Fast Food Dieting

A recent article in the New York Times asks, “Can fast food help you lose weight?” I applaud the restaurant industry for offering healthier food choices. But for the consumer, it’s buyer beware. Of course fast food can help you lose weight–if you take in fewer calories than you expend. Any change you make in your eating that reduces caloric intake will lead to weight loss. But the moment you return to your previous way of eating, you gain the weight right back. There is no sense in making changes in your eating that you can’t keep up for life.

Think of it this way: Let’s say you cut your calories to 1800 a day, lose weight, and then plateau for a period of time. The moment you start eating 1900 calories a day is the moment you start to gain weight back.

Short-term changes in eating only lead to short-term changes in weight.



  1. I ate more fast food in my teens and twenties than in my thirties and forties. I think after a while you just realize you can do better at home – make nicer meals, spend less, eat healthier. I used to read a lot of fitness magazines and they were good about telling you how to make better fast food choices and pointed out the problems with this food. Now I’m more interested in organic food and less processed foods so fast food has lost the appeal it used to have. Too salty, no fiber, too much fat, etc.

    I’ve lost 13 pounds since Jan 2009, and my my favorite fast food meal is Miami Subs grilled chicken pita.

  2. Ever since I saw the movie Food, Inc. which showed how the chickens and cattle that wind up in fast food were treated, I’ve had little desire to eat at any fast food place.

  3. I think the reason fast food diets work for some people is that the food is portion controlled as well as convenient. You can buy the food in many locations and you know the calories in advance (assuming you can trust the restaurant to prepare it properly, which is a crapshoot, in my opinion). There’s something appealing about being able to say, “I’ll eat this taco, it’s x number of calories, and that’s my meal.”

    I don’t include fast food in my diet because I find it less satisfying than freshly prepared foods. I also find that some of the ingredients make my cravings worse. In a pinch, I would get a salad with turkey instead of a sandwich at a place like Subway.

  4. “Any change you make in your eating that reduces caloric intake will lead to weight loss. ”


    I’m assuming *none* of your clients are taking antidepressants or other medications with weight-gaining side-effects?

  5. Im
    Last summer a Ear Nose and Throat doctor put me on predisone for two weeks, and I gained two pounds. I wasn’t happy about that, either. I understand what you’re saying and sympathise with you. it’s hard enough to diet, let alone do it when there are more obstacles and problems to solve first.

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