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Fast Food Ads: 6 Ways to See Through the Hype

In Your Head continued...

3. Know your calorie count.

If you’re a boy age 13-18, you need between 2,200 and 3,200 calories a day. Girls the same age need fewer than that, around 1,800-2,400 calories a day.

Luckily, fast food calorie info is much easier to find out than it used to be. “Most chain restaurants make their nutrition information available for customers -- either right on the menu or on their website,” Schwartz says. Next time you’re tempted, take a look at those numbers. You might be surprised at how many are in your favorite combo order.

4. Say no to soda.

A huge cup of soda for just $1? You’ve probably heard that deal before. It may not cost much to add to your order, but when it comes to sugary drinks, health experts agree that it’s all bad news.

“They offer zero nutrition,” Schwartz says. “It's just a way to deliver sugar, and in many cases caffeine, and they definitely don’t improve anybody's health.”

Go with water when you order, and use your calories -- and dollars -- on food.

5. Unfollow your fast food.

Any time you “like” or follow a fast food chain on social media to get deals, or enter your email for a contest, you’re handing marketers an all-access pass to your info -- and your attention.

“I don’t think teens are always aware that these are purely marketing strategies that use them to reach even more teenagers,” Schwartz says. Plus, the more you give in to gimmicks, the more ads you’ll see.

6. Demand better.

Fed up with the choices at fast food chains? Use your voice (and your money) to let them know.

“I think the more that teenagers stand up and argue back and really try to fight for their rights to be taken seriously as a consumer group that actually cares about health, the more companies will listen,” Schwartz says.

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Reviewed on March 07, 2016

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