Fast food is pretty controversial. It has some advantages like saving time and money, but also some drawbacks, most of them related with one’s health condition. The popularity of fast food is on the rise in more and more countries of the world. Many people consider it a convenient source of food especially given the fact that the modern man is always in a hurry. This type of food is prepared and served very quickly and it can be excellent for busy people or for single persons who don’t have time or desire to cook. Even though it certainly comes with a bunch of advantages, there are also disadvantages of fast food which need to be considered carefully. Undoubtedly, the main advantage of fast food is the fact that it saves time. Home cooked meals don’t only require the actual time for preparing the food, but also time spent shopping and washing the dishes.
Such problems simply don’t exist when going for fast food. This is also an excellent choice for people who don’t like or don’t know to cook or for single people who don’t feel like cooking for one. Fast food is definitely cheaper, especially for people who live on their own. When cooking for a single person, you almost always end up with more food than necessary. Fast food on the other hand comes at a lower price than home cooked meals. Even though the main disadvantages of fast food are health related, people on a diet can also find good options in the menu of most fast food chains. There are salads to choose from and whole wheat breads. Some fried products also have boiled alternatives. When it comes to drinks, one can skip the sugary ones and go for fresh juices or low fat milk. Fortunately, fast food is not very rich in desserts, so there is no temptation. People can also customize their orders and exclude unhealthy ingredients like mayonnaise for instance.
Fast food opponents argue that there are many disadvantages of fast food for the health condition of the consumer. This type of food is richer in salt, fats, oils and artificial substances than home cooked meals. This increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, obesity is on the rise and it is strongly connected with the popularity of fast food. While the body definitely needs salt and fats, the amount of these ingredients in fast food is too high. Additionally, the cooking method of fast food usually implies frying which destroys most nutrients. The adverse effects of the fats, sugars, chemicals and salt in fast food are definitely enhanced by a sedentary lifestyle. In most of the cases the people who eat lots of calories from fast food don’t burn these calories because they don’t exercise enough.
The result is that the extra calories transform in fat and lead to obesity. Disadvantages of fast food are not only related with the health condition. If fast food is cheaper for a single person, things change when an entire family consumes such food regularly. Enemies of fast food also come up with the argument that eating ready to serve food reduces the quality time that a family can spend together cooking and eating. Ordering and eating in a fast food restaurant is very quick and people don’t take the time to enjoy food and to chat while eating.
While there are undeniable benefits of fast food, there are also aspects which should worry regular consumers. As always, moderation is needed in consuming this type of food. Occasional visits at a fast food restaurant are not as harmful, especially if they are combined with plenty of physical activity. However, a sedentary lifestyle and constant consumption of fast food can lead to health problems.
More than 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States itself, and over 8000 KFCs in 80 countries, only goes to reflect the popularity of fast food all over the world. Food that is prepared and served quickly is termed as ‘fast food’. Such type of food suits perfectly into the fast paced life of a working individual. There is nothing more than ready-made food that a hard-working professional living in the city away from family could ask for. However, those who are against fast food highlight the adverse effect that it has on our health. Despite all the debate about the advantages and disadvantages that fast food has, the industry is flourishing. Is fast food good or bad? The most evident advantage of fast food is that it saves time.
In today’s fast-paced life, there is nothing better than getting a ready meal. No matter how much the chefs praise the benefits of fresh food, at the end of a hard-working day, when one returns home all tired and hungry, a pizza or a burger can be godsend. Besides the time an individual has to spend in the kitchen, cooking a meal also requires one to make a trip to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for the dish. Then there is the added effort and time consumed in washing and peeling the vegetables. All this makes eating fast food score more preferably over cooking a meal for a busy individual. Besides time, cost saving gives fast food an edge over the meal prepared in the kitchen. If one lives alone, then it is cheaper to buy a meal at the supermarket instead of cooking it at home. Also certain fast foods like fries and burgers come pretty cheap. Fast food does raise health concerns. However, if careful, you can find some options on the menu of a fast food restaurant that could be healthier.
Salads are a smart choice. Go for bread products that are made from wheat bread. Opt for lean meat. If you could choose between the fried and boiled options, order the boiled preparation. Avoid ordering carbonic drinks when you are thirsty. Go for fruit juices, low-fat milk, diet soda. Is there anything better than plain water to quench your thirst? These days, nutrition information of the food served (and ingredients used) is displayed in the menu card. You could always resort to the ‘make to order’ option that certain fast food outlets offer, where you could restrict the use of ingredients that are not healthy. As dessert does not play an important role in the fast food meal menu, you can keep yourself away from delicious and tempting sugary dishes. Usually, fast food is higher in soya, fat, sugar, oil, fried meat, salt, cheese, mayonnaise and obviously calories.
The greatest disadvantage of fast food is the adverse effect that it has on one’s health. It is a fact that fast food is more unhealthy than home-cooked meals, as it contains higher amounts of unwanted nutrients like salt, fat and various types of additives (artificial chemicals). It may contain harmful bacteria too. Frying destroys most of the essential nutrients from the food. Very small amounts of vegetables and fruits are normally present in fast food. Moreover, ‘serving larger portions’ when most people don’t need extra portions has led to several health problems. We require a small amount of salt to maintain the health of the cells and tissues. Fast food being rich in salt, adversely affects the heart health and the overall health of an individual.
Such type of food is an important contributor to obesity in the American population. Obesity is on the rise, and a direct link is being cited between fast food and obesity in children. Given the sedentary lifestyle that we lead today, the excess fats and calories that we take in with fast food is not used up completely. The result is that these accumulate in our body as fat deposits that cause complications like cardiovascular diseases and other related diseases of the heart. With obesity come other problems like high blood pressure and diseases of the joints. It is like a chain reaction set off by fast food and carried forward by our unhealthy lifestyle. In fact, a recent study has shown that people who live within walking distance of a fast food restaurant are at 13% higher risk of suffering from strokes than those who live a considerable distance away.
The greater the number of people at a meal in a fast food restaurant, the larger is the bill. Eating at fast food outlets is economical only for a single person. Going out to a fast food eating joint with family once in a while won’t matter much. However, frequent visits to such restaurants with one’s family can become quite an expensive affair, besides being unhealthy. Fast foods joints are also being seen as a factor that is making a number of families spend less and less time together. Family meal time is something that is considered as an opportunity for all the members to come together and share their experiences.
However, the fast food centre is quickly eating into this quality time. This is especially true about youngsters for whom a fast food centre is a good place to hang out with friends and peers. Fast food is an invention of the modern times. Ready-made food being served fast and right in front of us is like a blessing after a hard day’s work. However, like everything, it has its own pros and cons. Citing a few points about the advantages of fast food does not mean that I am denying its drawbacks. It is a fact that high amounts of fats and salt in fast food are raising concerns about their adverse effect on health. However, by making some smart choices while placing the order and also resorting to an active lifestyle, we can definitely minimize the drawbacks of fast food.