Food for Thought: Fast food still mainstay of US diet

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By ebru (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tip of the Week

Despite strongly agreeing it is not good for them, Americans continue to make fast food a staple of their diet, with 80 percent eating the product at least once a month, according to results of a new Gallup poll. Almost half (47 percent) report eating fast food at least weekly.

Fast food has long been a major part, if not a particularly healthy one, of the U.S. diet. Americans seem well aware of the health issues inherent in fast food, with 76 percent responding they believe it to be “not too good” or “not good at all” for them.

Surprisingly, those who eat fast food the most — those who indicated eating the food at least once a week — have strong doubts about the healthfulness of the food. Of those respondents, 54 percent reported a belief that fast food is “not too good” for them, the highest of all respondent categories. An additional 19 percent indicated an understanding it is “not good at all.”

Number to Know

21.8%: The increase from 1970 (2,109) to 2010 (2,568) in the average number of calories Americans consumed daily, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Easy Recipe

Lemongrass iced tea


12 to 18 2-inch pieces lemongrass

3 3/4 quarts boiling water (15 cups)

12 lemon slices

5 tablespoons honey

Ice, for serving


1. Prepare the lemongrass by removing and discarding the first two tough outer layers. Slice thinly into rings.

2. Put the lemongrass in a heatproof pitcher and cover with the boiling water. Add the lemon slices and cover. Allow to infuse and let cool to room temperature.

3. Strain the tea, discarding the solids. Add the honey to taste. Refrigerate the tea until well chilled.

4. To serve, pour the tea into glasses and add ice, if desired. Garnish with extra slices of lemon.

— Cookthink

Food Quiz

What topped the list of the “10 Most Useful Culinary Herbs” released by Herb Society of America in 2008?

Answer below.

Wise to the Word

Lemongrass: A Southeast Asian grass that has a lemony aroma and flavor thanks to its high content of essential citral oil. It is commonly used in Indonesian, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Thai cooking.

— Cookthink

The Dish On...

“10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse,” by JJ Smith

Made up of supernutrients from leafy greens and fruits, green smoothies are filling and healthy and you will enjoy drinking them. Your body will also thank you for drinking them as your health and energy improve to levels you never thought possible. This book provides a shopping list, recipes, and detailed instructions for the 10-day cleanse, along with suggestions for getting the best results.

— Amazon

Food Quiz answer

Basil. The Herb Society of America named basil as the Most Useful Culinary Herb. Garlic, oregano, marjoram and sage rounded out the Top 5.