And when you're on the go, it can be especially difficult to get proper nutrition.
Luckily, many fast food chains have realized this, and are working to offer healthier menu options.
But be careful.
Because even if you order a healthy meal, you could unknowingly be sabotaging yourself with the wrong choice of beverage.
Like McDonald's sweet tea.
Over at Reddit, former restaurant employees were asked what single menu option they would recommend customers never eat.
You might think that McDonald's employees would call out the Big Mac, or some other obviously unhealthy fast food offender.
Surprisingly, though, one self-described former McDonald's employee actually went with the sweet tea, writing:
"McDonald's sweet tea."
Okay, a pound per gallon is a slight exaggeration.
But not by much, as it turns out.
Sure, we all knew that sweet tea has sugar in it—it wouldn't be sweet otherwise—but many people might not realize just how much sugar we're really talking about here.
If you take a look at McDonald's nutritional information, you'll find the sugar content is actually pretty staggering.
A small has 21 grams of sugar, a medium has 28 grams, and a large has a whopping 38 grams.
So what does that mean?
Well, according to the American Heart Association, kids should have no more than 21 grams per day, women should limit themselves to 25 grams of sugar per day, while men should have no more than 36 grams.
So a single large sweet tea would give you more sugar than you're supposed to get from all sources in an entire day!
"I see right here it says I shouldn't have given you sugar!"
The British Heart Foundation agrees that sugar is bad, and specifically calls out sugary drinks as one of the biggest sources of unnecessary sugar content in many people's diets.
Sugary drinks are especially bad because they usually offer no nutritional value to offset the intake of sugar.
That large sweet tea?
It has 160 calories—and 152 of those are just from sugar, meaning they are completely empty calories that add nothing else.
Still need more context?
Let's take that large sweet tea—and the 38 grams of sugar it has—and compare to some other sweet treats.
For example, consider the sugar bomb known as the Cadbury Creme Egg.
When The Independent reported on just how horribly sugary a Cadbury Creme Egg was, people were outraged, and it "only" has 26 grams!
This is your brain.
This is your brain on sugar sticks!
Visible sugar has some more unbelievable stats.
A standard-size package of Twix has 24 grams of sugar, a Butterfinger has 24 grams, an Almond Joy has 21 grams, and a KitKat has 22 grams.
That means those candy bars don't just have less sugar than a large sweet tea, they have less sugar than a medium one, too.
And here's the thing: no one expects candy bars to be good for you, so at least everyone's aware of the fact that they're shoving a ton of sugar in their faces when they eat one.
But when you're standing at the drinks machine or the menu board, it's easy to think you're making the healthy choice getting the tea over the soda.
While that's technically true, it's not because the sweet tea is remotely good for you, it's only because soda is even more terrible.
It's like cutting your arm off instead of your head.
It's not as bad, but it's… still very bad.
Tis but a scratch!
Your arm's off!
So, what should you do?
Opt for the unsweetened tea, as that has zero grams of sugar.
Of course, not everyone likes the taste of unsweetened tea, so another option is to mix one quarter sweet tea with three quarters unsweetened tea.
You'll get only a fraction of the sugar, and still have a sweeter drink that's more palatable to anyone who's not a fan of straight, unsweetened iced tea.
Alternately, pick up a reusable water bottle and keep your own drink in the car.
There are plenty of options when it comes to mixing up a low-sugar, low-calorie drink to keep in your own fridge at home.
And while it might not seem like much, it's these little changes that end up going a long way in making you, and your family, healthier.
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