A New Road Map for the Fast Food Nation

"People that step foot in a fast food restaurant two or more times per week are twice as likely to be obese, and three times more likely to develop diabetes" than those who keep their visits to a minimum, the doctor reported.

Recent steps by companies like McDonald's to heal their deteriorating reputation with healthier menus and revamped ad campaigns, are window dressing, according to Eldridge.

"Baby steps," she said. "The fact of the matter is that people's bodies don't know how to deal with trans fats. And though I'm sure there are some good people [working at fast food corporations], they're much more concerned about keeping business."

If you really want to lose weight and cut your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes, the best bet is to cook dinner yourself.

"It doesn't mean you need to cook every night," Eldridge said. "If you plan ahead, come up with meals -- and there are so many good cookbooks -- you can freeze things and use them again later in the week."

It's a reasonable suggestion, but for many hamstrung American workers, there simply isn't enough time to cook Sunday dinner on a Wednesday night.

Eric Defeo contributed to this report.

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