Fast Food After a Heart Attack? Bring It On!

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cheeseburgerIt's official. We are a fast food nation. On any given day, almost a quarter of U.S. adults visit a fast food restaurant. Surprised? I'm not.

To be honest, I wasn't even fazed when I read that fast food habits don't always disappear after a heart attack. In a recent study, 884 of the 2,500 patients were eating fast food a month before their heart attack. Six months later, 503 were still eating fast food.

Of course they were. I mean, why would any functioning member of society stop eating fast food after a heart attack? That's absurd.

OK, so let me clarify a bit here. By definition, fast food is just that: fast. When most Americans hear the words "fast food," they think of the big kahunas -- you know, the Whoppers and McGiants. The phrase fast food has become synonymous with calories and grease. And it's a reputation that isn't exactly easy to shake.

But the truth of the matter is that there are loads of healthy fast food options that many of us go to on a weekly basis, some of which we don't categorize as "fast food" because of what they have to offer.

Have you been to Dunkin' Donuts lately? I have. Almost every morning, in fact, when I order a medium vanilla coffee with skim milk and the occasional egg white and turkey sausage wrap for under 200 total calories. Did you see what I did there? I ordered fast food. And that's just for starters, my friends. Whoops, I forgot to bring my lunch today. So you know what that means? It's about time for my regular from Subway, a 6-inch veggie on wheat, for less than 300 calories.

No one has time to plan for everything. And that's why avoiding fast food restaurants is impossible, even after a heart attack. Rather than rushing to the burger and fries, you have to think about what you're about to put in your body. How am I going to feel after this? Is this worth that feeling?  

Fast food CAN be a part of your day-to-day without piling on the pounds. Loads of quick service restaurants including Chipotle, Panera Bread, Wendy's, and even McDonald's have smart options that are made with your health in mind. What's important is that you are also smart, and make conscious decisions about your daily caloric intake.

So when you ask me if I would keep up with my "fast food" habits if I had a heart attack, my answer is of course. I'd be silly not to do it.

Do you eat fast food on a regular basis?


Image via emerson12/Flickr

bad habits, food