Whether you're lovin' it or just havin’ it your way, fast food is an American institution. It’s comfort food on the run. "It tastes good," said Colette Appel of West Hartford. "Everyone likes the french fries."
Pete Lemmo added, "It's quick, easy- with the economic downturn its affordable for everyone."
Affordable, yes. Healthy, not so much.
We know this and yet, when the craving hits, some of us just can't drive away.
"It’s fast and I think it's addicting too. There’s something in there that keeps them coming back for that," said West Hartford resident Irina Sadygov.
According to Eric Schlosser, the author of “Fast Food Nation,” the typical American eats three hamburgers and four orders of fries each week. While some fast food joints offer healthy alternatives, such as salads, these alternatives aren't as healthy as you might think.
A Taco Bell salad contains 850 calories and 52 grams of fat. A small McDonald's fry has 210 calories and 10 grams of fat. A super-sized fry weighs in a whopping 610 calories and 29 grams of fat!
What's healthier? A fried chicken sandwich or hamburger? We asked a few folks on the street.
- "I know its the chicken sandwich," answered Pat Dubois of Farmington.
- "Probably, the chicken sandwich," guessed Colette Appel.
Wrong. The fried chicken sandwich has more fat per ounce than hamburgers. The same goes for fish sandwiches.
Fowler says you can blame a drop in blood sugar for those fast food cravings. She says a hamburger craving can be satisfied by a turkey burger or veggie burger - both of which are a much healthier option.
"They taste just as good, less in fat and saturated fat and are a great source of protein," said Fowler. "A lot of restaurants are leaning toward trans fat free oils, that's another thing to look for as well."
If you have to have fries, then go for a kiddie size to curb your craving and keep your portion size in check. Many restaurants are also offering sweet potato fries, a much healthier option to regular fries.
Another tip, hold the mayo. It can cut your caloric intake on one fast food trip by almost half.
"Everything in moderation. I'm a firm believer of that," said Fowler. That way you really can have it your way.