Fast-Food Sandwiches Cause Acid Reflux — But Beyond Reflux — They Can Kill
- Nearly 85 million American adults (37%) eat fast food daily with the percentage being higher for young people (44%) and lower for old people (21%). Annually, we consume 50 billion burgers per year. Do the math; that’s 150 burgers for every man, woman and child in America.
- Cheeseburger, fries, and Coke seem to be the National meal, which ticks every risk-factor box for acid reflux. Meanwhile, in this fast-food nation, 42% of adults are obese … and I estimate that that’s about the same number of people who have respiratory reflux (LPR).
- Nutritionally, the average person needs 2,000 calories a day with 65 grams coming from fat, but no more than 20 grams being saturated. But some popular fast-food meals exceed 2,000 calories and 100 grams of fat. In addition to causing reflux, these items increase bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, and contribute to the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
- Highlighted in this post are the worst of the worst fast-food sandwich choices. They are listed by fat and calorie content, and you should always avoid these, because beyond reflux, they are dangerous to your health. Perhaps like cigarettes, some sandwiches should carry FDA-mandated health warnings: WARNING: CONSUMPTION OF THIS SANDWICH IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH AND MAY CONTRIBUTE TO DEATH FROM HEART DISEASE, DIABETES, CANCER, AND OTHER DISEASES
Before discussing fast food, you should know how many calories you need a day. The average person needs 2,000 calories a day with about 65 grams coming from fat, and with less than 20 grams of that being saturated fat. But since you may not be the average person, click here to calculate your daily calorie allowance based on your gender, height, weight, and age.
The point of this post is that most fast food causes reflux; but in addition to causing reflux, these fast-food items cause obesity, increase bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol, and contribute to the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
The reliance of almost half the American population on fast food is a big public health problem as most of the chronic diseases in America today are caused by unhealthy diet and lifestyle … in large measure, it is due to fast food.
How Do Fast-Food Sandwiches Cause Reflux?
Fat makes you fat, so it is no wonder that we are an obese nation. High-fat, deep-fried, fast food is very bad for reflux and it is also bad for your weight and overall health. Indeed, obesity is a big risk factor for reflux, but fast foods add other risks.
By their very portion size, fast-food meals often constitute de facto over-eating, and with increased pressure in the stomach, reflux may occur. Other important reflux-causing risk factors related to fast-food meals include a high-fat load, and in most cases an acidic beverage, like Coke, as well.
High-fat food causes relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the stomach and the esophagus); in addition, the fat-protein combination in a beef burger delays gastric emptying another factor in favor of reflux. Finally, many of these food items contain reflux triggers such as onions and tomatoes. Together, all of these factors cause acid reflux.
Fatty Foods. The number one risk factor for reflux is the fast-food fat load. Just a regular burger on a bun has almost 500 calories and 20 grams of fat, and as the sandwich gets bigger — a Whopper with Cheese & Mayo has 660 calories and a “whopping” 43 grams of fat — let the reflux begin!
High-Fat Foods Don’t Have to be Burgers
The high-fat problem is not just confined to burgers, a 513-calorie Burger King Fish Sandwich contains 28 grams of fat, and an 800-calorie McDonald’s Strawberry Shake contains 23 grams of fat.
Chicken is its own nutritional problem: Even though chicken contains less cholesterol than beef, Americans get more cholesterol from chicken than beef because we eat more chicken. And needless to say, deep-fried in general is bad for reflux, so deep-fried chicken is as bad as beef.
Today, one of the most popular sandwiches in America is the Chick-fil-A Deep-Fried Chicken Sandwich on a Bun (440 calories). Without any sauces, one of these sandwiches delivers only 28 grams of protein but 17 grams of fat; and it is salty, too, containing 1,400 mg. of sodium. The National Academy of Medicine recommends a sodium intake of less than 2,300 mg per day, so one chicken sandwich provides 60% of the daily salt allowance. In addition to being high-calorie and high-fat, fast food is too salty.
Add medium 420-calorie Waffle-Fries with 24 grams of fat and 240 mg. of salt, and you are at a total of 41 grams of fat and 1,840 mg of salt. You are over the top for fat and close to the limit on salt. Maybe you eat two of those relatively small chicken sandwiches? Then the numbers are 58 grams of fat and 1,300 calories.
Fast-food meals often exceed the daily caloric and fat requirements of a human being, and the “winners” for “worst of the worst” sandwiches are shown below.