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Fast food on health

Fast food is extremely fattening and is a major cause to this nation's obesity figures. The
obesity rates in the nation are rising at an alarming rate due to many factors, with poor
diet being the leading cause. Fast food is loaded with calories from refined sugar and fats
(especially, the artery-clogging saturated and hydrogenated fats, which are repeatedly
reheated to high temperatures for frying purposes).

It is also very high in sodium, coming from common salt and other additives. On top of
all this, fast food is deficient in dietary fiber and essential micro-nutrients like vitamins
and minerals.

To make matters worse, heaps of fast food are normally guzzled down with gallons of
sugar-rich colas – which many fast-food restaurants serve free with food as an incentive.

To make a long story short, all this results in piling up of unused empty calories in the
body, which get stored as body fat – till one day you look in the mirror and realize that
your great figure has been replaced by this creature in the mirror.

But that’s not the end of the story, it’s just the beginning – consuming too much fast food
not only turns a handsome guy into an unsightly obese man, but as Eric Schlosser points
out in his book

Many Americans are now dependent on fast food every day. Only in the last few years
have a few fast-food chains been willing to release their nutritional facts to the public.
Many that have released their nutritional facts only have the information listed on their
Web site, making it more difficult for individuals to access and almost impossible for
low-income populations who do not have access to computers.

(Elizabeth Livingston Greensboro, DECEMBER 9, 2009) suggests that all foods sold
in supermarkets are required to display the nutritional facts on the back of the box or
wrappings, so fast-food restaurants should be held to the same standard. By doing so,
American are able to see what they are putting into their bodies, perhaps many would
make the choice to eat healthier options.

McDonald’s has increased the availability of these facts by placing them on the back of
all the containers in which the food comes.
If all fast-food chains would be forced to do the same, it could make a difference in this
fast-food nation

Article from New Scientist vol 177 issue 2380. Date: 1 February 2003
Diane Martindale, Fast food domination has several implications both for the health of
individuals and for the health of the entire globe. Ultimately, people can exercise their
power of choice responsibly. Be more conscious with what they eat and where their food
came from. This is the starting point for a healthier lifestyle. If fast food has such a huge
impact on our society and economy, it is only natural that it should also have at least
some effect on our environment. Presumably, the generalization of fast food in America,
and now spreading all over the world, can lead to major negative impacts on our
environment. . If there are so many millions or even billions of hamburgers, or chicken
nuggets, or French fries sold each year, then imagine all the packaging that is thrown to
waste. "One poll showed that Americans believe fast-food packaging takes up between
20 and 30 percent of landfill space, and expanded polystyrene foam between 25 to 40
percent. However, the Garbage Project found that fast-food packaging accounts for no
more than one-third of one percent of the total volume of the average landfill."

In Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation,2001 -pg,229) summary article reviewing that the
growth of the fast food industry has reached a staggering number. Since the evolution of
fast food restaurants, the value of the all American meal has been transformed by many
means. Not only have fast food restaurants altered people's eating habits, but they have also
revolutionized the way people live and society. It is safe to say the world itself has been
affected by fast food and it's ridiculous, continual growth. The most widely recognized
brand in the world happens to be McDonalds. How could it not be the most well-know
brand with its fifteen thousand restaurants in more than 117 foreign countries? This show
that fast food has such a huge impact on our society and economy, it is only natural that it
should also have at least some effect on our environment. Presumably, the generalization of
fast food in America, and now spreading all over the world, can lead to major negative
impacts on our environment. To make sure their progress is kept alive, they manage to open
five new restaurants every single day. An average of four out of the five is overseas. In
other words, America imprints four influencing footprints a day throughout different parts
of the world. It appears that the methods and business of fast food corporations, and the
food itself, have many negative effects on society and the world.
Simiarly, the first fast food restaurant was founded in 1921 (John.W.Clark, 1965,pg
833). Since then, the chain gangs have intensely emerged throughout the decades. The
values of nutrition diminished as the demand for convenience exploded throughout
America. Perhaps they would even eat real food, rather than fries from beef extract and E.
The three thousand annual deaths as a result of weight problems would be lessened by
large. People become so used to having underpaid teenagers nuke their food for them in
such a short time, it makes cooking a healthy meal at home seem like a undesirable task.
Farmers and ranchers may even start to appear again since there would be no need to take
over their property. In the early 1960s, forty three percent of Americans were overweight;
today more than half of all you.

According to John.W.Clark, 1965,pg 837), fast food restaurants dominated fifty-one


percent of the market in 1991, leaving table-service restaurants with twenty-three percent,
and supermarkets with only fourteen percent. In their study, Fast food is everywhere. It is
available from main commercial blocks to gas service stations. In short, it is available and
accessible. This partnered with the biological propensity towards food high in fat and sugar,
leads to widespread obesity. The researchers found that fast food affinity is equated with
bad eating habits. A typical meal from a fast food restaurant, say a serving of fries and a
cheeseburger, amount to about 1,000 calories. This is about half of the recommended
dietary allowance. This is mainly because of the large portions that fast foods are
accustomed to serving. The tendency is for people to enlarge their appetites by eating
beyond their limit, because of being afraid for the food to go to waste.
Discussion

Everyone seems to agree that the "fattening" of America carries a tremendous cost, both to
individuals and society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more
than half of all Americans are either overweight or clinically obese and that the medical
costs associated with obesity approach $117 billion dollars annually. Yet, there's no general
consensus on whose fault the problem is or what to do about it. Theories on causes of
obesity range from damning condemnations of the fast food industry, overworked
Americans who have no other choice but to eat on the run, genetic factors that we can't
control, lack of exercise, psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem, and
poor consumer choices regarding their food intake, just to name a few candidates. While it
seems to be fashionable lately to latch onto a single scapegoat, the truth is more likely to be
that some or all of these factors, depending on the individual, come together to form the
perfect storm that leads to severely overweight Americans. In Fast Food Nation: The Dark
Side of the All-American Meal, Eric Schlosser(1978) makes his famous and widely
believed argument that the fast food. There may be possible theoretical explanation for
these discrepancies. First, one reviewed article by New Scientist vol 177 issues 2380. Date:
1 February 2003 may support this theoretical explanation .The critical question might be
asked regarding about fast food is:

Can you really get addicted to fast food? The evidence is piling up, and the lawyers are
rubbing their hands. Diane Martindale who is a science writer in Toronto reports, has
reported that

MIDDLE-AGED janitors rarely make their mark on science. But Caesar Barber looks like
breaking the mould. Last July, Barber, a 56-year-old diabetic and double heart-attack victim
from Brooklyn, sued McDonald's, Burger King, KFC and Wendy's, claiming that his
illnesses were partly their fault. He had eaten in their restaurants for years, he said, without
ever being told that the food was damaging his health.
Barber's class-action lawsuit was the first volley in a long-awaited legal assault against the
fast-food industry and its role in the obesity epidemic that is swamping the US health-care
system (see "Fat facts"). Inspired by the success of Big Tobacco, the lawyers behind it
believe they can force fast-food chains to meet their fair share of the enormous cost of
caring for obesity. Pulling the strings is John Banzhaf, of George Washington University
Law School in Washington DC, who masterminded the Big Tobacco crusade.

That campaign won him plaudits all over the world. But "Big Fat" is a different matter. To
many - including a federal judge who last month dismissed a similar lawsuit against
McDonald's - it seems blatantly absurd.

Surely people who become fat and ill because they have eaten too much fast food only
have themselves to blame? Perhaps not. New and potentially explosive findings on the
biological effects of fast food suggest that eating yourself into obesity isn't simply down to a
lack of self-control. Some scientists are starting to believe that bingeing on foods that are
excessively high in fat and sugar can cause changes to your brain and body that make it
hard to say no. A few even believe that the foods can trigger changes that are similar to full-
blown addiction. The research is still at a very early stage, but thanks to Caesar Barber it is
about to be thrust firmly into the limelight.

Rossetti's most recent studies have also found a connection between triglycerides and food
intake. Using a catheter implanted in the brain, Rossetti delivered lipids directly into the
arcuate nucleus - a region of the hypothalamus - to either normally fed rats or overfed rats,
and then measured their food intake for three days. In the normally fed group the excess fats
curbed food intake by up to 60 per cent. But the overfed rats just carried on scoffing. What's
more, Rossetti discovered that this effect is not dependent on the composition of the diet,
whether high-fat or high-sugar, but instead depends on the total amount of calories.

Hormonal changes may remove some element of free will, but on its own that hardly
means that fast food is addictive. However, there is another strand of research that suggests
gorging on fat and sugar causes brain changes normally associated with addictive drugs
such as heroin.

It is already well established that food and addiction are closely linked. Many addiction
researchers believe that addictive drugs such as cocaine and nicotine exert their irresistible
pull by hijacking "reward" circuits in the brain. These circuits evolved to motivate humans
to seek healthy rewards such as food and sex. Eating energy-dense food, for example,
triggers the release of endorphins and encephalin, the brain's natural opioids, which
stimulate a squirt of dopamine into a structure called the nucleus accumbens, a tiny cluster
of cells in the midbrain. Exactly how this generates a feeling of reward isn't understood, but
it is clear that addictive substances provide a short cut to it - they all seem to increase levels
of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. Repeated use of addictive substances is thought to
alter the circuitry in as yet unknown ways.

Ann Kelley, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison,


has uncovered more evidence that the release of opioids in the nucleus accumbens tells your
brain to keep eating. She found that if rats' opioid receptors are overstimulated with a
synthetic enkephalin, the rats eat up to six times the amount of fat they normally consume.
They also raise their intake of sweet, salty and alcohol-containing solutions, even when they
are not hungry.

Kelley has also discovered that rats that overindulge in tasty foods show marked, long-
lasting changes in their brain chemistry similar to those caused by extended use of
morphine or heroin. When she looked at the brains of rats that received highly palatable
food for two weeks, she saw a decrease in gene expression for enkephalin in the nucleus
accumbens. "This says that mere exposure to pleasurable, tasty foods is enough to change
gene expression, and that suggests that you could be addicted to food," says Kelley.

However, the idea that food is addictive is far from main stream. And while many
nutritionists think it is a plausible idea that deserves more research, others are skeptical.
Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a
Washington DC lobby group that focuses on nutrition, doesn't think the argument will fly.
So far, the CSPI has not seen any evidence that fast food is addictive."Considering the
paucity of evidence, I think the burden is on advocates of the addiction argument to provide
evidence of addictiveness," Jacobson says. Some practitioners also dispute the idea.
There is no reliable evidence that addiction can account for bingeing and obesity, says
Jeanne Randolph, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto who specializes exclusively in
treating obese patients. Randolph admits that the behavior of many of her patients is
remarkably similar to drug cravings: at predictable times of day, in predictable
circumstances, they describe an increasingly intense drive to obtain their preferred sugary
snack or junk food, and afterwards feel immediate relief and calm. But, she says, you can
explain this without invoking addiction. Fast food, sweets and snacks in which simple
sugars predominate can set up a cycle of instant satiation followed by a plunge in blood
sugar, which leads to a natural desire for another snack."It's a set-up for a late-afternoon
binge rather than an addiction."

The argument has a long way to go. But chances are it won't get the chance to mature
naturally. Sometime soon the allegation that fast food is addictive will be made in court, and
once that happens the terms of the debate are out of the scientists' hands. It won't make for a
scholarly discussion. But it is still a debate worth having.

In order to constitute an addiction, addictiveness has proved surprisingly hard to define,


and there are several different ways of judging whether a substance is addictive. One of the
most widely used is known as the DSM-IV criteria, devised by the American Psychiatric
Association. To be addictive, a substance has to meet at least three of the following criteria:
* Taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended
* Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use
* A great deal of time spent seeking the substance out, using it or
recovering from its effects
* Important social, occupational or recreational activities given up or
reduced because of substance use
* Continued use despite knowledge of harmful consequences
* Increased tolerance with use
* Withdrawal symptoms