Can Mormons Eat Fast Food?

Religious food restrictions are common across the world. Mormonism isn’t exempt from diet-related rules and includes avoidance of soda and coffee, but do the limitations include fast food?

Yes, Mormons can eat fast food. They have very few food restrictions. Mormons can usually eat at any restaurant they choose as long as they abstain from caffeinated products and avoid making fast food a regular occurrence.

In this article, we’ll explore the religious rules that impact a Mormon’s dietary choices and explain why members of the Mormon religion may occasionally enjoy fast food.

How Frequently Can Mormons Eat Fast Food?

A critical component of Mormon culture is the belief that unwholesome food defiles the body.

The Mormon Church views the body as a temple, and what someone puts into it impacts that temple. With that in mind, Mormonism encourages its practitioners to eat healthy diets.

That said, nothing in the Mormon Words of Wisdom explicitly disapproves of foods that are “unhealthy.”

Instead, Mormon culture encourages people to eat a balanced diet with “proper nutrition.”

By that logic, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can occasionally eat fast food. But, they should only do so in moderation and should take care to keep their diet nutritious and well-balanced.

What Can Mormons Eat at Fast Food Restaurants?

Mormons have very few food and drink restrictions in their culture. Compared to Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism, Mormon diet restrictions are flexible.

For the most part, Mormons can eat whatever they like – there are no specific food restrictions in Mormon religious documents. 

However, while Mormons can eat just about anything at a restaurant, they can’t drink whatever they like. Mormon culture doesn’t allow its members to consume alcohol or caffeine in any situation. This restriction extends to tea and coffee specifically.

Interestingly, the Church of Latter-day Saints does not explicitly prohibit caffeinated soda. In 2012, the LDS Church released a statement clarifying it does not ban caffeinated sodas.

But, strict followers of Church doctrine usually avoid caffeinated soda.

Because of the caffeine restriction, strict Mormons must be careful with what they drink at fast food restaurants since caffeinated sodas are usually on the menu. 

Additionally, Mormons take care when ordering entrees at restaurants that may contain an alcohol-based sauce.

Some Mormons don’t mind cooking with wine under the presumption that the alcohol cooks out of the sauce, but others adhere to stricter beliefs and avoid it.

Why Can’t Mormons Drink Caffeinated or Alcohol at Restaurants?

The Words of Wisdom doctrine has guided the Mormon culture since 1833. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still follows the Words of Wisdom doctrine, which is the root of the religion’s dietary restrictions.

The Words of Wisdom doctrine say that Mormons should avoid stimulants like caffeine and tobacco products.

However, as food selection and diets evolve, the philosophy has adapted to include more modern food and beverages like those found at fast food restaurants. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes science has proven their dietary restrictions beneficial.

For example, a recent study by UCLA found that Mormons live up to 11 years longer than the average U.S. citizen, which church leadership attributes to their diet.

What Else Do the Words of Wisdom Say About the Mormon Lifestyle and Fast Food?

The Words of Wisdom doctrine outlines the preferred diet for Mormons to follow.

The philosophy encourages church members to build their diet around a foundation of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables – food groups not usually present at fast food restaurants.

Additionally, church doctrine also encourages members to avoid overindulgence and undereating. Fast food, generally, is calorie-dense and comes with super-sized options that contradict these values.

Ultimately, the Words of Wisdom philosophy effectively outlines that members should seek a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle full of diverse foods and exercise while only occasionally enjoying fast food.

Final Thoughts

The Mormon religion allows its followers to enjoy most foods in moderation, including fast food.

However, the dietary restrictions and beliefs of the faith do apply to beverages, primarily restricting the consumption of caffeine and alcohol products. 

While the religion doesn’t prohibit sodas, many strict followers choose not to consume any caffeine, including sodas.

Fast food restaurants serve caffeinated beverages that more strict followers of the religion avoid, so many Mormons take extra care when eating out.