People are always asking: “Are fast food salads good for you?” Listen, there is a reason that this question always comes up. Rest assured that the little voice in your head is in fact, correct.
Let’s Explore The Fast Food Salad
Fast Food Vegetables
A great author named Michael Pollan once said “cheap food is an illusion. The real cost of the food is paid somewhere.” The single best illustration of this concept can be found in the fast food industry. In fact, the entire concept of fast food is based on standardized mass production to drive costs as low as possible.
The vast majority of today’s cost cutting measures have a tendency to denature the end product. Things like over-planting fields, shipping foods from far and wide, use of synthetic chemicals, genetic engineering and other practices inflate yield, while making food last for ridiculous amounts of time. Each of these practices drive costs down, but have also been shown to degrade the nutritional value of the food.
Just look at the fast food salad. The ingredients are usually very light in color when compared to quality, organic counterparts. Color is a good indicator of nutritional value, which is why fast food restaurants have been known to dye their food. The vegetables found in a fast food salad are usually more firm or crunchy, implying that they were removed from the plant before they were ripe. Finally, consider all of the synthetic chemical residues that you can’t even see or taste.
Fast Food Chicken
As far as meat goes, prevention.com recently made the point that you might as well skip the chicken breast and order a burger with side salad instead. The reason is that the McDonald’s “Premium” Chicken breast contains 890 mg of sodium where the burger contains 520 mg. They use excessive sodium in an attempt to give their chicken flavor. This doesn’t even account for the low quality feed used to raise the chicken or the antibiotics and hormones it was given. FYI, the burger has little difference in this regard.
Fast Food Dressing
Finally we have the dressing. Fast food salad dressing comes in two varieties, bad and worse. The difference between fast food salad dressings and cheap grocery store varieties is negligible, however it is pretty common knowledge that they are not good for you. Quick note: The “diet”, “low fat” or “lite” dressings may actually be worse than the standard varieties. In fact, we avoid them at all costs.
To Michael Pollan’s point, you are paying less for significantly less nutritional value and more toxins. This leads to poor health, which in turn is the catalyst for missed work days and future medical bills. The moral of this story is pay a little more now or pay big later. Like Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said “Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Fast food chains have officially made salads unhealthy. Nutritionally neutral vegetables covered with unhealthy meat and less healthy dressing, make for a meal that does much more harm than good and will cost you later.