Over $100 billion are used each year on fast food consequently over 60 percent of Americans have become obese. You ask, so what? Fast food, as I will show later, is ranked second in the death cause list.
There are those who know the effects of fast food yet choose to ignore it while savoring its taste, yet there are masses of people who are completely unaware of the health dangers they could be bestowing on themselves. Fast food is unhealthy and people should seek different alternatives of obtaining nutrients for their diet.
The most evident effect of fast food is obesity among others and these effects are what will be considered as the basis of discouraging the intake of fast food while encouraging other healthier options.
Over 60% of Americans are either obese or over weight; over $100 billion is spent on fast food in a year; before most children can speak they can recognize McDonald’s; one would have to walk seven hours without stopping to burn calories gained from eating a coke, fry and a big Mac; obesity is known to cause other diseases like- hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease, asthma, hyperuricaemia among others (Facts 1). Unhealthy eating, with fast food as part of the cause, is the second in ranking when it comes to causes of death (Organic 1).
Control of the intake of fast food needs to be considered with utmost seriousness. The real cause of obesity (considered as a national epidemic) should be addressed and it will incorporate even the distributors of fast food.
This is because; in as much as the consumer or fast food partakers are to be held responsible for their indulgence, the restaurants are partly to blame because of the methods they use in food preparation.
In her article, Burgers on the brain, Martindale states that some research by scientists indicates that these foods could have effects on your brain in such a way that one cannot practice self-control and it could cause addiction (Organic 1).
The following are the summarized effects of indulging in fast foods (Freiboth 1):
Fast foods increase our appetite by making us eat more than we should. This is because of the high energy density content it has.
The amount of calories gained from eating at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, KFC or Burger King, leads to people gaining weight and becoming obese. This is a conclusive research from the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Center, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
With increased arteries come clogged arteries which increase the rate of getting heart attacks.
Reduced habits of physical exercises also enhance the diseases and implore people to be lazier.
Are consumers causing all these on themselves? Who is also responsible for intake of fast foods? Marketing of these types of foods by the fast food outlets and different companies have a part to play because of the advertising they are constantly carrying out (Ruskin & Schor 1). Advertising targets all groups from children to adults so all are affected and enticed to purchase the products.
Another part played by these companies is the offers they constantly have, like “value meals” where one is able to enjoy even more food and it costs them much less and they also give provision of all meals including breakfast (Murray 1).
Weintraub suggested that the first place to seek a solution would be from homes especially since people eat less from there. In his article: Parents should be involved in teaching their children healthier eating methods/alternatives and to encourage outdoor activities; fast food outlets in the environs of school should also be banned (Weintraub 1).
Murray lists propositions by Brownell who proposed some policies to enhance the fight against fast food: community environment should be spacious enough to allow outdoor activities like walking or cycling, regulation of advertisements, banning of fast foods in schools, making provision for cheaper healthy food, by reducing the price by about 70%, so as not to contend with cheap fast food. The above solutions have been known to at least reduce the intake of fast food though instant results should not be expected.
There are those even with all the gross effects of fast food will still enlist why fast food is still a viable option. Some advantages of fast food include: the simplicity of the process (no preparation required) hence saving time, they come in a lot of variety, it is fast (the time taken to order and receiving the food is very short) hence its name (Wolverson 1).
While there may be some truth to all this, there are still very many factors that would make one opt for fresh and healthier food: it is eventually costly, since with increased appetite, one is likely to order another round of food and the frequency of eating fast food also makes it expensive in the long run; it is not considered as a balanced diet; quality is also compromised due to the urgency of preparation (Wolverson 1). Fresh and healthy food is the best alternative when it comes to food since one will eventually be saved from medical costs!
There are industries that will definitely feel the impact of reduces intake of fast food. These include the fast food outlets like the McDonald’s and KFC. They are already suffering from the many lawsuits on the basis of not disclosing the health effects of their foods (Organics 1).
With consumers spending over $100 billion a year, this amount is definitely set to go down, having economic effects on the company’s profits and might even see the closure of some outlets. To some extent the medical industry that also benefits from treating diseases associated with poor eating habits will see a decline in their customers.
In the long run, if the current generation children are taught healthier alternatives, the cases of obesity will definitely reduce and nations will be boasting of healthy citizens. The demand for healthier food will also increase which will definitely cause the prices to favor consumers.
Everyone should cultivate the habit and culture of preparing home meals in order to avoid the need of eating out and having fast food. This guarantees food of good quality while enhancing maximum health benefits. Consumption of fruits and vegetables should also be a non-negotiable for everyone, such that it should be included in all meal intakes.
Physical exercise should also be adapted so that laziness is avoided and risks to disease contraction reduced. Fast foods should be discouraged at all costs and if it requires the use of laws to enforce this, so be it because the benefits a person reaps from eating healthily far outweigh the burden brought about by indulging in fast foods.
Facts. Fast Food Facts. Vivavegie, n.d. Web. April 19, 2011
Freiboth, Glenn. 6 Negative Effects of Eating Fast Food. Ezine Articles, 2011. Web. April 19, 2011
Murray, Bridget. Fast-Food Culture Serves Up Super-Size Americans. APA, 2001. Web. April 19, 2011.
Organic. Fast Food is a Major Public Health Hazard. Organic Consumers, n.d. Web. April 19, 2011.
Ruskin, Gary and Schor, Juliet. Junk Food Nation: Who’s to Blame for Childhood Obesity? Sanjuan, 2005. Web. April 19, 2011
Weintraub, Daniel. The Battle Against Fast Food Begins In The Home. Murrieta, 2002. Web. April 19, 2011
Wolverson, Natalie. The Pros and Cons of Fast Food. Helium, 2009. Web. April 19, 2011