Fast Food – Does It Have to Be Unhealthy?
The following are some of the main problems with fast food:
1) High Calorie Content
A typical McDonald’s Big Mac meal contains 1,200 calories. That’s nearly three times the amount required for maintenance of a healthy weight. A diet soda from Starbucks may contain only 200 calories or less than half that amount!
You’ll have to eat several meals just to maintain your current bodyweight.
2) Low Nutrient Value
Many fast foods lack essential nutrients such as vitamins B12, iron, calcium and zinc. They’re high in saturated fat which raises bad cholesterol levels. These unhealthy ingredients make it difficult for the body to absorb these vital nutrients.
When they don’t get enough nutrition, the body turns them into fat instead of using them for energy.
3) Increased Risk of Cancer
Studies show that eating too much meat increases cancer risk. Processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs and luncheon meats increase the risk even more. Meat products like sausage, ham and salami are especially dangerous because they often include carcinogens like nitrates and nitrites.
4) Obesity and Diabetes
A large fast-food meal can contain more than 1,000 calories. That’s about half the daily amount of calories needed by a sedentary adult. It’s easy to see how such huge portions can lead to obesity.
Most fast food is also loaded with sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats. These ingredients cause water retention, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. In some people, it can also cause diabetes.
Children are especially at risk of these side effects. They already have a high metabolism and active lifestyle. It’s easy for them to burn off these extra calories.
A child who eats too much fast food will soon become obese and develop serious health problems.
5) Low Quality Food
The nutrient content of fast food is extremely low when compared to homemade meals or fresh produce. It contains many harmful ingredients which are linked to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease. Unlike real food, fast food has little to no nutritional value.
It is void of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients.
Many people are turning to fast food chains because of their perception of convenience and affordability. The problem is that many people are eating fast food on a daily basis. This turns into a vicious cycle of falling ill and taking medication which is extremely expensive.
If they continue this cycle, they will not be able to maintain their income at a high enough level in order to afford their fast food meals.
The health issues caused by fast food range from minor to severe. In some cases, people have had their fingers and toes fall off due to acidosis. (This is what happens when the body becomes highly acidic).
In other situations, people have died from coronary artery complications because of the high amount of trans-fats in fast food.
Sources & references used in this article:
Fast food: unfriendly and unhealthy by S Stender, J Dyerberg, A Astrup – International Journal of Obesity, 2007 – nature.com
The association of posttraumatic stress disorder with fast food and soda consumption and unhealthy weight loss behaviors among young women by JM Hirth, M Rahman, AB Berenson – Journal of women’s health, 2011 – liebertpub.com
Food marketing with movie character toys: Effects on young children’s preferences for unhealthy and healthier fast food meals by H Dixon, P Niven, M Scully, M Wakefield – Appetite, 2017 – Elsevier
Barriers to avoiding fast-food consumption in an environment supportive of unhealthy eating by LE Thornton, RW Jeffery, DA Crawford – Public health nutrition, 2013 – cambridge.org