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Fast Food Facts: Effects of Fast Food

Uttara Manohar
They call it junk food and yet, stand in endless lines and drive-ins, paying top dollar for it. If you've given into temptation and let the effects of fast food go past you the last few times, here's a reminder...
Let's face it - The not-so-happy-meal  with the Mc-clog-my-arteries  burger is causing way more damage to our health than global warming. Junk food forms the very foundation on which the United States now stands, albeit with an obese stance. Concerns surrounding lifestyle-induced obesity even entered the White House, as First Lady Michelle Obama launched the "Let's Move!" campaign with a view to make our younger generation get up, and get moving.
The funny thing about fast food is not that it's unhealthy, or addictive. It is the fact that people have now begun to consider it regular food, as opposed to something home-cooked. So, what we have now are subs made of whole grain breads, chips with zero trans-fats, and pizzas with low-fat cheese. Yeah, like that's going to shrink anyone's waistline. The so-called "healthy" fast food variants are dangerously deceptive, and end up causing a lot of damage. Here's proof...

Effects of Fast Food on the Body

How much calorie-wise damage are we talking?

What follows may not seem like an earth-shattering reality, of course, as we all know that junk food is defined as food that's high on calories, and low on nutrition.
  • Chicken nuggets (10 pieces) contain 470 calories, 33 g fat (8 saturated), 950 mg sodium, and seem very generous with the fat content.
  • A personal-sized pepperoni pizza packs quite a punch with 700 calories, 33 g fat (10 saturated), and 1,530 mg sodium.
  • A regular meat sandwich has 410 calories, 37 g fat (17.4 saturated), and 800 mg sodium.
  • A chicken wrap gives you a wholesome 627 calories, 34 g fat (7 saturated), and 1,529 mg sodium.
  • But wait, here's the leader - a meatball footlong sandwich contains a whopping 1,000 calories, 60 g fat (30 saturated), and 2,580 mg sodium.

It can't be that bad. ...Can it?

Since you're asking for proof, here's a list -
  • Fast food is addictive for many people, and the manufacturing companies are sure to be happy with this piece of news.
  • Usually paired with a caffeinated beverage (soda or coffee), fast food eaters often have to deal with sugar addiction - the elated feeling that comes with an insulin surge.
  • With large-sized portions, they make you want to eat more than what you regularly eat.
  • Here's a bit of junk food history - In the early days of the 20th century, hamburgers were labeled as 'the food for the poor'. Low on nutrition and unhygienic, it was only served on the streets, not in restaurants.
In 2005, a girl in Sydney, Australia, fell victim to salmonella poisoning after eating a chicken twister wrap at KFC, which left her paralyzed. A court ruling in 2012 ordered KFC to pay 8 million Australian dollars to the family as compensation.

What fast food is doing to YOU

  • Regular consumption of fast food can cause a dip in the libido of both, men and women.
  • These low-nutrition meals are also known to cause depression. With no antioxidants, or omega-3, these meals lack what it takes to promote mental health.

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  • Everything 'tasty' in fast food is synthetic, and categorized as pseudostressors - preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, stabilizers, or flavor enhancers, which build stress and induce mood swings.
  • Those prone to migraines have a foe in junk food. Monosodium glutamate or MSG, which is a constant feature of processed food, is known to be a headache trigger.

Still Not Convinced?

For those of you who just can't seem to let go of the junk, here's more evidence why you should..
  • Young women who have a regular intake of junk food are highly susceptible to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
  • Pregnant women consuming a diet of fast food are more likely to give birth to obese children. These children will be at a higher risk of diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
  • Chemicals used in preservatives added to fast food can make children hyperactive.
  • Processed meats used in fast food are known to raise the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Does any of this sound appetizing? Certainly not. Fast food as a rare indulgence may be acceptable, but taking it to a point where it qualifies as gluttony is dangerous. Treat yourself to healthy, homemade food using fresh produce instead, coupling low-sodium ingredients and natural add-ons. Eat your favorite junk meal twice a month, and not more. Spread the good word.