The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Junk food-You’re loving it

Illustration by Keisha McDuffie
Illustration by Keisha McDuffie

By Kendra Ludwick/reporter

Illustration by Keisha McDuffie
Illustration by Keisha McDuffie

Let’s face it—fast food is part of a college student’s life. Besides being easy to inhale, it is yummy, cheap and conveniently found on every corner in America. So what is the harm?

A recent report presented to the American Physiological Society by the University of New Hampshire reveals the damage. The study, posted on, lays blame on the intake of junk food and lack of exercise by college students.

Out of the 800 college students surveyed for the study, nearly half of the men and 30 percent of women were overweight. More than 80 percent of all students were not getting enough potassium in their diet; 95 percent of men and 70 percent of women consumed too much sodium, and many did not meet FDA recommended levels for key bone-health nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.

Today’s students have less time, less money and more super-size campaigns to compete with when making a selection at the drive-through window.

“ When I do not have much time, I usually go to Subway or whatever drive-through that is close to school,” TCC student Chad Wooten said. “I try to eat as healthy as I can, but that does not always happen.”

If a student wants to change eating habits, the first recommendation is to see a doctor for a body evaluation, Patricia Marling, NE Campus registered nurse, said.

“ Experts say to work out at least 30 minutes a day,” she said. “If weight loss is the goal, probably 60 minutes is needed.”

Wooten said he works out at least three times a week and eats five to six mini meals a day to keep his hunger off.

“ The most important meal for me is breakfast,” he said. “I don’t have energy if I don’t eat breakfast.”
Marling said breakfast is the most important meal and should not be skipped.

“ Not eating breakfast causes the body to think it is in starvation mode because it has had no fuel since the previous day,” she said. “This will cause the body’s metabolism to slow way down to conserve as much energy as it can, thus burning fewer calories overall.”

So can students eat fast food without gaining weight? Sure. It is all about eating less, moving more and making the right selections. And many restaurants are getting on board with the wellness generation by offering healthier options along with the super size menu. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Try the golden arches
McDonalds has a variety of menu items ranging in caloric content. The menu offers salads and wraps and fruit and milk to replace fries and sugary soda. But be careful because adding bacon, cheese and crispy chicken to a salad can add up to as many calories as a double cheeseburger.

For instance, the Asian Chicken Salad with crispy chicken has 380 calories and 17 grams of fat. Adding the Newman’s Own Sesame dressing adds another 90 calories making this a 470-calorie meal.

Eating a cheeseburger and a side salad, however, will add up to only 380 calories and 14.5 grams of fat. An even better choice would be the premium grilled chicken classic sandwich and apple dippers, giving a whopping 32 grams of protein with only 10 grams of fat.

Think outside the bun
Taco Bell has 27 items with fewer than 10 grams of fat. Ordering items Fresco style replaces cheese and sauce with diced tomatoes, white onion and cilantro—reducing fat by 25 percent.

For example, a beef crunchy taco supreme ordered the regular way holds 13 grams of fat and 210 calories. A fresco version is only 8 grams of fat and 150 calories.

A bean burrito has 9 grams of fat made the original way; a fresco version is 2 grams and 20 calories lighter. The fresco ranchero chicken soft taco is an even healthier item with 12 grams of protein weighing in at only 170 calories and 4 grams of fat.

Remember Jarod’s favorite
Subway offers eight sandwiches with six grams of fat or less. With deals such as the $2.49 daily special, even students on a budget can eat better.

Order the special of the day and make it healthier by adding plenty of vegetables and using mustard instead of mayo. Buy baked chips or apples and a diet drink for even more fat savings.

Just take a look at the nutritional information first because a six-inch turkey breast sandwich yields only 4.5 grams of fat but a six-inch chicken, bacon and ranch has 30 grams of fat (a Big Mac has 29 grams).

Don’t forget to move
Eating healthier is great, but adding exercise will yield the best results. One of the benefits often forgotten by students at TCC is the free use of the campus gyms.

For a jump-start on working out, visit the wellness and fitness Web site at or contact Kevin Harper, fitness instructor, at 817-515-6621.

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