By Melissa Breyer for Care2.com
How would you like to meet your daily sodium and saturated fat allowance, as well as nearly half of your daily calorie needs, in one quick breakfast eaten on the road? It’s becoming progressively easy these day as food technicians, chefs and market researchers, holed away in corporate fast food “studios,” are busy developing monstrous new breakfast items. Trying to claim as much of the $57 billion fast food breakfast market as they can, the fast food giants are drumming up increasingly cheesy, steak-y, fried chicken-y breakfast dishes that tap into flavor combinations that have proven successful for lunch and dinner items. It’s no longer eggs and English muffins for fast food breakfast…breakfast burger anyone?
What’s most striking about some of these high-calorie items–aside from the unsustainable, industrial, often GMO and synthetic ingredients–is the very high sodium and saturated fat content. According to the USDA, the current recommendation for sodium consumption is less than 2,300 milligrams a day. For saturated fat, the maximum allowance is between 18 grams to 31 grams, depending on your caloric intake needs. (You can calculate your caloric need with this calculator from the Mayo Clinic.) Many of these breakfast items meet or exceed the daily sodium and fat allowances, and provide much more than one-third of your daily caloric needs.
Many fast food restaurants have marketed collectible toys that come along with their child size meals for years. As the fifth largest burger chain in the country, Jack in the Box recently announced that they will be ending this promotion and instead begin a focus healthier menu items for children.
This restaurant and others like it have come under a lot of opposition from activists groups who claim that the use of toys in marketing directly contributes to the major problem of childhood obesity.
These are high claims. However these claims are the fuel behind certain states placing bans on the use of toys in children’s meals. There’s definitely a controversy taking place. There are enough people in the public agreeing that the toys have a negative effect that it could soon be illegal to place an action figure in with a child’s burger and fries.