In 17 years, fast food has not changed

The average calorie, sodium and saturated fat content in today’s fast food is as high as it was in 1996, a study says. Researchers also found slight changes in the size of the fast food portion during the study period – 1996 and 2013.

Alice Lichtenstein, of Tufts University in the United States, said: “Restaurants can help consumers reduce portions and refine their meals to reduce the amount of nutrients they eat.

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“This can be done slowly, reducing the amount of sodium, and using meat and low-fat cheese,” Lichtenstein added.

The researchers, however, added that a significant exception was found in the trans fat content.

“The trans fat reduction we saw between 2005 and 2009 seems to be related to the legal effort,” Liechtenstein noted. For the study, researchers analyzed the calorie, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat content of popular menu items served in three U.S. fast-food chains between 1996 and 2013.

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They found that the average calorie, sodium, and saturated fat remained relatively stable, albeit at high levels. Researchers have focused on the four most popular menu items: fries, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and regular cola.

The results were published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

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