How to stop eating fast food (and how to replace it)

Is fast food very harmful? Then why does everyone eat it? Tasty, fast and attractive food solves the problem of snacks, but there are big problems with its nutritional value. We deal with an endocrinologist and nutritionist, geneticist of the Atlas Medical Center Larisa Bavykina, what is wrong with fast food and how to refuse it without stress.

The era of “fast food” began in America in the XX century. Hamburgers and fries were strange dishes that everyone wanted to try. Fast food (in English it is also called junk food – “garbage food”) got to Russia only in the 90s and quickly became popular. Delicious, fast and inexpensive food in bright packages attracted the attention of adults and children. In the 2000s, the first news began to come that fast food is potentially harmful to health. Today almost everyone knows about it, but the popularity of fast food is only growing. According to experts, in 2019, more than half of the expenses of Russians for catering were spent on fast food.

What’s wrong with fast food

Larisa Bavykina, endocrinologist and dietician, geneticist at Atlas Medical Center:

– Fast-food refers to products that are subject to strong processing. This improves taste and increases shelf life, but has an impact on nutritional value. The most harmful ingredients in fast food:

refined flour. In the production of flour, the grain is processed so that the final product is white, homogeneous and has good baking properties. During processing, the grain loses all vitamins, minerals and fibers. With flour, we only get “empty” calories and a mass of carbohydrates. Refined products do not saturate the body with essential nutrients;

Hydrogenated fats (trans fats). They increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Trans fats are formed by deep frying and contained in margarines, which are used in the production of fast food because of the cheapness;

sugar. According to the recommendations of the American Cardiological Association, the maximum healthy consumption of sugar is 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men. This amount includes any added sugar, whose content is often difficult to estimate in fast food products;

corn syrup. It contains a large amount of fructose in the absence of beneficial substances and can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Corn syrup is also an “empty” calorie. Because of its lower price, it is replaced by standard sugar. The difference from sugar is that fructose from corn syrup is absorbed more quickly and is even more likely to be obese than regular white sugar;

salt. Daily consumption should not exceed 5 g (1 teaspoon), including salt in processed products. If you eat hot dogs with sauce and meat half-finished products every day, your salt intake increases to 13 g per day;

preservatives, flavorings, colorants, emulsifiers and other synthetic additives. The biggest challenge is determining the safe content of preservatives and colorants in food. It is believed that many of these substances have carcinogenic effects. At least, they are not necessary in the diet and do not bring health benefits. Fast food should look beautiful and not spoil, so the use of additives can significantly exceed the safe amount.

What is the danger of constant use of fast food?

Frequent consumption of fast food is accompanied by weight gain and an increase in the amount of abdominal fat, which is associated with metabolic disorders, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The self-regulation of insulin and glucose is disturbed, inflammation is formed in the body and oxidative stress occurs. The use of fast food also increases the risk of cancer, including breast cancer.

How to stop eating fast food

bypass the food courts of shopping malls. Usually, there is a tempting smell of fried fast food, so there is a risk to move away from the plan and eat a couple of hamburgers;

do not miss the main meals – this will reduce the number of spontaneous snacks;

find like-minded people and do not agree to eat fast food for company;

follow the principle of “healthy plate”. Mentally divide your meal into four equal parts. Two quarters should be occupied by vegetables and fruits, a quarter by complete proteins of plant and/or animal origin, a quarter by complex carbohydrates from whole grains, wholemeal bread or bread and pasta;

plan in advance what you will eat and where. For example, if there is nothing near your office but a fast food restaurant, take food from home or order a delivery;

get used to snacking on nuts, fruits, or vegetables with yogurt;

enjoy your meal. Canadian food guidelines focus on awareness when you eat. Professionals believe that the place where we eat, the company, the time we eat, and the reason for eating are equally important. Don’t eat on the run – sit down, put your phone down and enjoy your lunch without being distracted by external stimuli.

What to replace the fast food

Baked sweet potato

Sticks of crispy sweet potatoes – a useful alternative to fries.


Batt 1 pcs.

Olive oil 2 st. l.

Sauce (soy) 1 tsp.

Salt 1 pinch

Pepper 1 pinch

Spices (spicy herbs) 1 pinch

Preparation process

Wash the batate, peel it and cut it into sticks about 10 cm long and 1 cm wide.

Make a tray with baking paper.

Place the batter on the baking tray, spray with oil and soy sauce, sprinkle with salt and spices.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until it is ready.

Classic burger

Nothing extra, just brioche, beef cutlet, ketchup, salad, tomato, pickled cucumber and cheddar cheese – in the most classical burger by Burger & Pizzetta’s chef Bili Shabani.


Bun (brioche) 1 pcs.

Beef (minced meat) 120–150 г

Cheese (cheddar) 1 slice

Tomatoes (pink) 45 г

Cucumber (pickled) 20 г

Salad (Romano) 5 г

Sauce (tomato ketchup classic) 30 г

Preparation process

Cut the bun in half and heat it in a butter-free toaster or frying pan to fry the inner surface.

Make a minced beef cutlet (don’t forget to salt and pepper). The thickness of the cutlet is about 2 cm.

Fry the cutlet on both sides of the grill for 2-4 minutes – depending on the desired degree of frying.

Before removing the cutlet from the pan, put a slice of cheese on it so that it melts a little.

Lubricate both parts of the bun with ketchup.

On the bottom half of the bun put the cutlet with cheese, sliced tomatoes (2-3 slices depending on the size of the tomato), then sliced marinated cucumbers and a leaf of salad. Cover with the top bun. Here we go!

Useful chocolate chipcake

An unusual recipe for a milk cocktail based on yogurt and vegetable milk.


Yogurt (Greek) 180 г

Almond milk (with vanilla) 120 ml

Cocoa (powder) 2 st. l.

Syrup (topinambura) 1 st. l.

Ice (dice) 1 glass

Preparation process

Mix all the ingredients in a blender at high speed to a homogeneous consistency.