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The Fast Food Diet

The Promise

If you love the convenience of fast food and are looking for an easy-to-follow weight loss plan, The Fast Food Diet may be for you.

Cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD, believes you can lose weight without giving up the drive-thru or doing much cooking.

The catch? The Fast Food Diet teaches you to choose menu items carefully and stick with the 80/20 rule: If you eat right 80% of the time, it’s OK to splurge the other 20% of the time.

What You Can Eat and What You Can't

You’ll eat three meals and two snacks a day, all purchased from various fast-food and chain restaurants or convenience stores.

Choices include Burger King French Toast Sticks, Panda Express Beef and Broccoli, McDonald’s Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken, and even a Double Chocolate Chip Cookie from Subway.

Fried foods are not part of the plan, so you’ll have to say goodbye to the fries. Sodas sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup are also off-limits.

But you may not miss them. Sinatra offers suggestions for better substitutions for some of your favorites and easy tips for cutting fat and calories while still enjoying a diet mainly from fast-food restaurants.

Alcohol is allowed in moderation. You can enjoy an occasional glass of wine or a cocktail and sip it slowly, savoring it, so you don’t want more.

Level of Effort: Low

Limitations: Cheeseburgers? Allowed. Pizza? Allowed. Croissant breakfast sandwich? Yes. The plan is less about what’s off-limits and more about making smart swaps that shave fat and calories, while still allowing you to enjoy your favorite convenience foods.

Cooking and shopping: If cooking isn’t your thing, it’s not required on this plan. You can eat out or cook at home as much as you want, but you must stick to the calorie and menu suggestions in the diet.

Packaged foods or meals: No.

In-person meetings: No.

Exercise: Not required. Sinatra touts walking as the ideal exercise but doesn’t insist on it as part of the 6-week diet plan.

Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?

It will be challenging, but not impossible, for vegetarians to find enough fast-food options to do well on the diet. Those following low-fat, low-salt, vegan, or gluten-free diets should look for another diet plan.

What Else You Should Know

Cost: If you already eat out for most meals, you’ll probably spend the same amount.

Support: You do this diet on your own.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on January 06, 2014

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