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Myth or Fact: The Salad at Fast Food Joints is the Healthiest

Currently, more and more fast food joints have begun placing salads on their menus, claiming that they are, in fact, trying to offer healthy alternatives. But how healthy are these salads? Are they better than the burgers, chicken, and other items typically described as being bad for your health? Can anything at a fast food restaurant claim to be "diet food?" This article will expose the truth behind salads at fast food restaurants:

The Salad

Salads typically are described as one of the best choices you can make when dieting and visiting a fast food restaurant. And the actual "vegetable" part of the salad is extremely healthy for you. Not only do lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and the other vegetables typically found in salads contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health and optimal growth, they also contain high amounts of fiber, which is slow digesting. This means that it stays in your stomach for a long period of time, preventing hunger pains and helping to keep you feeling fuller, longer.

The Add-Ons

It's the add-ons that are the main culprit in making salads unhealthy. Croutons, for example, seem relatively harmless--they're just dried bread, after all, how bad can they be? But most croutons contain huge amounts of added salt, seasonings, and preservatives guaranteed to make your blood pressure go through the roof, and make you feel huge and bloated. In addition, most croutons contain a high fat content (typically from added butter) which sneaks in fat and calories.

Next, the dressing. Salad dressing contains tons of fat, calories, and added preservatives that result in diet catastrophes. But even light dressing can contain similar amounts of fat and calories. In actuality, it isn't that much healthier than regular dressing.

Finally, the added cheese, chicken, eggs, and other toppings that wouldn't make a salad as delicious may be wrecking havoc on your body and your waistline. These products contain tons of fat, salt, and calories which not only can prevent your weight-loss efforts, but can also lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even some cancers.

The Verdict

The thought that salad at fast food joints is the healthiest option is a myth. When you choose burgers, fries, and milkshakes, you understand what you are eating, and therefore are often more likely to make healthier choices at later meals. Unfortunately, salads contain the same amount of fat, calories, and salt as these "unhealthier" options. But the fat and calories are so well hidden that you do not often realize they are there, and therefore you may overeat at future meals. In order to achieve great health and weight loss, skip the fast food joint altogether. Or if you must go there, consider the Kid's Menu--the portions are often small enough that a meal won't sabotage your weight loss goals.

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