Fast food refers to food, whose preparation and serving takes a short time. While every food that has low preparation time is regarded as fast food, the term is usually used to refer to foods, sold in stores or restaurants, with precooked or preheated ingredients, and is served to clients in a packed form as take-away. In the current world, where people are either busy with work, school, or business etc., there is hardly any time to prepare and eat a decent meal at home. Fast food has become the ideal choice for many people around the world, mainly because it is convenient, cheap, and tasty. Consequently, numerous fast food restaurants have been established in different parts of the world to meet the high demand for fast foods. It is crucial to mention that the low cost of fast food is because it is made from low cost ingredients like refined grains, high fat meat, high fats, salt and sugar, with little or no nutrients and vitamins. The United States is the leading world producer of fast food. American fast food restaurants are found in over one hundred countries worldwide. Approximately two million employees in the United States are employed in the fast food industry, including such areas as food servicing and preparation. According to Maynard (18), there are available more than 200, 000 restaurants, generating a revenue of $ 120 billion in sales in the U.S. alone. The key players in the American fast food industry include McDonalds’, Domino Pizza, Yum Brands, Sonic as well as Wendy’s. Fast food consumption has become increasingly popular amongst Americans over the years (Spake 54). This has been attributed to increased advertising of fast foods, the fast-paced lifestyle of Americans as well as the exponential increase of fast food restaurants. Being the leading consumer of fast foods in the whole world, America is struggling with obesity as a key health concern for its citizens. Though fast food is exceptionally tasty, cheap and convenient, which helps to save time, thus, increasing people’s efficiency (Spake 54), I am strongly against its consumption because of the numerous negative effects it has on health.
The Negative Effects of Fast Food Consumption
Research by Spake (54) revealed a direct connection between the fast food consumption and obesity; people who consume fast foods more than two times a week weigh on average five extra pounds compared to those who eat fast foods occasionally. Fast foods are notorious for their high calories, salt, sugar, fat; all of which are associated with obesity. Eating excess calories than the body can burn results in obesity. It is estimated that sixty million American adults are obese, while one hundred and twenty seven million others are overweight (Hurley & Liebman 13). The incidence of obesity is highest in America as opposed to other developed countries globally (Cutler, Glaeser & Shapiro 93), and it cuts across all sectors of American population (Flegal, Carroll, Odgen & Johnson 1723 – 1727). In addition, there is a growing concern for the alarming number of children and adolescents who are overweight in America. It is estimated that 15% of American children are overweight in comparison to only 4% not many decades ago (Hurley & Liebman 13). It is estimated that every year the United States spend more than 150 billion dollars on obesity-related health conditions, and about 300,000 deaths occur due to obesity (Hurley & Liebman 13). The negative effects of obesity on human health, which results from fast food consumption, are far-ranging and numerous and are discussed below:
The high cholesterol and fat content in most of fast foods are associated with various heart problems such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease etc. (Raloff 381-382). Fast foods contain high fat levels, which can build up in arteries, causing them to narrow, leading to decreased blood flow into the heart. This can either cause a heart attack, or angina (chest pain). In addition, blood clots can form within the narrowed arteries, causing stroke. It has been found that Atherosclerosis, which is a heart disease, is present in obese Americans ten times more than non-obese Americans (Spake 54). Overweight children are prone to getting high blood pressure, a condition with no signs but can lead to heart disease, when left untreated. Numerous fast foods contain high saturated fat, which cause high levels of cholesterol. High cholesterol levels, when left untreated, can lead to stroke. According to Raloff (381-382), one in every five American teenagers has high cholesterol level.
Most fast foods have high sugar content, and the consumption of too much sugar contributes to the development of diabetes (Raloff 381-382). Obesity is the main cause of Type 2 Diabetes, which normally starts during adulthood. However, in the recent past, even children have been found to be suffering from Type 2 Diabetes; an indication that obesity has taken on the American children too. Obesity causes insulin resistance (a hormone that controls blood sugar), which leads to elevation of blood sugar level, causing diabetes (Raloff 381-382). It has been found that even moderate obesity can dramatically increase the risk of getting diabetes. Cancer
Overweight women have a high risk of getting various types of cancers such as breast, uterus, gallbladder, and colon. In addition, overweight men have a higher risk of prostate and colon cancers (Raloff 381-382).
Fast food has become the ideal choice for many people around the world, mainly because it is convenient, cheap, tasty, saves time. However, fast food consumption is not without negative effects, which are numerous, ranging from obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, to increased government spending on healthcare, and that is why I am against its consumption (Raloff 381-382). It is vital to point out that as much as fast food is convenient and spicy, which makes it preferable by many people, its negative health effects on consumers cannot be ignored. Therefore, there is a need to sensitize people on the impact of fast foods on human health to enable them make sound decisions with regard to fast food consumption, i.e. choosing healthy fast food options. Governments across the world should regulate the preparation of fast foods to reduce their calories within the recommended levels. In addition, healthy lifestyles such as regular exercise and healthy diet should be promoted to ensure that people live healthy lifestyles.