Food is an important aspect of attaining good health because it provides nutrients to nourish the body. Types of foods include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Consumption of these food types in proper amounts promotes health and improves overall well-being. Despite the numerous benefits of proper nutrition, many people prefer to consume fast food because it is inexpensive and tasty. Fast food is not recommended by health practitioners and nutritionists because it contains high amounts of calories that do not nourish the body. In the United States of America, health conditions such as diabetes and obesity are on the rise. One of the major contributing factors is the consumption of fast food. Common effects of consumption of fast food are ill health and weight problems. People should not eat fast food because it is unhealthy, contains too many unimportant calories (saturated fats and sugar), and promotes ill health.
Fast foods such as pizza, hot dogs, pitas, hamburgers, ice cream, and potato chips contain too many calories because of the fat and sugar they contain (Schloser, 2012). The recommended calorie intake for an average person is between 400 and 600 calories per meal. The caloric content of many fast foods exceeds that amount. For example, if one eats a KFC chicken pot pie and drinks a 300 ml Pepsi, they consume a total of 960 calories (Johansen, 2012). Some of the reasons why people eat fast food include convenience and lack of sufficient time to prepared meals at home. People with demanding jobs have little time to prepare food. On the other hand, they are sweet because they contain high amounts of sugar. The effects of consuming fast foods do not emerge overnight. They accumulate over time and manifest in the form of poor health and bad eating habits (Schloser, 2012). Fast food is not bad. However, the processing it undergoes adds unhealthy amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, fats, and salt. Poor nutrition, ill health, and weight gain are the major consequences of replacing nutritious food with fast food.
As mentioned earlier, consuming fast food is one of the contributing factors to poor health. The unhealthy calories in the food lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for several chronic health problems (Johansen, 2012). Studies have shown that health problems such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease can be associated with being overweight (Marotz, 2014). Fast food is dangerous because it is very difficult to determine the number of calories they consume. People usually underestimate the caloric content of certain foods. Consumption of fast food has also been associated with type 2 diabetes (Andrews, 2012). The human digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into sugar (glucose) to provide energy to the body. The release of glucose into the bloodstream stimulates the pancreas to release insulin to aid in transportation.
The consumption of high amounts of carbohydrates alters the normal insulin response in the body and causes a spike in blood sugar levels (Johansen, 2012). Frequent rises in blood sugar levels contribute to the development of health problems, including type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. The sugar contained in processed food supplies the body with extra calories that have low nutritional value (Andrews, 2012). These extra calories cause weight gain and obesity. Studies have shown that extra weight is a contributing factor to heart disease and stroke. Fast food contains trans fats that are so unhealthy that they have been banned in some countries (Johansen, 2012). The main health effects of trans fats include elevation of LDL cholesterol levels and lowering of HDL cholesterol levels (Johansen, 2012). In that regard, they increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Fast food contains high quantities of sodium that increase blood pressure. Too much sodium results in the buildup of fluids in individuals with kidney disease and liver cirrhosis (Andrews, 2012). In addition, it may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer, kidney stones, and kidney disease.
Proponents of fast food argue that it is convenient, cheap, and tasty. In addition, they argue that fast food meals save time, they are fun and entertaining, and they are quick to prepare and serve (Best, 2017). People who lack time to prepare meals to opt for fast food. They cite convenience and speed as the main reasons for avoiding healthier alternatives. Others argue that fast food saves money and offers numerous healthy alternatives. Healthy foods are more expensive when compared to fast food. On the other hand, people save time because there is no waiting time for food to be served in fast food joints (Schloser, 2012). This works for people in corporate America who get short lunch breaks. Finally, proponents argue that there are numerous healthy fast food options available. Therefore, it is possible to make healthy choices. The demands of today’s world make it difficult for people to prepare their own food or wait in restaurants to get served (Schloser, 2012). In that regard, they turn to fast food to save time.
The argument that fast food saves time and money might be correct. However, it is misguided because the consequences of consuming high calories of low nutritional value are serious. For instance, the cost of treating the health problems associated with fast food is very high. Therefore, saving time and developing diabetes or suffering heart disease is counterproductive. Fast food offers short-time benefits but causes long-term problems (Fenster, 2012). Fast food is fattening because of its high-calorie content. The majority of the people who eat fast food are unconscious of its negative health effects. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney problems, weight gain, and stroke are examples of common health problems associated with the consumption of fast food (Fenster, 2012). It is important for people to realize that fast food provides short-term satisfaction that causes long-term dissatisfaction.
Food is an important life component because it influences people’s health and overall wellbeing. Choosing the type of foods to eat is critical and includes incorporating carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into one’s diet. Fast food has increased in popularity among young people and adults because it is inexpensive, convenient, tasty, and time-saving. It offers a wide variety of meals for people’s enjoyment. However, studies have shown that it contains high amounts of unhealthy calories that lack nutritional value. Health problems that include obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and kidney problems have been associated with the consumption of fast food. The high amounts of sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates in fast food increase the risk of poor health. It is counterproductive to save time and money and at the same time predispose oneself to long-term health problems that can be easily avoided by eating healthy food.
Andrews, R. (2012). Drop the fat act and live lean. Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company.
Best, A. L. (2017). Fast-food kids: French fries, lunch lines and social ties. New York, NY: NYU Press.
Fenster, M. S. (2012). Eating well, living better: The grassroots gourmet guide to good health and great food. New York, NY: Rowman & Little field Publishers.
Johansen, L. T. (2012). Fast food vindication. New York, NY: Lisa Tillinger Johansen.
Marotz, L. R. (20114). Health, safety, and nutrition for the young child. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
Schloser, E. (2012). Fast food nation: The dark side of the all-American meal. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.