Fast food now worse for you than it was 30 years ago, reports No-Shit Quarterly

Commercial artist working on McDonald’s billboard, 1973
Photo: Robert Landau (Corbis via Getty Images)

Not really a surprise in this super-sized age, but humbling nonetheless: Science Digest reports that there’s a new study that reveals “fast food is even more unhealthy for you than it was 30 years ago.” Despite some chains’ efforts to add grilled and other healthier items to their menus, the current fast-food lineup has increased in calories, sodium, and portion size. Lead investigator Megan A. McCrory, of the department of health sciences, Sargent College, Boston University, states, “Our study offers some insights on how fast food may be helping to fuel the continuing problem of obesity and related chronic conditions in the United States.”

The study, published in the Journal Of The Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics, analyzed fast-food offerings “at 10 of the most popular U.S. fast-food restaurants in 1986, 1991, and 2016.” Quartz reports that the nutritional analysis showed that in those 30 years, entree size at those chains “increased by 39 grams, 90 calories, and added 13.8 percent more sodium. Side items, such as French fries, saw an increase of about 42 calories and nearly 12 percent more sodium.” But, the study notes, desserts had the largest increase in calories, adding 186 calories on average.

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Some good news? The variety of items available at fast food restaurants has increased significantly, and there were also increases in calcium and iron. But this study only confirms what we likely already suspected: Eating fast food is even less of a healthy dining option than it used to be.

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About the author

Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.