Fast food isn’t better despite healthy menu additions

Fast food menus aren't any healthier than they were a few years ago, according to the study.

Over the past few years, several major fast food chains have been vocal about their plans to add healthier options to their menus. Salads and wraps were to be on par with hamburgers and fries, contributing to the overall improvement in the health of the restaurants‘ customers. A new study suggests, however, that despite the healthy additions to menus, fast food fare as a whole isn’t any better for you than it has been in the past. 

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, evaluated the changes in nutritional value of more than 26,000 menu items at 213 major chains between 2010 and 2011. The average entree contained 670 calories for both years, but sodium levels did decline slightly from 1,515 to 1,500 milligrams. 

“Across the restaurant industry, we see a pattern of one step forward, one step back,” said Helen Wu, co-author of the study, in a press release “Restaurants make changes to their menus regularly, but they may make both healthy and unhealthy changes simultaneously. This study provides objective evidence that overall, we did not see a new wave of healthier entrees come in to replace less healthy ones.”

The National Restaurant Association has already spoken out against this study with the complaint that one-year analysis is not long enough to make any conclusions about whether or not the nutritional value of the food has changed. A 14-year study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, however, reached a similar conclusion to the UC Davis analysis. 

Reducing your caloric and sodium intake could reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke, and improve your overall health. As a result, you could also qualify for lower life insurance rates. For a life insurance quote, visit our website to find out which policies you may qualify for. 

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