Obesity in America is triggered by a number of factors but fast food contributes to this greatly. Obesity has become a problem not only in the United States but also in Europe and it has even spread to Asia. Our culture is so greatly intermixed with our habits (and eating ones not in the last place) that no wonder fast food has long become an inseparable part of it.
It all started in 1950’s and with the passing time fast food has gained the popularity and appeal of convenient and “comfort” snack. The whole concept of fast good is efficient in terms of our lives being far too busy with little time left for normal healthy snacks let alone something cooked. Therefore, so many people opt for meals that seem tasty and do not require any preparation.
Fast food does not bear such name by coincidence. In order to produce it cheap labor, cheap ingredients, and cheap packaging is used. It all affects the price and time. Pre-cooked meals are easy to handle and convenient to store as they can be kept in refrigerators for a rather prolonged period of time (months, and even years) and not get spoilt. These foods contain special preservatives that allow such long storage. Among them are partially hydrogenated “trans” fats and sodium benzoate. They are artificially flavored so that the product looked and smelled fresh and appealing. Besides, all the sugary, salty and fatty ingredients as well as special chemicals are added almost individually to every item – all for the sake of your craving development. Take French fries, for instance. They are deprived of any nutritious value, are extremely salty and they make you to order…right, a large Coke to satiate the thirst.
But apart from the unhealthy ingredients fast food contains substances that evoke addiction. Take sugar, it is found in every product you buy in McDonalds. What it does is actually evokes a sugar-spikes followed by a sugar-lows. That is why you feel the need to have more every time. Moreover, sugar laden foods trigger the release of dopamine (it is a neurotransmitter in the brain). The reaction resembles the one when a person gets a dose of cocaine and feels in a certain way, which is fraught with psychological addiction. Therefore you drive to a given fast food restaurant and eat there or order to carry-out – this is a need (or even the necessity) already.
Moreover, the servings have become not the ones they used to be. The drinks that used to be called “medium” in the 50’s now appear to become “children’s size”. The amount of calories obtained with one serving used to be a quarter or a third of a person’s daily norm. Nowadays they serve 2000 calories and more all in one single meal. Not only portions have become larger but they turned into a essentially nutritionless calorie-bombs.
One more issue is “budget options” in the menu that are offered to the customers. They include foods that are high in cheap artificial chemicals and also in calories. Such meals are cheap, for sure, but the medal has got a reverse side as well. They contain high fructose corn syrup (which is highly unhealthy); and in the end you will have to pay more…but by your medical bill. Fast food restaurants have got even more appeal to parents: no need to spend time cooking, free baby sitter, and kids are happy…
Fast food and obesity are interconnected in any way possible. Perhaps, some people after reading this article will think about the pros and cons of fast food and start to choose something healthier and more natural. Workouts, home-made meals, and natural healthy foods will always be the winner of the competition when it comes to health and struggle with obesity.