Eating out has become part of our everyday lifestyle. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I am often asked, "Is fast food healthy?" — to which I reply, "Yes."
Fast-food chains can supply the variety of nutrients that the body needs and even be part of a weight-loss plan — if you choose wisely. It was great seeing this concept conveyed in "Science teacher loses 37 pounds on 3-month McDiet" (Web, Jan. 6). As Iowa science teacher John Cisna found out, fast-food menus offer a variety of options for healthful eating. From egg-white sandwiches and salads to low-fat milk and diet soda, most major fast-food chains feature lower-calorie, lower-fat menu items.
The lesson learned from this experiment is that it's not fast food that's making us fat, it is how much and what we consume. It's also the fact that most of us don't get enough exercise to balance out what we're eating. I encourage my clients who are short on time and want to grab a quick bite at a fast-food restaurant to be mindful of what they are eating. Moderation, not deprivation, is the key to healthful eating. Careful food selection and portion control are important components of a healthful eating plan.
NATALIE A. WEBB
President, Nutrition Network