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Why You Should Avoid Eating Fast Food.

Updated on July 1, 2011


Tastes even better than it looks. Is it worth it?
Tastes even better than it looks. Is it worth it? | Source

Can I have a large..

French Fries don't count as a vegatable do they?
French Fries don't count as a vegatable do they? | Source

What is Fast Food?

In modern American society it is almost impossible to find someone that does not eat fast food occasionally. The allure of the quick "fix" that fast food offers is irresistible to many people.

What is fast food?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines fast-food as follows:

  1. of, relating to, or specializing in food that can be prepared and served quickly <a fast–food restaurant>
  2. designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and with little consideration given to quality or significance <fast–food TV program>

What is fast food really? When fast food comes to mind, I immediately associate it with definition number 2. This is due to the low quality of most fast foods. Here are a few ways that I define fast food when faced with a culinary conundrum.

  • Drive through window: The presence of a drive through window is not mandatory for a restaurant to be considered fast food. If the window is present, and food is served through this window, then it is to be defined as a fast food restaurant.
  • Limited Menu selection: Menu is generally focused on one niche, such as; burgers, fries, tacos, chicken etc. Although their may be other possible food types that emerge as this industry continues to evolve.
  • Dining Ware: All eating utensils, plates, containers and beverage cups will be disposable. There are exceptions, some establishments provide glasses, ceramic plates, metal utensils to dine in customers.
  • Wait Service: Typically fast food establishments do not provide wait service. The customer picks up their food at the counter, carries it to the table, then disposes of the trash at the end of the meal. A few fast food restaurants provide wait service. Beware of the masquerade, if the menu appears to be fast food, and a drive through window is present, it is still fast food.
  • Restaurant Operations: This involves discretion on the part of the customer. If it appears that the employees are mass producing food, instead of preparing a meal, then you may be in a fast food restaurant.

How often do you eat fast food?

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Fast food has grown in popularity at an almost exponential rate since the inception of White Castle in 19162. In industrialized nations around the world, fast food has become a phenomena that many partake of on a regular basis.

In 1970 Americans spent $6 billion on fast food. The amount that Americans spend on fast food has increased steadily to an estimated $110 billion in 20002 (statistics not adjusted for inflation).

This alarming trend is not indigenous to the United States, the viral spread of fast food has migrated to foreign markets as well. McDonald's alone boasts restaurants in 126 different countries on 6 different continents (watch out Antarctica, your next), with over 31,000 restaurants world wide2.

Obesity and Fast Food?

The increase of obesity and fast food sales are easily tracked here. As fast food sales increased from $6 billion in 1970 to $110 billion in 2000, the obesity rate also steadily climbed, coincidence?
The increase of obesity and fast food sales are easily tracked here. As fast food sales increased from $6 billion in 1970 to $110 billion in 2000, the obesity rate also steadily climbed, coincidence?

How do you feel?

I'll start eating right.. After I have my first heart attack!
I'll start eating right.. After I have my first heart attack! | Source

The Physical and Financial Toll.

Now that we have covered some of the background information, we can take a look at the issues surrounding the consumption of fast food.

Obesity: As the chart shows, obesity has been increasing steadily for years. Although there are other contributing factors, the correlation between the increase in America's waist lines and fast food sales cannot be denied. Obesity and the consumption of high cholestrol, high fat foods can lead to a variety of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes

Cost: As we all know with the current economic downturn, prices are up, wages are down, and many Americans have ended up in debt. When eating out (not just fast food) we spend much more money than the equivalent amount of food would have cost at the grocery store. In hard economic times the sensibility of eating at an establishment that may provide substandard food at an increased cost should be carefully considered.

The Restaurant.

If you have ever known anyone that has had the misfortune of working in the fast food industry, you are probably aware of some of the more dubious practices that occur in such an establishment. Although there are some reputable establishments in the industry, there are some possibilities for disaster that you need to be aware of.

  • The Food: Although not all fast food can be classified as "processed," much of the menu items come prepared from a factory/commissary type location and only require brief reheating. Due to the nature of the environment especially during peak business hours, the employees responsible for food preparation maybe working at break neck speed as well as being expected to multi-task. Multi-task you ask? Yes, some locations the person who handles the money/cash register transactions will also come into contact with various food items. Since they are in a "hurry" they may neglect to wash their hands or put gloves on. Although this is against most restaurants policies (as well as the health dept.) the employee may commit this grievous indiscretion for the sake of keeping customers happy. When the food is prepared as fast as humanly possible, there is the potential that it will be extremely messy. Sandwiches thrown together with condiments haphazardly squirted on them, wrapped up, then "on to the next one."
  • The Help: Although there are many very intelligent and well educated individuals that work in the fast food industry, they are often the exception rather than the norm. Most of these establishments have incredibly low hiring standards, this can lead to some rather suspect characters having access to your food. Keep a few of these examples in mind the next time that you are ordering at a fast food restaurant.

Teenagers: There just to make a few bucks and hopefully meet members of the opposite sex. A few of them legitimately care about the quality of service they provide. The rest of them are being overwhelmed by hormones and could care less about you and your food.

Convicted Felons: Imagine the recently released sex offender allowed freedom to roam around. Talking to the teenagers, cleaning the restroom, dining rooms and childrens play area. I know they need jobs to so they can become a productive member of society, but the idea of having them that close to the public with a limited amount of supervision disturbs me.

Drug Addicts: Many fast food facilities do not perform drug screens on new hires. This provides them with an unlimited pool of applicants with a very low expectation of career mobility. If one quits,dies, is arrested, becomes sober or is fired, they simply hire another one.

Other ne'er do well's (It's a real term): This title is reserved for the "rest of them."

Their are many fine hard working honest Americans that are employed in the fast food industry. If you ever talk with them about their job, the co-workers that are listed above will undoubtedly come up. When visiting one of these glorious establishments, you may have the privilige of being served by a true working class, red blooded American, or you may have the misfortune of dealing with one of those "personalities".

An eye opener!

What's the cost?

As fast food permeates American culture, it has fueled a general mindset throughout the nation that "faster is better." If many of us stop and perform deep introspection, we will find that this is not the case. Much of the happiest times of our lives is when we have not been hurried, or taken short cuts (unless you are visiting the in-laws).

Families taking the time to cook a meal together has practically became non-existent. Time that was once spent sitting around the table at dinner and having a legitimate discussion has now been replaced with eating as fast you can in a restaurant, in a car, or in front of a television/computer.

Cooking Skills are on the decline as most of America's young people have not been exposed to home food preparation.

With the current trends of obesity, debt and the deterioration of American moral values, we have to wonder if many of the "breakthroughs" of the past century have been a negative influence. The propagation of the fast food phenomena is only one example of a catalyst that has lead to the break down of American society.


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    • Rabadi profile image

      2 years ago from New York

      LOVE fastfood sometimes but I must admit you are right fast food is unhealthy, I'm going to pass this article along to friends, mind checking out some of my hubs? By the way I am now following you as a friend. Keep writing :)

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Phil, You should be delighted that your family is not over weight! I think that obesity is the plague of modern America. It's gotten to the point that it is even affecting military recruitment.

      Unfortunately most Americans do not see the benefit of actually sitting down and enjoying a meal together..

      All great change in America begins at the dinner table.

      -Ronald Reagan

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      1. In Praise of Slow gives an excellent reasoning behind eating slowly and with friends and family.

      2. Our family does occasionally eat fast food, but it is not a habit of ours to do it regularly.

      3. We do eat together as a family quite regularly as this is something my wife and I feel is very important as a way to raise our children.

      4. I'm glad you wrote this to hopefully convince some over-weight families to take it easy on the fast food. None of my family is over weight, fortunately.

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Moe, Speaking of a Dairy Queen Franchise.. Tuesday I was traveling and needed to stop for a restroom break. I stopped at a DQ, used the restroom &.... Succumbed to the temptation of purchasing a peanut butter shake! It was very good! Enjoy Subway Saturday with your folks. Thanks for the comment.

    • Carolyn Moe profile image

      Carolyn Moe 

      7 years ago

      Yes, bib (if I may... te he) please call me Moe... I love it... at any rate I grew up on fast food in that, when I was 12 my dad bought some Dairy Queen franchise... I ate PLENTY of that stuff... interesting side bar -- while I worked there watching all these small town "Mayberry" characters as "grist" for my writers mill, I later wound up in a local psych unit with one of our best customers... a diebetic who later had to have a leg amputated... she was non-ambulatory when I last saw her in the hospital... side bar on the other side of your page... te he... my 83 year old dad is taking my 81 year old mom, my sister and I to lunch at Subway on Saturday... he thinks/knows they have such good food and wouldn't think of paying for any expensive Dairy Queen garbage!... your articles' hit close to my heart... thanks. p.s. I just joined tops and am writing a hub on it.

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Matty, Occasionally my wife and I will get desperate and eat Wendy's, but it something that we try to avoid.. It's hard on your wallet and your waist! Thanks for the comment!

    • Matty Says profile image

      Matt Stupar 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      That spending increase on fast food is astounding!

      $110 billion in 2000? Yikes. I'm sure it's not getting any smaller either.

      I avoid fast food if I can, and if the money is tight, then I usually hit up a Subway or Wendy's for a slightly healthier menu.

      Of course, my favorite t.v. show is Man vs. Food, so I don't know what that says...I guess I live vicariously through the television. :)

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Greg, I've never read sugar blues. I'll have to check that one out. I do know that soda and fast food makes me gain weight almost IMMEDIATELY. I would cook more at our house, but my wife is so picky it is pretty much pointless. She immediately breaks out into a cold sweat if she thinks that I may have tainted her food with one of those vile spices.. Thanks for the Comment!

    • Greg Sage profile image

      Greg Sage 

      7 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      I'm the one that does most of the cooking in our house, and I love taking that time to create something. Before having a family, I don't think I would have understood that.

      We eat very healthy here. Have you ever read "Sugar Blues?" That one really helped me understand a lot of problems I was having years ago, and the connection to diabetes, etc.

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Cookie512, Thanks for the comment, I really appreciate it!

    • cookie512 profile image


      7 years ago

      this is great! Please check this out! and please comment and follow me! it would be much appretiated! thanks :)

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Mohammad, thanks for the comment!

    • mohammad qadee profile image

      mohammad qadee 

      7 years ago from awarta - nablos= Palestine

      thank you for the important Information

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Moe (if I may), thanks for the comment. God didn't create us to eat all of our calories in one sitting, with very little nutritional value. He meant for us to take our time, fixing it ourselves, or as a way to humbly serve another person. The industrialization of food, and the subsequent increase in consumption is one of the causes for the downward spiral that we're seeing in America. Of course we don't want to exaggerate or demonize fast food, it is probably more of a situation that is indicative of a lack of self control on a national level. Thanks!

    • biblicaliving profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Hyphen, we only eat fast food if we are away from home as a last resort. Well, I use "we" loosely.. My wife loves fast food. Recently she has cut it out of her diet, and I am so proud!

    • Carolyn Moe profile image

      Carolyn Moe 

      7 years ago

      I had a psychiatrist tell me that a diet that takes longest to cook is better than fast foods eaten quickly.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      We do not eat fast food and seldom any sit down establishment. When I cook, I know what is in the food. The fewer ingredients, the better. When one looks at the long list of preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients on packaged foods it should stop a person from buying it. All the junkie foods are gross to me and I would rather be hungry until I can get healthful, wholesome food.

      Great Hub you have here.


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