In today’s age of convenience, fast food needs no introduction. Everyone from a 2-year-old toddler to a 60-year-old grandpa seems to be enjoying it every chance they get. And why not? It’s delicious, it’s filling, is really affordable, and readily available just any time of the day, being only a drive through phone call away. What more can you ask for when you are living life in the fast lane?
Well, plenty “fast food is all good tasting”, except that it is not nutritionally balanced and, therefore, unhealthy in the long run if consumed on a regular basis. Fast food is loaded with calories from refined sugar and fats (especially, the artery-clogging saturated and hydrogenated fats, which are repeatedly reheated to high temperatures for frying purposes). It is also very high in sodium, coming from common salt and other additives.
On top of all this, fast food is deficient in dietary fiber and essential micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals. To make matters worse, heaps of fast food are normally guzzled down with gallons of sugar-rich colas which many fast-food restaurants serve free with food as an incentive.To make a long story short, all this results in piling up of unused empty calories in the body, which get stored as body fat untill one day you look in the mirror and realize that your great figure has been replaced by this creature in the mirror.
But that’s not the end of the story, it’s just the beginning. Consuming too much fast food not only turns a handsome guy into an unsightly obese man, but as Eric Schlosser points out in his book it is a big health hazard too.
And being physically inactive only adds to the problem of obesity. Not many people who love fast food are ready to acknowledge that obesity is not simply an eyesore. It is a major risk factor for a large number of deadly diseases like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and even many types of cancers.
Recent scientific studies have shown that high-calorie foods rich in fats, refined sugar and salt could reconfigure the hormones in the body in such a way that they make you crave for such foods and always leave you asking for more.
In other words, fast food is kind of addictive; you get hooked on to it and continue consuming it in an uncontrolled way in spite of knowing that it is unhealthy. The more you consume, the more difficult it is for you to opt for healthy foods.
The situation is worse in case of children who from a very young age get hooked on fast food. Making them change their food habits from fatty and sweet foods and develop a taste for health-promoting fruits and vegetables is a task easier said than done. Such children would grow up to be obese adults who have never felt the advantages of being a healthy weight.
To sum up, consuming fast food on a regular basis leads to many health hazards. But bringing about changes in eating habits is not easy.
To start with, a simple change that one could make is to successively reduce the frequency of eating fast food and eat more frequently home-cooked food, with plenty of fresh foods and vegetables.
If your a female there is a great free support group called Diet Bug. They are there to encourage and help you. Slowly your taste will change and your body will respond with new found energy. That doesn’t mean you can never have fast food again. All it means is that you cut the fast food way back. I still occasionally (once a month) will have my #1 at McDonalds. Big Mac Rules!
Fast Food Effects On Childhood Obesity
As the number of obese children in America grows, so do the health problems that are a direct result of the fast food effects on childhood obesity. Statistics show that between 10% and 15% of today’s children are already obese, and this does not include the children that are at risk for quickly becoming obese.
There are a number of factors that are related to the rise of obesity in children in the United States, including television, video games, advertising, and the foods children eat.
One of the biggest culprits is the high consumption of fast food among children, and while an occasional stop at McDonald’s probably will not lead to obesity, it is the children who are consuming fast food on a regular basis that are at such a high risk.
With the hectic lives of many parents and their children, many times instead of a healthy well balanced meal, people are turning to fast food for a quick fix at mealtime.
This quickly becomes a habit in the lives of many people and some children end up eating fast food meals almost every day.
Uninformed parents may wonder why fast food is such a bad choice for children, but once people realize that the consumption of fast food leads to consuming more calories, more fat, more sugars, and more carbohydrates, the fast food effects on childhood obesity becomes clear.
One average, if your child eats fast food only 2-3 times each week, this can result in an extra six pounds gained every year, which can quickly add up. If your child eats fast food every day, then he or she is likely to gain even more weight.
For parents to understand completely how fast food is causing their child to become obese, they need to take a closer look at the nutritional facts surrounding the food their children eat.
For example, if your child wants one double cheeseburger, a large order of fries, and a large coke, your child will end up consuming 1340 calories and 53 grams of fat in one meal.
In general adults only are to consume about 2000 calories a day, and children less than that, so in one meal a child has consumed almost an entire day’s worth of calories and fat. Add a small vanilla shake to that meal and you get a whopping total of 1760 calories and 63 grams of fat.
When you take the time to actually see what children are eating, it becomes very apparent why so many children are dealing with obesity. See our page on the obesity cure.
Saying you’ll never let your child eat fast food again may be a bit extreme, but in their best interest you should try to cut down fast food consumption to only a couple times each month. By cutting the amount of fast food your child consumes you will help them eliminate a number of the fast food effects on childhood obesity.
Parents need to remember that obesity is serious and can lead to a variety of health problems, both as a child and as an adult. If you want to protect your child from serious health problems such as diabetes, heart attacks, and liver disease, then it is time to take control and start limiting the amount of fast food in their diet.
Fast Food Health Issues
Fast food is the food of choice for many busy, stressed-out people. leading to all kinds of fast food health issues. After all, what can be that wrong with chicken nuggets, french fries and of course the all beef pattie? It all depends on how they are cooked and what is really in them.
Did you know that chicken nuggets usually contain beef extract and twice as much fat as a hamburger? We think we are making a healthy choice only to be making a worse one. The real problem with fast foods is that they are high in saturated fats, high in simple sugars and low in fiber and nutritional value. You might get away with eating it occasionally, but not very often.
The rapid increase in the incidence of adult diabetes has been linked to the standard American diet and it’s high percentage of good old fast food.
Insulin resistance, which is the first stage in this disease can also cause rapid weight gain which can be very hard to lose.
The hormones start getting out of balance and the body doesn’t work like it use to. Diabetes is a far more dangerous disease than many people credit, causing blindness and circulatory problems which can lead to limb amputation.
Yet, it is largely self-inflicted. Our diet and lifestyle create the conditions that cause diabetes; they can also reverse those conditions if we change them for the better.
The obesity which results not only from the high caloric content of fast food, but also because of this cycle of insulin resistance, can put pressure on the heart and increase the risk of cardio-vascular illnesses.
The saturated fat content of a fast food diet will coat the arteries with plaque, reducing your lifespan and further increasing your risk of heart attack and even stroke.
This an ever increasing problem, as each generation who has been brainwashed by fast food advertising and the quick hunger cure reaches adulthood and continues with their bad eating habits they picked up as kids.
Type-2 diabetes used to only appear in adults but increasingly, teenagers and even younger children are beginning to show signs of it. This is no accident. As our lifestyles get more and more hectic, there is less and less time to prepare a good healthy meal so we roll through the drive-thru and pick up our quick fix and head to the next stressing activity.
To reverse this merry-go-round type of lifestyle means getting out the pots and pans and cooking some good old fashioned home cooking. You know the type I’m talking about where you prepare the food from scratch and then you all sit down at the table as a family and eat and bond and really get to know each other.
Fast food started out to be a treat, but then it went to “must have”. It’s time to get back to the treat stage with fast food and limit our intake. I would be the first to admit that McDonalds french fries are hard to resist. Just don’t eat them every day.
Parents need to be aware that many fast food chains market directly to children. Unhealthy eating habits will affect their whole lives. We need to eat diets high in fresh vegetables and fruits with some whole grains and good lean meat for protein.
We also must ensure we have adequate nutritional intake. People with diabetes, obesity and even acne have been found to be deficient in zinc, chromium and the B vitamins. Therefore it may be a good idea to supplement with these vitamins and minerals as well as improving your diet in order to reverse the effects of a long term junk food diet and the fast food health issues that go along with it.