Cardiologists Say This Popular Fast Food Side Puts You At Risk Of Heart Disease

IDEANEWSINDO.COM - It’s no secret that fast food isn’t always the healthiest option—especially when it comes to your heart. 

Still, though, most of us will find ourselves pulling up to the drive-thru every now and then, and it’s important to be aware of the risks that come with certain menu items so that we can make the best decisions. 

As it turns out, some of the biggest culprits of heart issues, weight gain, and more are the sides we order. 

And while most fast food sides are filled with fat and sodium, some are worse than others.

To discover the worst fast food side that could put you at risk of heart disease, we spoke to Dr. Anjali Dutta, MD, FACC from Morristown Medical Center at Atlantic Health System. She told us you should steer clear of fried cheese curds if you want to keep your heart healthy. Read on to learn why.

Fried Cheese Curds And Heart Disease

If you're a fan of fried cheese, we certainly don't blame you. There's no denying that the combination of ooey, gooey cheese and crispy coating is a match made in tastebud heaven. 

However, if you indulge in this snack on a regular basis, you're putting your heart health at serious risk. 

"Fried cheese curds are likely to be the most dangerous fast food items for your heart," Dr. Dutta says.

It's no secret that many salty fast food sides come with health risks. 

"Due to the fact that fast food dishes are typically high in sodium to begin with, sides that are high in sodium, such as French fries, should not be consumed frequently," Dr. Dutta notes. 

However, cheese curds take the cake as the worst of the bunch for a few reasons. 

"The high sodium content mixed with additional saturated fats makes for the perfect storm of cardiovascular risk," she explains.

That sodium content is no joke: Dr. Dutta notes that cheese curds contain a whopping 1,000mg of sodium (or more!) in one order, on average. 

Keep in mind that the daily recommended intake is just 1,500mg. 

"In some franchises, an order of cheese curds can contain as much as 2,100mg of sodium, making them not only the most unhealthy side dish, but the most unhealthy dish on the entire menu," she tells us. Say it ain't so! We were just craving some Culvers!

So, how does all of that sodium affect your heart, anyway? For starters, Dr. Dutta explains that it can take a serious toll on your blood pressure. 

"An ongoing and excessive intake of sodium has been scientifically proven to affect blood pressure. When someone has too much sodium in their bloodstream, their blood vessels absorb more water which can cause elevated blood pressure," she states. 

In turn, all of that high blood pressure puts you at risk of serious cardiovascular concerns like heart disease and even strokes. Yikes!

The saturated fat content in cheese curds is another reason they're a major health risk. Dr. Dutta warns that "an excess amount [of saturated fats] in the body can severely increase your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. 

In other words, you’re elevating your bad cholesterol levels." And when those LDL cholesterol levels are too high, she says there's an increased risk of atherosclerosis, AKA clogging in the arteries. 

"Uncontrolled cholesterol has a high incidence of heart attacks and stroke, therefore we advise patients to follow a healthy diet," she notes.

What to order instead

Okay, so if you shouldn't eat fried food from the drive-thru, what options do you have when it comes to heart-healthy meals on the go? Dr. Dutta's answer is unsurprising: opt for a salad. "Many fast food restaurants do, in fact, offer heart healthy side options," she assures us. 

"One of the heart-healthiest foods a person can consume are 'leafy greens' (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.)." For this reason, she says "choosing a salad as a side is always a safe option for your heart." 

Just be wary of those unhealthy toppings! "So long as the salad is free of high-fat dressing or other fat-filled accessories such as bacon, it’s a good choice." 

And if there's no salad in sight on the menu, opting for some tasty, nutritious fruit is your next best bet.

At the end of the day, keeping your heart in tip-top shape is all about making healthy choices whenever possible—and some of those choices are difficult. 

If you can't give up cheese curds for good, indulging every now and then won't necessarily kill you. Of course, the best option is always to speak to your doctor about your specific needs. 

Overall, though, practicing moderation is key. But whenever possible, you should order the salad instead—your heart with thank you!

Author: Faith Geiger

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