Cardiologists on the fast food side say you should never order again because it’s so bad for your heart

Along with various other factors like your activity level and blood pressure, your diet plays a central role in your cardiovascular health. While cooking for yourself at home using whole foods rich in nutrients and antioxidants is always the best way to keep your heart healthy, you may not always be able to do it. a fast food restaurant. It probably goes without saying that it’s never the healthiest option, but there are a few menu items in particular that health experts say you should avoid if you care about your heart, including a cheese fries option.

To find out the worst side of fast food you should avoid driving to keep your heart healthy, we spoke to cardiologist Anjali Dutta, MD, FACC of Morristown Medical Center at Atlantic Health System. She told us that you should skip the fried cheese curds due to their high sodium content. Learn more about the health risks associated with this side and find tips for healthy alternatives below!


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fried cheese curds


Fried cheese curds

Nobody thinks “healthy” when they think “fast food”. However, some options are definitely worse than others when it comes to heart health — and when it comes to sides, Dr. Dutta says it doesn’t get much worse than some sneakily deliciously fried cheese curds. “Fried cheese curds are probably the most heart-threatening fast food item,” she says.

This is the case for several reasons, but one of the biggest problems with fried cheese curds (along with many other fast food dishes) is the fact that it’s loaded with salt. “Due to the fact that fast food dishes are generally high in sodium, side dishes high in sodium, such as french fries, should not be eaten frequently,” says Dr. Dutta. The cheese curds, in particular, offer up to 1000mg of sodium in a single order – and that’s just average! Since your recommended daily allowance is 1,500, a large order of cheese curds (which sometimes contain up to 2,100 mg of sodium) could easily put you over the limit. “The high sodium content mixed with extra saturated fat creates a perfect storm of cardiovascular risk,” she warns.

In fact, Dr. Dutta says the cheese curds may well eliminate all fast food dishes in the park when it comes to heart health risks, noting that their sodium content could make them “not just the dish of unhealthiest side dish, but the most unhealthy dish on the whole menu.” Ouch!

So what is all that salt and fat going to do to your heart, after all? Dr. Dutta breaks it down for us: “Continued, excessive sodium intake has been scientifically proven to affect blood pressure,” she says. “When a person has too much sodium in their blood, their blood vessels absorb more water, which can cause high blood pressure. This puts you at risk for cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, stroke, etc.

wendys drive-thru line


What to order instead

Let’s be honest: sometimes you’re going to find yourself in a situation that requires a quick stop at a fast food drive-thru. So if you care about your heart health, what should you order? Hopefully it’s now obvious that you should avoid cheese curds, but Dr. Dutta says there are still options. “Many fast food restaurants actually offer heart-healthy side options,” she says. “One of the most heart-healthy foods a person can eat are ‘leafy green vegetables’ (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.).” As long as you choose a salad with no high fat toppings like a creamy dressing or a ton of bacon, you’ll be making a healthy choice when ordering a salad. And if that’s not an option, a side of fruit is another great way to go.

Of course, fast food will never be the healthiest thing you can eat – and if you’re really craving a salty side, a few cheese curds won’t kill you. However, if you’re trying to keep your heart health in check, remember that making healthy food choices whenever possible is always the best way forward.

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