Fast foods are such kind of food that are prepared and then served immediately. This food takes a short time to be prepared and perhaps that is why it is referred to as fast food. Most of these foodstuffs are prepared and served as either takeaway from restaurants or are packed and sold in kiosks. The origin and the growth of this food according to Schlosser is due to fundamental changes that have occurred to the American society. Unlike in the past where people would buy raw materials for preparing meals in the market people today go for readily prepared meals from kiosks and restaurants. Fast food has both positive and negative consequences and on the negative, the food is unhealthy to humans if it is consumed in large quantities. This is what specifically this research paper will focus on. It will try to dig deeper in to the topic and establish in what ways this food is unhealthy to people.
A company like McDonald which deals with fast foods has for years been providing people with these foods and has made a fortune out of this business. Today, millions of Americans flock in their depots and other distribution terminals to buy their products. This company has created millions of job opportunities and it is estimated that at least one in every ten American workers has at least worked in McDonald’s restaurants not to mention those who work in their own kiosks where they sell the same products. (Reiter, E. 1996)
Many people continue to consume fast food products either aware or unaware of their health implications. Many people are not even aware of how they are prepared but this does not seem to bother them and perhaps it is due to their ignorance that they continue to suffer from diseases that could have been prevented. It is said that a typical American consumes about four French fries order and three hamburgers per week. Adverts to market fast food are found everywhere be it on televisions, radios, bill boards or posters. They portray pictures of thick juicy food but they never tell people what ingredients are used to make them. Most of these adverts target the children who are easy to be lured into taking them than adults. (Schlosser, 7)
Most foodstuffs that are eaten today look just like the way old traditional foods looked like but they are no longer the same in terms of quality and taste. Fast foods are now the epitome of remarkable but concealed technological advances that have occurred overtime. Tantalizing aroma and tastes of fast foods is again the product of manufacturing chemical plants. It is the consumption of some of those chemicals that are used in their preparation that results to many negative health consequences. (Schlosser, 8)
Schlosser who is also a journalist wrote his book, ‘The Fast Food Nation’ with an aim of enlightening the ignorant people who continue to take these foodstuffs irrespective of the ingredients that are used and the risks that they expose themselves to by consuming them.. This is after the realization that people seem not to care about how they are made and just buy and proceed to eat. The truth of the matter is that there are very many health implications that result from these foods and it is the high time that people get aware of the causal factors and the dangers they expose themselves to.
Researches that have been done show that those who eat fast foods from McDonald’s restaurants at least more than twice in a week risk suffering from type two diabetes. These people increase their body resistance to insulin and gain about ten pounds of weight in a week. Fast food restaurants cannot provide healthful eating habits as their food stuffs contain low fiber content, high fats, calories and sugar something that increases the chances of consumers suffering from obesity and diabetes. A single meal of fast foods is enough to give the body calories that it requires in one day but this is not what happens as people continue to over consume them. The reason for this is that these foods are tasty and increases one’s craving to eat more and hence increase in body size and weight. “A typical meal from a fast food restaurant, say a serving of fries and a cheese burger, amount to about 1,000 calories. This is about half of the recommended dietary allowance” (Health Food Guide. 2007).
A study that was conducted in 2006 on monkeys to test the effects of fast foods on the health of people showed that indeed these food stuffs are harmful to ones wellbeing. An equal amount of food with equal calories but different content of trans-fats was given to different monkeys. The results of this experiment was that those monkeys which consumed a lot of food with trans-fats generated more abdominal fats that those that did not. This proved the fact that fast foods have negative health implications on the health of the consumers.
According to a research that was conducted in the United Kingdom by the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Center in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that fast food consumers of Mc Donald’s products have higher chances of increasing their body weight and thus higher chances of becoming obese. It was also established that apart from fast foods containing more calories than what traditional foods contain, they expose their consumers to higher chances of them being unable to control their appetites towards these foods. For this reason people feel greatly attracted to these products thereby consuming more that what is required by their bodies. (Freithboth)
Researches have also shown that high rate of consumption of fast foods can lead to heart attacks. Oxidized fats that are found in these fast food products according to San Francisco’s researchers in the Veterans Administration Medical Center found that this kind of fat clogs arteries something that increases the chances of one suffering from heart attacks. Foods such as pizza, hamburgers and French fries were for example singled out as those foods that are highly loaded with this fat. The irony that exists as far as those foods are concerned is that they have high fat contents opposed to carbohydrates and yet bodies require fiber and healthy fats that have least likelihood of resulting to such health implications. “It (fast food) is also very high in sodium, coming from common salt and other additives. On top of all this, fast food is deficient in dietary fiber and essential micronutrients like vitamins and minerals” (Health Food Guide).
The more one consumes fast food, the higher are the chances of becoming fat, the more also is the chances of becoming obese something that sets the stage for other diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, high cholesterol and different kinds of cancer. Consumption of these products increase ones craving for more products, they are designed in such a manner such that when you eat it you are left with insatiable desire to eat more. As scientific researches have it, fast foods configure ones body in a way that they will always be looking for more. Unfortunately, people who love these foods are physically inactive and this is something that compounds the problem. If these people would engage their bodies in various physical activities, then excess fats would be burned thereby reducing chances of becoming obese. (Reiter, E. 1996)
Fast foods are capable of changing eating habits and this becomes problematic to children. When they get hooked on this taste, it becomes quite hard for them to change. Most of the market campaigns that are done by these companies target the children. It is estimated that a normal person consumes about 56 gallons of soft drinks per year. Statistics available show that in the past 20 years, a teenage boy would take twice milk as much soft drink he can take today but this has changed and now it is vice versa. Today they consume soft drinks twice more than they take milk hence many negative health implications among the youth.
Although fast foods are used by many Americans they have their own negative consequences as far as the health of the consumers is concerned. It has been established that high consumption of these products can lead to increase in body weight and later to obesity. Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart related diseases are also linked to consumption of these products. For this reason, it is important for people to enquire about the content or ingredients of fast foods before they buy them but this is not what happens hence the high rate of fast food related diseases.
Cornforth T. 2007. Eating Fast Food Means Weight Gain, Insulin Resistance for Teens. About .com. Reviewed by Medical Review Board. Accessed from http://womenshealth.about.com/od/girlshealth101/a/fastfoodteenwei.htm
Freiboth G. 2009. Negative Effects of Eating Fast Food. Available at http://ezinearticles.com/?6-Negative-Effects-Of-Eating-Fast-Food&id=175205 Health Food Guide. 2007. Fast Food Effects on Health. Accessed from
Reiter, E. 1996. Making Fast Food: From the Frying Pan into the Fryer. Revised Ed. 2. McGill-Queen’s Press – MQUP.
Schlosser, E., 2001. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Houghton Mifflin Company.