The Dark Side of Fast Food
How it works
In an article, from the website She Knows which talks about all the ingredients in fast food. States that most of the ingredients in fast food we’ve never even heard of but we still eat it anyways. Like one of the ingredients in some fast food places chicken nuggets is a chemical preservative called Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone which is derived from petroleum, which is used in cars. Also most employees don’t get training on proper food safety so therefore they possibly could be preparing your meal without washing their hands.
And fast food is filled with trans fat and sometimes the companies wont label that on the list of ingredients. She Knows has been one of the top ten most visited sites for women and provides current information on topics relevant to women’s lives.
An article written by the Dr. Oz website, talks about the many secrets of fast food. Like how many fast food companies use antifreeze chemicals which help keeps food frozen, adds flavor, and adds moisture the chemical is mainly used in ice cream to keep it from melting and lettuce to help keep it crispy. Fast food places also clean with concentrated chemicals that can stay on the equipment overnight which can cause contamination in the first batches of food being made the next morning.
Fast food is filled with preservatives so it can stay fresh for hours which means you’ll likely get something that wasn’t freshly made. If you order a grilled anything it’s most likely that the grill marks were sprayed on the meat at the factories. Also many fast food places fill their milkshakes with beef additives and disguise it as “natural flavorings” or “extract”. And nozzles on drink dispensers are the ideal home of mold because they are rarely cleaned and are filled with sugary sticky syrup. The Dr. Oz website is run by Dr. OZ who is a cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and television personality.
Another article I found, but this time from the site Probiotic Smart talks about the fast food problem and the easy solution. According to them kids are eating fast food more often now and one of the reasons why, is simply because of how fast food is aiming at them with their ads of toys in the kids meal. And the kids meal is far from healthy it’s basically the same thing as a regular adult meal but slightly smaller.
The solution is simply don’t eat fast food in front of your kids or encourage them to eat healthier things that you’ve prepared. Or limit the amount of TV they watch because every other commercial is probably going to be a fast food commercial. Probiotic Smart is a website were people can ask questions regarding health topics and get answers from experts who also share the latest health articles and solutions to health problems the article was written by Emily Bill who is a SEM specialist.
The website New Scientist talks about why fast food is bad even in moderation in their article called “Why Fast Foods Are Bad”. In the article it says, “Eating a diet consisting largely of fast food could cause your waistline to bulge more than eating the same amount of fat from healthier sources” (Gosline). It also talks about how most fast food items contain trans fat which can cause an increase risk of heart disease compared to saturated fats. And studies have shown that most of the weight gained from fast food mainly affects your stomach area. New Scientist is a magazine that’s been around since 1956 and reaches nearly one million readers every week it provides information on science and technology.
An article by The New York Times, which talks about fast food from every corner. States that the reason why fast food is so popular is because it’s inexpensive and widely available. Making something less healthy is almost impossible because we have no control over how the food is cooked therefore if the fast food place wants to cook the food in plenty of butter they have that right.
And since fast food is filled with fat, sodium, and sugar people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease have to be extra careful when it comes to eating fast food. Some solutions for healthier eating is to eat at fast food places that offer vegetables, or make better decisions when ordering like ordering something with fewer calories. The New York Times is a newspaper that has been published ever since 1851 and has won 112 Pulitzer prizes, which is more than any other news organization.
The main reasons why now more than ever fast food is becoming a health issue has to do with more people eating it. According to the book Fast Food Nation, “A generation ago, three-quarters of the money used to buy food in the United States was spent to prepare meals at home. Today about half of the money used to buy food is spent at restaurants–mainly at fast food restaurants” (Schlosser 4). And that has to do with the way it’s marketed, availability, and price.
You can’t watch TV without seeing some sort of fast food commercial which advertises their latest cool invention or drive and not see a fast food billboard. And one of the main targets of fast food, is children who can convince their parents to take them to get fast food because of what the happy meal comes with, or because they want to play in the playground. “Unfortunately many kids are introduced to fast food at a young age and continue to consume it as they grow up” (Bill). Because kids are introduced to fast food at such a young age they face the risk of becoming obese, due to the fact that the kids meals are far from healthy since they are basically just a smaller version of an unhealthy combo meal.
Availability, fast food is everywhere from the U.S. to Asia to the Middle East. Because of how available fast food has become more people are able to consume it, therefore more people are being affected by the unhealthy food. Also due to the availability people have the choice of not cooking, because why cook when you can drive a few minutes and get something delicious to eat.
“These days, parents have very busy lives and may decide to pick their children up a happy meal instead of cooking a meal at home” (Bill). Its true and understandable, people do have busy lives therefore they choose to get something at a fast food place because of how easy it is when compared to cooking. But wouldn’t you rather cook something healthy for your family at least that way you’re aware of the ingredients?
Price is probably the main factor that makes fast food so popular. Most fast food places offer a value menu were most things are a dollar. So you can basically get a meal without breaking the bank if your on a budget. And that is understandable, because yes obviously you cant buy ingredients for a meal and pay less than a dollar. But your health isn’t worth a dollar. If you want to be healthy and live longer, then your only real choice is to eat healthier if that means spending a few extra bucks for healthy food then that’s what you have to do. In a quote by Eric Schlosser he says, “Fast food is popular because it’s convenient, it’s cheap, and it tastes good. But the real cost of eating fast food never appears on the menu” (Schlosser). He’s basically saying that we the consumers of fast food are so blinded by fast food that we can’t even see it for what it is and the health risks we face when we eat it.
The solution I propose is simply healthier food. If companies have to fill their food with sugar or butter to make it taste good or create fake grill marks on the burgers to convince people it was freshly grilled then they should be out of business. If companies want to serve unhealthy food then they should state all the ingredients and let people know the health risks, because we the people have the right to know. We should find a way to make the popular items on the menus less bad for us and more good for us.
We should also have the food freshly made at the places instead of in factories that are then shipped to the fast food places. There should be healthier options on the menu because healthier food doesn’t necessarily mean disgusting food. For example, instead of the regular meat patties we can demand vegetable patties which are very good or instead of fries we can order fresh veggies that have a dash of flavoring to them. Or if that doesn’t work simply take the time out of your day to prepare something for you and your family that way you can assure that its healthy and fresh. But no matter what there is something that can be done to fix this problem it’s just up to us.
I am aware that many people many not necessarily agree with my solution. Some may say changing the fast food menu to healthier options won’t help the fast food companies, because most of the people that eat fast food don’t like healthy food, therefore those people wouldn’t invest their money in let’s say a veggie burger. But if those people became aware of the benefits of veggie burgers, I believe their attitude towards the burgers would change.
In an article by Fit Day which talks about why you should choose to eat veggie burgers over the regular fatty burgers states that veggie burgers are less in fat and low in calories, have less or no preservatives, rich in fiber, and help prevent disease. The article also talks about how veggie patties are rich in fiber and how that’s good for your colon and heart. “Veggie burgers can also help you prevent serious diseases such as colon cancer. This fiber is not only good for the colon but also beneficial to your heart. Red meat such as beef may be linked to colon cancer” (Reasons).
Another argument people might make is that healthy food items at fast food places that serve healthy choices are expensive when compared to a one dollar burger, therefore why should they order it. And that’s one of the reasons why people don’t order the healthy choices at the fast food places. “But if you’re looking for a sizable salad or a hearty burger with all the fixings that might resemble something you’d get in a sit-down restaurant, you can expect to pay up” (Meal). I personally think its wrong that the fast food companies charge more for healthier food items, but then again your health isn’t worth a dollar.
The main argument that many people probably would make is that cooking food for their family is more expensive then driving thru the drive thru and getting a meal for their family. But that’s not actually always the case, which is proven in Mark Bittman’s study. “Mark Bittman, a writer for The New York Times, compared a meal for a family of four at McDonald’s to a home-cooked meal of roast chicken, potatoes and a salad.
Based on prices in a Brooklyn grocery store, the McDonald’s meals were $14 more than the home-cooked meal. In addition to cost savings, the home-cooked meal is much healthier. He then compared the same meal to an even cheaper dinner of rice and beans with bacon, peppers and onions for an even greater savings of $18 clearly, you can save a lot by not eating fast food” (Fisher). As seen in Bittman’s study making fresh meals for your family doesn’t necessarily mean your going to go bankrupt, your not only saving money but you’re also helping your family’s health.
I am aware that some may not agree with me and even say, “I eat fast food every day and look I’m as healthy as can be.” Yes that may be the case or it can also be that your health is secretly being affected. The effects of eating fast food on a regular basis is bound to catch up to you, and some of those effects are diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterol, and nevertheless obesity. One way to simply avoid these effects is to not eat fast food or to eat it in moderation. I truly believe that we have the power to be in control when it comes to our health. It may not be easy, but we were all born with self control.
“The executives who run the fast food industry are not bad men. They are businessmen. They will sell free-range, organic, grass-fed hamburgers if you demand it. They will sell whatever sells at a profit” (Schlosser). Just like Schlosser said, nothing is impossible if we demand it and fight for this cause, will be making a huge change for our health which will only lead us to the road of good health, and good health comes with many advantages. Wouldn’t you want to live a healthy long life? The time to make a change is now, before it’s too late.