Consumption of fast food is believed to have negative impact on physical and psychological health. Fast food is rich in glycemic load and energy densities. When consumed in excessive portions it contributes to the escalation of obesity, digestive problems, and depression. Obesity and depression have become an epidemic in countries like the US and UK due to increased consumption of fast food.
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Fast food is defined as food purchased from outlets that are self-service or take-out restaurants. A few well-known leaders in the fast food industry are MacDonald, KFC, Pepsi, etc. In the US, fast food outlets increased from 30,000 in 1970 to more than 233000 locations in 2004 (Rosenheck 535). I believe fast food negatively affects physical and emotional health of consumers.
A typical portion of fast food meal is usually very large and exceeds the average calories intake of home made food for an adult. Fast food contains more fats than can be burnt during our daily activities. Hence, regular consumption of fast food increases the chances of gaining excessive weight.
Further, fast food restaurants sell pre-specified portions which are higher than the average calorie intake of an adult. For instance, sandwiches in fast food outlets have two specific sizes – 12 and 6 inches. Research has shown that women consume 31% and men 56% more energy when they eat a 6-inch or 12-inch sandwich respectively (Ledikwe, Ello-Martin and Rolls 906).
Research on fast food snacks served to men and women has shown that women consumed 18% and men 37% more calorie than their usual energy intake (Ledikwe, Ello-Martin and Rolls 907). Fast food has high energy density as the fat content in it is very high. One can definitely state that portion size has a positive influence on the energy density of fast food, thus, increasing the calorie intake of consumers.
Fast food has high fat content. Fat, when consumed from natural sources, plays a vital role in digestion, absorption, and transportation of vitamins and fat-soluble essentials. However, fats contained in fast food are mostly saturated fats and trans fats. An adult male should not consume more than 30g and woman 20g of saturated fats, and less than 5g of trans fat in order to remain healthy (Rosenheck 536).
However, every bite of a burger consumed at a restaurant contains almost 10g of saturated fats. This is higher than what an adult male should consume. The high content of fat, salt, and sugar in fast food increases harmful bacteria content that causes indigestion. Fast foods like french fries, fried chicken, and bread use hydrogenated oil that is not good for digestion.
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Depression has become an epidemic problem. Researchers believe that food which is rich in certain substances like vitamin B, omega 3 fatty acids, and olive oil, help reduce depression (Robson par. 1), consequently, researches have connected dietary habit and nutrition to occurrence of depression. Trans fats and saturated fats in fast food increase the risk of depression among consumers.
To sum up it all, excessive intake of fast food may increase the risk of deterioration of physical and mental well-being. Health issues related to obesity or indigestion are common problems faced by consumers of fast food. Due to the lack of certain ingredients that prevent depression, fast food adversely affects mental health. Thus, over-consumption of fast food leads to physical and emotional problems.
Ledikwe, Jenny H., Julia A. Ello-Martin and Barbara J. Rolls. “Portion Sizes and the Obesity Epidemic.” The Journal of Nutrition 135.4 (2005): 905-909. Print.
Robson, David. “Is fast food making us depressed?” 14 August 2014.
Rosenheck, R. “Fast food consumption and increased caloric intake: a systematic review of a trajectory towards weight gain and obesity risk.” Obesity Reviews 9.6 (2008): 535-547. Print.