholesterol, lower levels of good cholesterol, and ultimately heart disease.
Most McDonald’s items are notoriously high in calories. You can bet that all of their burgers and sandwiches, combined with a side of french fries and a soda, easily put you well over 1,000 calories. When you compare that to the Food and Drug Administration’s daily calorie recommendations, which are about 2,000 calories for women, and about 2,500 calories for men, you can understand why fast food can quickly lead to weight gain and even obesity.
Not to mention, all those simple carbohydrates and added sugar will cause faster weight gain in your belly area. Belly fat has been shown to be more dangerous to human health than fat in any other part of the body.
You know the secret to McDonald’s addictive food? An overload of sodium. “Many fast-food chains add flavor to their food by piling on the salt, even on so-called healthy menu items,” says nutritionist Toby Amidor. “As such, you could be taking in 75% or more of the recommended daily sodium in just one meal.”
Not only do such high amounts of sodium increase your blood pressure and put you at a significantly higher risk of a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease, but they also have a more immediate effect. Because salt retains water in the body, after eating fast food, you’ll likely feel bloated, puffy, or swollen.
Recent research shows that eating fast food may cause a higher rate of depression, according to Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition NYC. A study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal showed a link between depression and a greater consumption of fast food. Results showed that those who eat the most fast food and commercial baked goods are also more likely to be single, less active, and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil.
According to Healthline, ingredients in junk food could also have a negative impact on your reproductive system. One study showed that fast food is high in phthalates, a group of chemicals which can affect your hormones and in turn your fertility, as well as put your children at higher risk of birth defects.
For more, make sure to read up on the the Unhealthiest Snack Foods, According to Science.