Over the years, fast food consumption has become extremely popular everywhere in the world. There are varied reasons as to why fast food is popular. These reasons will form a part of the discussion in the research paper. The paper will begin by discussing negative effects of fast food. It will proceed to discuss various reasons as to why people prefer fast food to a nutritious meal. In general perspective, fast food has a lot of side effects. Thus people should consume healthy food.
Investigation of health consequences of consuming fast food has identified negative results. Statistics continue to show that, indeed, fast food has negative effects on health.
According to research done between 1991 and 2001, the proportion of obesity in American adults grew from 23 percent to 31 percent of the population. This was a 3 percent annual compound rate of increase (National Institute of Health 1-6). In the equivalent period, the proportion of American adults consuming low-calorie food and beverages grew from 48 percent to 60 percent of the population (2.3 percent annual compound rate). The part of consumers trying to eat a healthy diet also grew at 6 percent annual rate (National Institute of Health 1-6).
There are a lot of studies that validate the argument against consumption of fast food. Fast food is a leading cause of headache. Meat in fast food has nitrates and artificial flavors that trigger faster flow of blood and can cause migraine attack. The food also uses additives to keep it fresh from bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning. Hangovers increase speed in the flow of blood and increase pressure in the head, which then can cause severe headache.
Fast food has an exceedingly high content of fats. It also decreases useful cholesterol, which is high in lipoprotein density. This leads to gain in weight. This is unhealthy and hazardous to the body. Cholesterol infects blood vessels, which causes their clogging or thickening. This in its turn affects movement of blood in the body, which can result in an increase of blood pressure. If one of main arteries gets clogged by cholesterol, it can lead to a blockage of blood flow. This can lead to heart arrest or failure.
Fast food can also cause depression. People, who consume fast food on a recurrent basis are 58 percent more likely to become depressed according to studies. This is because junk food lacks antioxidants, omega -3s, and foliate crucial for efficient mental health. It contains emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners, flavor enhancers, and stabilizers, which are not healthy for the body.
Ethan (57) notes that junk food has high concentration of salt, which can cause high blood pressure. Only small amounts of sodium are essential for the body to function efficiently. Therefore, eating too much salt leads to increases in blood pressure and builds up fluids in individuals who have congestive heart diseases, liver cirrhosis, or kidney complications.
For instance, research conducted by University of Minnesota School of Public Health made a comparison of data of 60,000 Singaporeans of Chinese ancestry. The research interviewed participants in the beginning of 1990s and then ten years after. After comparison of eating habits, the research found out that 1,397 participants in the age bracket from 45 to 74 died of heart ailments. By the end of the study, 2,252 people developed diabetes mellitus complications. Participants, who consumed fast food twice a week were 27 percent more likely to suffer from diabetes than others and 56 percent were likely to suffer from heart complications (Ethan 89-93).
The investigation done by Shanty & Bryan (p. 29) found out that at least one quarter of adults eats fast food daily. Fatty acids contained in fast food affect sexual performance. These fatty acids contribute to weight gain. This can affect body libido, female reproductive ability, and sperm volume.
Other effect of consuming fast food is that it may cause food poisoning. Salmonella and Escherichia Coli contaminate the meat used in preparing fast food. E. Coli are hard to treat. They cause food poisoning. This disease spreads by eating undercooked hamburgers. The disease is a primary source of renal complications among children in America.
According to Euromonitor International (1), there is a link between economy restructuring in America and the habit to consume fast food. As a result, value sales of junk food increased by 4 percent in 2011, more than twice as 2010 growth rate. This trend led to addiction to fast food consumption in America. In addition to this, fast food is addictive as Schlosser's (1) outcome postulates. Schlosser's article maintains that Americans spend $110 billion more on junk food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, and videos combined. About 12 percent of all American workers have worked at fast food restaurant McDonald's. Fast food soda sells for $1.29. This contributes to the rise of popularity of fast food. People make it a habit to consume fast food. They always create an urge for more and more consumption due to their sweet flavors. Junk food addiction can lead to a creation of unhealthy and depressive culture.
The packaging used in junk food industry has perfluoroalkyl (PAC) that does not let grease to leave. These contents contaminate human body.
With regards to research done by Shanty et al, (112-117), fast food increases adolescent obesity in America. Past research conducted in school on eating habits reveals that children who consume fast food become overweight in their teenage years. These teens are highly susceptible to type 2 diabetes.
Ashakiran (et al 1998) notes that there is a direct relationship between eating fast food and gaining weight. High amounts of calories and fat in this food cause an increase insulin resistance and amount of stomach fat. These are early symptoms of diabetes.
There is lack of replication of the actual price of fast food in value on the menu. About 300,000 people lose their lives each year because of being obese or overweight, which comes second only to smoking. Young children should not be fed fast food. Currently, American children get approximately one quarter of their total vegetable portions in the form of French fries.
Report conducted by Goers (31) indicates that fast food has lower nutrition value in comparison to other healthy food alternatives. They have high calorie content and high salt levels. Fast food are inadequate in micro-nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and fiber but has high in energy. They lack the nutritious value that the body needs to maintain proper health. Therefore, they are unhealthy and have little nutritional value.
For instance, in the movie “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead”, the character Joe Cross realizes that he is in a difficult health condition when he finds out he is 100 pounds overweight. He is also ailing from an autoimmune complication. He notes that his state is hazardous and initiates a move to reverse his dietary habits from eating fast food to consuming vegetable juice. He inspires people about the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle by ensuring people maintain a healthy diet (Orel 16).
Robert Kenner’ movie, Food Inc. provides valuable insights on healthy food culture. It criticizes America’s genetically modified food and emphasizes the need to shy away from eating fast food (Schlosser 24).
Another recount on fast food is in Marissa Miller’s film “Kind Green” Planet, which recounts the culture of fast food obsession in America. The narration provides evidence on the negative impact of fast food products and the need to eat a healthy diet (Mason & Jim 57).
However, the proponents of fast food present their arguments based on the premise that junk food is convenient to find, affordable, time saving, and sweet flavored. However, the case against these junk food overwhelmingly defeats the rationale for consuming them (Fit Body Life 1)
Fast food is easy to find. There is no need for prior preparation. Instead, one just needs to buy food at a restaurant. It is convenient for people who lack free time due to their job or lifestyle. This food is always warm. There is no cold junk food that will have a taste like leftovers.
Junk food is always fresh because of high demand for it. There is little chance of buying food that has overstayed in the restaurant. There are also extremely strict health and safety regulations. Therefore, the ingredients will always be fresh. Fast food has also been recommended by food quality accreditation organization and approved as safe for consumption.
Some fast food is healthy when taken in small quantities. For instance, the one with low fat content and a lot of vegetables. However, burgers, fries, and pizza should be avoided because they hinder healthy living. Though, including them in a meal once in a while is not detrimental.
Convenience is a beneficial factor associated with fast food consumption. Fast food restaurants are easily available along streets. Also, there are no long waiting lines to buy food. The packaging of junk food is also convenient to eat in any place.
Fast food is reliable and available in a wide range of options. There is a wide choice of flavors and no irregular tastes.
All in all, eating a lot of fast food has been a prime cause of diseases and deaths in the world today. There is a lot of sugar in fast food, which is a principal cause of diabetes mellitus. More than 20 million people in America have diabetes. This can be eluded from the fact that most of fast food breaks down to sugars once they are in the body. Blood vessels then carry sugar throughout a person's body. Sugar overwhelms the pancreas and becomes abnormal in the body causing diabetes. Obesity is a frequent consequence of consuming junk food. More than half a billion people worldwide have obesity. Most of these people are teenagers. Obesity can also affect academic performance e.g. in physical education. All these factors justify the need to eliminate fast food from menus (Schlosser 1).
Food and nutrition are essential components of a healthy life. There is pressure for many countries to decrease eating diets full of saturated fat, sugar, and salt. However, this pressure can work through shifting to healthier diets and also by reformulating policies on existing fast food. Healthy food can offer benefits beyond basic nutrition, decrease disease risk, and maximize health with minimal professional participation. The ultimate function of food should be to enable the body to function properly and help a person lead a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, ensuring consumption of healthy food through eating a balanced diet is vital for the body.
Poor diet contributes to cancer, diabetes mellitus, and obesity. The overall effect of each dietary component and physical inactivity should be planned, and their relative significance should be estimated. A good diet is central to living a good life. This means that the choice of meals should be well perfected to ensure that they benefit the body. Fast food affinity is equal to unhealthy eating habits. For example, a regular diet from a fast food restaurant, such as French fries and a cheeseburger, amount to about 1,000 calories. This is about half of the suggested dietary allowance. Just like other things, eating is an ethical act. To eat ethically requires knowledge of food production. Eating is more than sustaining hunger. It is also about social justice, sustainable living, and environment and personal development. It is necessary to know healthy types of food to keep a good life (Gagnon & Freudenberg 4).
In conclusion, evidence from research points out that fast food is not beneficial to people’s health. Fast food leads to complications such as obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. Most people are ignorant of the risks associated with fast food. They are oblivious of living healthy lifestyles. Fast food may be a preference for them in the short-run because of their rich flavors. However, it is essential to keep in mind that adhering to a good diet habits is essential to living a healthy life. The flipside of fast food is that they lead to health complications. This makes them unhealthy for consumption. There is an urgent need to sensitize the public about the demerits of fast food if people want to make wiser food choices for a healthier living. Policies should also be enacted to manage consumption of fast food in America for healthy living.