Pros and Cons of Fast Food
In this day and age everyone has had some form of fast food. There are many options to choose from all around the world. If one was to travel down any main city block, he or she may be overwhelmed with the many options to choose from. The most popular options may be McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Subway just to name a few. The choices are almost endless. The availability to eat fast food is everywhere.
It is very hard not to notice when there are advertisements on television, magazines, and all over the internet. The advertisements offer great deals, large quantities, great gifts and more. It can become very hard to avoid the temptation. That is what these franchise’s marketing groups are targeting. There are many questions asked about how unhealthy fast food is. There are constant debates that fast food is bad for you. I believe if you eat too much of anything it may be unhealthy. Fast food has been around for a long time and seems like it will be around in the future as well.
There are good and bad things about fast food that many people are aware of. That’s why there are always debates about the pros and cons of fast food. The way that fast food is portrayed to be unhealthy is understandable and there are many reasons to support that, but there are also many reasons why people think fast food is great and is not getting any less popular. A very good thing about fast food is the availability. There are many locations to eat fast food. At any spare moment driving down the street people can pull over to one of many chains of fast food restaurants to eat.
There are different varieties to choose from such as Chinese food, pizza, Mexican, and maybe the most popular hamburgers and fries. Every year there are more and more locations popping up that offer different varieties to choose from. Franchises like Wendy’s and McDonalds seems like there are locations everywhere. McDonalds operated their first location back in 1955 and now McDonald’s is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 32,000 local restaurants serving more than 60 million people in 117 countries each day (Our history, n. d. ). Fast food is very convenient for a lot of people that are on the go.
Many households may not have the time to cook a well home cooked meal. A single parent that that gets up in the morning and has to get ready for work, while taking care of a child, may not have the time to cook breakfast. This is a time when the parent may elect to get a breakfast on the way to work. After a long day of working a fulltime job, that person may not have the time or energy to cook a meal at home. That is when fast food may be very convenient. Many households may not have the time to sit down as a family, and eat breakfast, lunch or dinner.
This is a perfect time when fast food may come in handy. Many fast food locations have very affordable prices. If you can go to a specific location and eat a full course meal for under five dollars, that may be very affordable. With the state of economy being the way it is today in the U. S many people might not be able to afford the cost of grocery shopping. People may prefer to purchase an inexpensive meal to feed each other. Imagine a single parent has a child that is hungry and the parent only has five dollars. There are locations now such as McDonalds that have what they call, “The Dollar Menu. Based on McDonald’s website, people can order variety of breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers for lunch, and even soft drinks, for just $1 dollar a piece (Dollar menu, n. d. ). The average person can purchase 5 different items with 5 dollars. That can feed a couple of people in a household. Some may say this can turn out to be very costly if done on a regular basis, although there can be many reasons why this can be perceived as an affordable and viable option. There may be many that believe fast food is completely unhealthy, when that is not necessarily true.
If fast food is eaten at moderate rates it is not necessarily an unhealthy issue. Currently based on the U. S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) they state: FDA regulations require nutrition information to appear on most foods, and any claims on food products must be truthful and not misleading. In addition, low sodium, reduced fat, and high fiber must meet strict government definitions. FDA has defined other terms used to describe the content of a nutrient, such as low, reduced, high, free, lean, extra lean, good source, less, light, and more.
So a consumer who wants to reduce sodium intake can be assured that the manufacturer of a product claiming to be “low sodium” or “reduced in sodium” has met these definitions. (Food label, 2008) The label for the food has nutritional facts on it. The labels are suppose to state how much calories an item has in it, or how much salt and sugar the item contains. These facts are helpful to determine if the item is healthy or not. Even though most of these fast foods can contain a high volume of cholesterol or fats, if taken in moderation it may not be unhealthy.
It may seem that fast food is the most unhealthy food in the world, and rightfully so. There are so many negatives about fast food, that some people may think why even eat it at all. The effects of eating too much fast food can be very costly. Even though it may seem like fast food is so delicious and there are so many different options, is it really worth it in the end? One of the unhealthy ingredients in most fast food is Trans fat. Trans fat is “fat produced from the industrial process of hydrogenation, in which molecular hydrogen (H2) is added to vegetable oil, thereby converting liquid fat to semisolid fat. (Trans, 2011) Some of the specific fast foods that contain Trans fat are items such as pizza dough, French fries, and fried chicken just to name a few (Trans, 2011). There are so many different types of fast food that uses some form of Trans fat. There are many health risks that can start from eating too much fast food that contains Trans fat. There have been many studies to determine if Trans fats or saturated fats cause heart disease. At one point in the late 1980’s some test confirmed that saturated fats lead to heart disease, this caused many to believe there was no harm in eating fast food that contain Trans fat.
The consumption of Trans fat rose drastically during that time. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that test confirmed that Trans fat was actually a higher risk to cause heart disease than saturated fats (Trans, 2011). Either way it seems that both types of fat can cause some form of heart disease if too much is consumed. The best thing is to have a healthy diet. Fast food can be the start of an unhealthy diet. There are plenty of unhealthy ingredients in most fast food meals. Many people may say that there is a gain of weight when eating fast food. People who eat a lot of fast food probably have a better chance of being overweight.
If someone eats more than a couple of fast food meals a week most likely they are not in proper shape. Eating too much of any fast food is not healthy for any one. When eating foods that are unhealthy they mostly contain fats, salts, or some type of sweetening. These types of ingredients may be addictive. People who’ve been eating fast food for a while may believe that it is too hard to just stop eating. Some people may say just stop eating fast food, but is it really that easy? Certain ingredients may be addictive or have some type of mental power.
A former director of the FDA Dr Kessler states: When it comes to stimulating our brains, Dr. Kessler noted, individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent. But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full. (Parker-Pope, 2009) In this article Dr Kessler continues to make valid points on how it seems that fast food restaurants use this to they’re advantage.
Some of these restaurants have scientist that try to figure out the perfect combinations of sweets and fats that seem overwhelming to the human taste buds (Parker-Pope, 2009). With the food scientist making food irresistible, it makes it that much harder to put down the hamburger or French fries that taste so good. So just think that if these scientists, that work for these fast food restaurants, make it that much harder to stop eating fast food, people are going to continue eating fast food. That is when people start to gain weight.
When people keep eating even though they are no longer hungry, that can lead to being overweight and obesity. Those are big problems in our society and why fast food is a contributor to that problem. The negative perception about fast food being unhealthy is true because of the tactics that are sometimes taken. Some of the tactics used by fast food restaurants are their marketing campaigns. For example the McDonalds Happy Meal that is marketed toward children. These Happy Meals can be purchased at a reasonable price and also come with a toy. It is very hard to tell hildren no when they see that a toy comes with the fast food they are about to eat. Most of the time a child doesn’t even care about the meal itself. Imagine trying to feed your child a healthy meal, but they frequently see their most popular cartoon character or super hero toy being given away free with an unhealthy McDonalds Happy Meal. This is what many parents have to deal with. Finally someone is trying to change this from being a problem. Currently San Francisco city officials are trying to ban Happy Meals from being sold with toys if they don’t meet certain nutritional standards.
The San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who started the proposal, said: I do believe that toys and other incentives attached to foods that are high in sugar, fat, and calories are a major reason for the alarming rise for childhood obesity in this country, Mar said. This is a very modest ordinance that is an incentive for the industry to take responsibility for healthier choices for children and parents. (Martinez, 2010) Hopefully if one city or state stands up for our children others may follow.
This can be the start of what our nation needs to start getting back to eating healthier. Fast food companies need to be controlled somewhat on how they are marketing their unhealthy food to little children. There are a lot of arguments about if fast food is healthy or unhealthy. Some people believe fast food is very affordable and convenient, with plenty of options to choose from around every corner. The way our nation is always on the go, it is hard to argue with a person wanting to just grab a bite while on their way to work, or when taking their children to school.
Sometimes it feels like there is not enough time in the day to cook, and fast food is a perfect option at the end of the day. As for fast food being unhealthy, is not a real debate. There are current test that clearly show that as being the case, but quantity and regularity seems to be more of a problem. If a person eats too much fast food on a regular basis than that can prove to be deadly. We are in the land of the free, where we believe in freedom of choice. If someone wants to eat fast food that is a choice they can make for themselves, whether it is healthy or not.
- Dollar Menu. (n. d). McDonalds. com. Retrieved Jan. 1, 2011, from: http://www. mcdonalds. com/us/en/food/meal_bundles/dollar_menu. html
- Food Label Helps Consumers Make Healthier Choices. (2008). Retrieved Dec. 27, 2010, from the world wide web: http://www. fda. gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm094536. htm#moreinfo
- Martinez, Michael. (2010, Nov. 8). Ban on low-nutrition Kid-toy meals draws nearer in San Francisco. CNN. com. Retrieved Jan. 3, 2010, from http://www. cnn. com/2010/US/11/04/california. fast. ood/index. html? iref=allsearch
- Our History. (n. d). McDonalds. com. Retrieved Jan. 2, 2011, from http://www. mcdonalds. com/us/en/our_story. html
- Parker-Pope, T. (2009, June 22). How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains. The New York Times on the Web. Retrieved Jan. 4, 2011, from the world wide web: http://www. nytimes. com/2009/06/23/health/23well. html? _r=1=health
- Trans fat. (2011). In Encyclop? dia Britannica. Retrieved Jan. 1, 2011 from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/1085248/trans-fat