By: Courtney Anaya
A private, fast food chain restaurant originated in Greensboro, North Carolina is slowly making its way up north.
Cook Out, on East Market Street, has been spreading throughout Virginia, and there is currently one in the JMU community. The restaurant conveniently features a double drive-through and outdoor seating. As for their food it includes popular hot dogs and hamburgers representing North Carolina barbeque.
Opening in 1989, Cook Out has been serving a very diverse population at all different times through out the day. Unlike McDonalds or Burger King, Cook Out food does not taste fake or processed, a consumer will get that North Carolina backyard barbeque taste when biting into a burger, hot dog, fries, or anything else in the menu. However, a restaurant goers needs to be aware about the downside to this restaurant. The downside is the nutrition facts, and the numbers of each food item are extremely high. Even though Cook Out has great tasting North Carolina barbeque food, it is not recommended due to the sky rocketing caloric, saturated fat, and trans fat numbers.
Let’s delve deeper into Cook Out food and see what these towering numbers are all about in some of their popular food items. A traditional cheeseburger is loaded with 445 calories, 24 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, and 742 milligrams of sodium. Surprisingly, Cook Out’s seasoned fries contain higher numbers. There are 590 calories, 38 grams of total fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, and 1410 milligrams of sodium. Cook Out is also famous for their 25 varieties of milkshakes, but the milkshakes just contain as much fat and calories compared to the cheeseburger and fries! A mint chocolate chip shake has 760 calories, 36 grams of total fat, 24 grams of saturated fat, and 320 milligrams of sodium. When a person consumes high fat and high caloric foods, it puts his or her health at a high risk of developing heart problems, diabetes, and gaining an excess amount of weight.
According to the American Dietetic Association a person should not consume more than 2,000 calories a day. Note that a daily calorie intake will differentiate from person to person; this is due to genetic make up, and his or her current height and weight as well as energy expenditure. If a person were to eat a meal from Cook Out, which may consist of a cheeseburger, milk shake, and some fries the amount of calories consumed in one meal would be over 2,000. Total fat intake should be 20-30% of the total calorie intake and saturated fat should be no more than 6 grams of saturated fat a day (this includes trans fat as well). Saturated fats are not beneficial for the body because there are no individual double bonds between the carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. With the lack of double bonds between carbon atoms, it creates food to be extremely oily and greasy. When a person consumes foods high in saturated fat they can be at risk for heart disease and obesity. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered to be the “good fats.” Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated (also known as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids) have double bonds between the carbons, and during metabolism the body doesn’t have to create as much energy to break down these fats. Some examples of unsaturated fats are the different types of oils: olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and avocado oil. These fats can also help protect the heart from arrhythmias and can be used as an anti-inflammatory. As for sodium, a person should not consume more than 1,000 milligrams a day. Each of Cook Out’s items are either half of 1,000 milligrams or over it. An excess of sodium can also lead to health problems. A person will gain an extreme amount of water weight because the cells in the body will try to consume as much water from the body to prevent dehydration; this is also a reason as to why some people will become very thirsty after eating a salty meal. As for the arteries, blood will have a tougher time traveling throughout the body. Due to the difficulty of circulating blood a person can have increased blood pressure and develop heart disease. Overall it is important to not consume any high numbers of calories, total fat, and sodium due to the damage that can be done.
The reality of eating fast food is frightening as to what it can do the health of a person. Consumers need to be smart in choosing where to eat food and if he or she does stop at a Cook Out it would be a wise decision to order the salad over the milkshake and fries. Also, each Cook Out should have nutritional information on all their products. Another important reminder, exercise should be incorporated daily for at least 30 minutes to help the body burn off the calories and fats, and to maintain a healthy image!