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Fast food inconvenient for diets

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Fast food is often the convenient solution overworked and high-stressed people turn to for a meal during, or at the end, of a busy day. When you take into account all the immediate effects and health implications that a chronic fast-food diet entails, you will find it is not convenient at all.

Fast-food meals are both low in nutrition and high in calories, resulting in a dangerous cascade of metabolic effects that undermine the body’s natural mechanisms of satiety and fat storage, among other things. Because fast food has a low nutrient content and is low on bulk, you will never get the feeling of fullness, or if you do, it won’t last long, leading you to eat your way toward a caloric surplus — in other words, weight gain.

A regular fast-food diet also trains the body to lose more water than normal (due to excess sodium), retain more fat (due to excess calories), and decrease available energy output (due to low nutrients) available for work.

"Work" refers to anything from brain agility to the ability to hike Diamond Head.

The bottom line is, if you want to lose weight or keep weight off, avoid fast food diligently. If you cannot give it up, then use it as a reward, not a meal. Strategies to employ are:

» Take time on Sunday night to pack a plethora of tasty healthy snacks easily tossed in a bag for the long workday. Fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots and celery are excellent, along with various nuts and granola. The idea is to choose foods high in nutrients and fiber. Too much trouble? Throw a Clif bar into the bag. These are great energy bars.

» Plan meals a week in advance and shop accordingly. On the same Sunday you prepare your snacks, prepare the meals you want to take to work. Cooking two to three dishes that you portion out into separate containers will save you time during the week when you’re busiest.

If you’re not accustomed to packing meals, the task will seem onerous. Treat it as a project and establish it as a goal.

Then keep trying. Eventually, the difficulty of the task will shrink. It’s a small price to pay for good health.

Reggie Palma is an exercise physiologist, has been a personal trainer for 12 years and has a fourth-degree black belt in the Filipino martial art of kali. He can be reached at or 392-2314.

Note: Tips based on a person who wants to lose 30 pounds, leads a sedentary lifestyle, has little exercise experience and is a yo-yo dieter. This person also has a full-time job that imposes time limitations. Consult a physician before starting any diet or fitness regimen.<p>

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