Producers Kathryn Stewart and Rana Sowdaey, technical operator Chad Bruhaug, and anchor Laura Baziuk sat down for lunch last week.
The studio table was laden with burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and apple pies.
Three of us were eager to chow down, because we love fast food, but Rana wasn’t so sure.
Kathryn: “I’m going to be honest, I was pretty hungry today so I’m stoked about this.”
Chad: “Me too. I’m ready for this. Oh, sweet and sour! Who wants barbecue sauce?”
Rana: “Beef has always been suspicious for me at McDonald’s and I got this cheeseburger. It’s just a flat patty.”
Kathryn: “I will say the cheeseburger is very flat.”
Rana: “It looks like cardboard, it’s just shredded cardboard within this flat meat.”
But few minutes into it, we were all feeling good. Even Rana.
Chad: “I gotta say, this Big Mac is delicious.”
Laura: “I’ve never had a Quarter Pounder before, this is great.”
Kathryn: “I’ve never had an Angus burger before. I’ve always been straight chicken McNuggets, and I can’t help but feel it’s pretty good.”
Rana: “Chicken nuggets, I kind of enjoyed those, the greasy saltiness. This Angus burger? The bacon part is good. It’s got more flavour.”
But after not much longer, the inevitable sunk in…
Chad: “I mean, the initial dopamine rush of the excitement of having McDonald’s is definitely gone. I’m kind of moving into the shame factor right now.”
We felt sluggish, heavy, bloated, tired.
But wait, there’s more, and you’ve probably already heard it.
Health Canada and the Heart and Stroke Foundation says a diet high in salt and unsaturated and trans fat can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke,
Eating a ton of salt makes your heart work harder and hardens your blood vessels over time.
The bad fats lead to deposits building up in your arteries, with less blood flow to your heart and brain.
Remember what happened to Morgan Spurlock when he made the documentary, SuperSize Me?
This was looking like a lot of damage.
But Crystal Higgins, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in Vancouver, says it’s not actually the fast food that’s so bad.
It’s you — it’s how often and how much you choose to eat.
“I know, living with my husband, it’s never one burger. It’s usually two or three or more. So it really depends on the quantity and the type of burgers,” she says.
Higgins says frequent burger eaters are going to have the most problems. One or two burgers once a month is a safer bet.
“They’re just so densely packed with calories and that’s part of the problem, right? You can get a lot of really poor quality calories very, very quickly,” she explains.
Her top tips are to avoid deep fried items and go for the grilled chicken, don’t think you’re safe by just eating a salad – you need to watch the dressing – and skip the combo.
“I mean, there’s that perceived value, but the reality is if you’re getting a pop, whether it’s regular or diet, it’s not very good for you, and the French fries will tack on anywhere from 300 to 600 calories and 20+ grams of fat to your meal,” says Higgins.
We had downed more than 6,600 calories.
Kathryn: “I’m okay, but I’m starting to — I’m looking around at all of you. Chad looks like he’s sweating a lot, Rana looks like she’s getting a little bit pale. Laura looks like she’s about to have a nap.”
Fast food is known to be addictive, but maybe this will teach us to go a little easier next time.