Nutritional knowledge not stopping Americans from eating fast food

LOS ANGELES , August 14, 2013 () – As I write this blog, I’m having a couple slices of pizza from Pizza Hut and some mozzarella sticks.

I know this food is bad for me. I know you won’t find any of these items on the USDA’s recommended list of healthy food choices.

Nonetheless, I’m eating it.

It may sound strange that a person would eat this food with full knowledge of its high fat and calorie content, but I’m not alone in this behavior. According to a recent Gallup poll, 47% of Americans eat fast food at least weekly even though 76% think such food is either “not too good” or “not good at all for you.”

According to the poll, 3% of Americans say they eat fast food every day, while 16% and 28%, respectively, report eating at fast-food restaurants "several times a week" and "once a week." Another 33% say they eat fast food once or twice a month, while only 4% say they never eat at fast-food restaurants. The poll also showed that young adults ages 18-29 eat fast food most often, with 57% of them doing so at least weekly.

Over the years, there’s been a bigger push toward educating the public about the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of fast food. As a result, quick-service chains have made such moves as putting the calorie counts on menus, offering healthier items and even (at least in the case of McDonald’s) limiting the size of their largest combo meals. But if these numbers are any indication, Americans still crave their burgers and fries.

It seems the fast-food business won’t stop booming anytime soon.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for IndustryIntel. He can be reached at

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