The aspects of fast food, and related issues, generally entail numerous facts and considerations, and, all the research papers, which argue on the matters of fast food often touch upon the aspects of history, popularity, and harm. Originally, these are the most popular aspects of fast food research, and, it should be emphasized that few touch upon the aspects of alternatives. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the factors, associated with fast food alternatives and challenges, which may arise while implementing healthy fast food.
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Whether Fast Food is Really Harmful
The issues of harm, associated with the consumption of fast food have been already discussed widely by numerous researchers. Surely, the amounts of fats, cholesterols, sodium, and calories, in general, are immense, which makes fast food not only harmful but even dangerous in some measures for health and life. Nevertheless, few state, that the main danger is covered not in the amounts and power of harm factor, but in the regular consumption of fast food, especially by inactive people. Those, who restrict their ambitions in consuming fast food, and prefer various alternatives are not endangered, nevertheless, there are people of various origins who prefer fast foods to any other food, independently on the warnings, or even regardless of the worsening of health. As it is stated in Ritzer (562):
In a research experiment done by Pediatrics, 6,212 children and adolescents ages 4 to 19 years old were examined to find out some information about fast food. After interviewing the participants in the experiment, it was discovered that on a given day 30.3% of the total sample have reported having eaten fast food. Fast-food consumption was prevalent in both males and females, all racial/ethnic groups, and all regions of the country. Children who ate fast food, compared with those who did not, consumed more total fat, carbohydrates, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Children who ate fast food also ate less fiber, milk, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables.
In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that the real value of fast food researches is explained by the stated statistical information, thus, all the potential risks may be easily analyzed and applied for any research.
The risk factors of fast food consumption are high blood pressure, obesity, and related heart diseases. Nevertheless, there is a strong stereotype on the matters of fast food, as people believe that all fast foods are dangerous and harmful. Most fast-food chains also offer vegetarian foods, low-fat (diet) meals, and beverages (like sugar-free sodas, low-fat milkshakes, etc). Thus, these foods are healthier, and often entail all the features, why fast food is preferred: these are tasty, fast, available for eating on a go, and caloric enough. (Van Giezen, 24) Moreover, soups are also available for daily meals, and consumers have an opportunity to order a cream-free soup, thus, lowering the fat rates in the daily ration. Consequently, the values of alternatives are rather high, as they may lower the obesity and heart disease rates.
Consuming Fast Food Alternatives. Challenges
Originally, the main part of the consumers of fast food do not mention and take into consideration the fat and cholesterol values when ordering meals in fast-food chains. If these values are not emphasized in commercials, and social advertisements, the implementation of the diet fast foods will be useless. (Mechling and Cronin, 234) Thus, people should be aware of the matters of harm and alternatives for staying fit and healthy. The main problem of health care, which is challenged, is the ignorance of publicity, as most people do not care about their own health, and the health of their children letting them consume fast foods in unrestricted amounts. Consequently, the obesity rates grow and slowly becoming the norm of everyday life. Nevertheless, as fast-food chains provide the opportunity for health worsening, similarly, they may become the initiators of a healthy way of life, offering healthy foods instead of trans fat foods, large portions of caloric foods, and food with carcinogens. Thus, the largest fast-food chains often offer vegetable salads and fruit meals, which are tasty and not as caloric as various burgers. Moreover, fast-food chains, which offer healthy alternatives to fast food are constantly appearing, providing consumers with all the required menus, for the visitors had an opportunity to consume healthy, low fat and, low cholesterol and low caloric foods. Additionally, as it is stated by Alter (173): “Most fast-food chains and restaurant chains provide their nutrition information online. Thus, people, who care about their health should resort to search engines to find all the required information and assess the nutritional data of the foods.”
Finally, it should be emphasized that fast food consumption is closely associated with the increasing rates of obesity and heart deceases. Nevertheless, healthy alternatives of fast food exist, and they are healthy, caloric, and tasty, nevertheless, the greatest challenge is the ignorance and lack of the required information.
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Alter, David A., and Karen Eny. “The Relationship between the Supply of Fast-food Chains and Cardiovascular Outcomes.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 96.3 (2005): 173
Mechling, Linda C., and Beth Cronin. “Computer-Based Video Instruction to Teach the Use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices for Ordering at Fast-Food Restaurants.” Journal of Special Education 39.4 (2006): 234
Ritzer, George. McDonaldization of society. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Pine Forge Press, 2004.
Van Giezen, Robert W. “Occupational Wages in the Fast-Food Restaurant Industry.” Monthly Labor Review 117.8 (2008): 24