Fast Food After a Heart Attack? Bring It On!


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


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Fallaya Fallaya

Is it known whether or not the heart attack was caused by unhealthy eating habits?  My mom had a heart attack and she didn't eat much fast food...her heart attack was caused in part by stress and smoking. 



Peajewel Peajewel

I do not really eat it any more.  I did grow up on it and I ate a lot when I first moved out of my parents house.  However, I quit going once I realized how awful it really was.  Then I made the rule for my family that unless we eat it there, we cannot get it and they don't seem to want to go there anymore. 

frysh... fryshannon34

Yes I do but I am trying to cut it out

Ashley Minuk

Many people believe it's the calories in fast food that make it unhealthy. In reality, it's the sodium. You can get burgers and sandwiches from fast food restaurants that are relatively low in calories and saturated fat, but the salt content is often outrageous. You can easily eat a day's worth of recommended sodium intake in one sitting, even when you believe you are making the "healthy" choice based on calories. Good call on the veggie sub!

ethan... ethans_momma06

At different stages in my life, I have unfortunately. I haven't had ANY in a few months though, which I am extremely happy about.

momof... momoflilangel

we eat it a couple times a month. All things in moderation.

bwill626 bwill626

I don't eat fast food at all. Saying it is "impossible" to avoid fast food is ridiculous.

nonmember avatar Christine

We don't eat it on a regular basis, which is why when I decided to stop at McDonald's last night with my daughter without telling her she was so happy! She got her Happy Meal, her toy (a fairy Barbie), and time to play on the indoor play equipment. I sat there and enjoyed my food and watched her play. We do this maybe 3 or 4 times a year and it is always really special. I have to say I do eat fast food more than 3 or 4 times a year (my mom and I get fast food together), but the specialness of going with my daughter is saved for a few times a year.

sodapple sodapple

We try or best not to.

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