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US News Says Fast Food Is Good For You. Kinda.

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A news story on US News suggests that fast food could actually be good for your health, but before you run off to McDonald's and pound a double Filet-O-Fish with fries and a large Coke, super-sized, you should read the fine print.

The article describes a generic "Sharon's" choice to go to Chili's instead of McDonald's because she thought sit-down restaurants were healthier. I could probably end this blog post right there, but in case you don't see the hole ...

"Sharon" pummels a Santa Fe Chicken Salad, dredges her way through her share of spinach and artichoke dip loaded with cheese, and when her daughter isn't looking, helps herself to a few bucket loads of a brownie Sunday. Had Sharon just gone to McDonald's, according to the article, she would have simply ordered a grilled chicken classic sandwich with a small fries and ended up with far fewer fat and calories.

Therefore, making smart decisions at a fast food restaurant is healthier than making poor decisions at Chili's and other sit-down restaurants: not exactly rocket science.

While the story is the helpful in reminding readers that excess calories can lurk in dishes like salads that seem healthy but aren't, and in portion sizes that are out of control, it diminishes the difficulty everyone faces when they walk into any restaurant, sit-down or otherwise. Restaurants make food taste good by adding fat and sugar, and they appeal to our sense of value by offering portions the size of a car battery.

Healthy options exist in many restaurants and all of the restaurants cited in the article offer nutritional information. The only way to be safe is by making educated decisions.

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