Last updated date: 08-Oct-2021
Originally Written in English
Delicious Evil – Effects of fast food to your daily life
Many historians agree that the American company White Castle (showcased in the 2004 movie titled “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”) was the first fast food outlet, starting in Kansas in 1916 with food stands and eventually founding in 1921 with actual restaurants. They started by selling hamburgers for five cents apiece which started the revolution of myriad competitors and emulators popping up in every city across the United States offering burgers, hot dogs and fried chicken – all served fast and ready to eat, a convenience that allowed more people (mostly women) to enter the workforce. Some say the reasoning is the opposite, that the women entering the workforce due to lack of laborers in the civilian sector due to many men having entered major wars created this vacuum to be filled which in turn led to the spectacular growth of the fast food industry.
Initially, fast food was simply regular staples of the American diet cooked fast in a Ford type of assembly line cooking with normal ingredients most households would use on a daily basis. In other words, fast food was not any worse in terms of ingredients than food cooked at home. For example, McDonalds from its inception only used natural lard to fry its fries, which is now known to be much better for health than the trans fats and GMO-derived plants-based oils used today, which may sound better but is actually bad for health. Also, initially fries were simply potatoes sliced up to size and fried with a sprinkle of salt – very simple ingredients. However, today the modern fries are complicated in recipes with proprietary coatings that help them stay crispy far longer than if simply potatoes alone were used. The same goes for burgers and chicken, which are now often filled with additional ingredients to improve tastes, keep its shape longer and to lower costs by using fillers. In other words, as larger corporations began consolidating the industry and respond to shareholders for constantly increasing profits, quality of food actually decreased dramatically to the point where today the phrase “fast food” is synonymous with “junk food” in many parts of the developed world. In addition to lower quality fats, flavor enhancers and preservatives, modern fast food is loaded with sugars in various forms – but most commonly in the form of GMO derived corn syrups as it is versatile in use and low cost, which adds to the appeal to the fast food makers and distributors are it increased their profit margins. As many know these days, sugar in large amounts is detrimental to health adds greatly to obesity. Sugars add appeal to the flavors but adds calories without much nutrition, leading the public to often use the term “empty calories” as fast food filled with sugars tend to be devoid of nutrition. Since satiety from consuming sugars is lacking, people who are accustomed to eating foods loaded with sugars are prone to overeating and results in many problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart problems.
Ever since the fast food industry truly took off since the 1950’s in strong form, the average weight of people living in nations with heavy fast food consumption has increased steadily. Ad with increased obesity a whole host of health issues ensued and are still with us in many parts of the world. The trend seems to continue as people live a very busy life, with many households having two working parents limiting the time they can spend home cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients. Many try to counteract the ill effects of fast food consumption with exercise at the gym, but there is a limit as to what that can do given the busy lives of many in the modern world. The best solution seems to be to limit the intake of modern fast foods, which are inevitably filled with components that are better left at the laboratories than in your digestive system.
Luckily, some newer fast food chains are focusing on better ingredients and the new trend seems to have traction with a segment of the population. However, the damage done by the fast food industry in the past decades will take some time to remedy and regain the critical consumer’s trust. Yes, fast food is convenient and economical at the consumption point but can get expensive at the tail end if one suffers the consequences of prolonged exposure to junk foods.
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