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Why Fast Food is Bad for You

Updated on February 22, 2013

If you've ever wondered why fast food is bad for you, this hub page will let you have it in no uncertain terms! The dangers of fast food cannot be understated as the world's population is increasingly becoming overweight.

This is thanks largely to a shift in diet from a wholesome, home cooked diet as little as 40 years ago to a diet rich in processed, unwholesome and additive laden foods. With the ever growing proliferation of fast food outlets and restaurants coupled with huge advertising budgets, its no wonder that more and more people are flocking to eat their highly attractive products.

However, while these products might look appealing and tasty, they contain a wealth of hidden heath hazards which are not only dangerous if eaten in large quantities but are a major cause of obesity, especially in children.

Here's Why Fast Food is Bad for You

By fast food, I'm not just talking about products that are processed and pre-prepared so that they can be cooked fast and handed over to the customer within a matter of minutes, such as is popular in the almost omni-present burger and fries restaurants that are advertised on TV all the time. I'm also including a lot of stuff that you buy at the supermarket that you pop into the microwave and have a ready meal for the family in a matter of minutes.

Convenience foods, or foods that require no preparation or traditional cooking by busy mothers trying to juggle a full time job with looking after a family are equally as unhealthy and unwholesome as the burgers and pizzas you get from fast food outlets. Here's why.

Foods that are processed and made into what can best be described as ready meals often contain few in any nutritional ingredients. They are bulked out with pasta, breadcrumbs, corn flour, processed potato, processed egg and milk products as well as hydrogenated vegetable oil, saturated fats, gums, sugar substitutes etc, then made to taste good by the addition of herbs and spices, salt, monosodium glutamate and sugars. They also contain artificial colours and preservatives as well as some artificial flavourings just to complete the unhealthy package!

What is the Health Impact of Fast Food?

The impact to health from fast food is quite staggering when it is consumed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, an ever growing number of households are doing exactly that, as fewer and fewer families rely on someone doing any conventional cooking using fresh food ingredients. Far too many households feed themselves on a constant, daily diet of microwaved ready meals with very little or zero fresh fruit or vegetables. Then they "treat" themselves to a meal out, by visiting a burger or pizza restaurant, or if they're feeling in need of a healthy meal, a steak and fries restaurant!

Here's what's wrong with that.

When your diet is lacking in fresh fruit and vegetables, your intake of essential nutrients that are derived from these sources is almost zero. Your intake of dietary fiber is also low to nonexistent.By replacing fresh wholesome food with processed, additive laden food, you do the following things to your body:

  • Raise your blood pressure
  • Increase the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol
  • Retard your metabolic rate (the rate at which you digest, process and eliminate food)
  • Weaken your immune system
  • Destabilize your blood sugar levels
  • Reduce the ability of your colon to function properly

What all this does to your body is it increases your fat storage, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.

It places you at risk of strokes from high blood pressure, type II diabetes from irregular blood sugar levels, heart attacks from raised LDL cholesterol levels, cancer of the colon because it cannot process the waste products properly, more frequent illness as your immune system is compromised and a greater chance of contracting other cancers as your levels of antioxidants is so low.

It increases your chances of contracting arthritis and other inflammatory diseases at an increasingly younger age as your overall body acidity rate increases, lowering your ability to process and remove excess uric acid from your bloodstream.

It also leads to weight gain and obesity, further increasing the likelihood of strokes and heart attacks.

All in all, it paints a pretty gloomy picture. So what can you do to redress the balance?

You need to cut out most of the fast, processed food from your diet food delivery system and replace it with traditional, home cooked meals prepared and made from fresh vegetables, meat and fish. You should include fresh fruits and berries in that diet and switch to wholemeal bread and pasta to increase your body's intake of the all-important dietary fiber.

You may have spent years doing untold amounts of damage to your body, but that damage can be undone and fixed by switching your diet. Its never too late, unless you're about to check out of the hospital in a wooden box. So don't let it come to that and make the change now!

If you don't care about doing it for yourself, at least do it for your children. Show them you love them and give them a chance at living a healthy and long life by cooking them good wholesome food like your grandmother used to make for your parents and if you were lucky enough, like your parents did for you.


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  • profile image

    BenGessel 4 years ago

    When I was little, after I was able to eat regular food, my diet largely consisted of white bread, orange juice, Cheerios, other cold cereals like Kix (none of the more sugary cereals), 2% milk, soups (more like chicken noodle, not tomato) and my mom's clam chowder and golden chowder, roast chicken, canned tuna, beef, pork and other fish (like cod) to a lesser extent, mashed potatoes, corn, rice, chili/beans, LOTS of fruit (mainly apples and oranges, bananas and green grapes as well, many others), and a few veggies like green beans, lettuce, onions, carrots, celery with peanut butter, etc. and sweet peas. No tomato, and I hated lima beans, as well as melons, pecans and blueberries. Plus a bit of cheese, ice cream, chocolate pudding and my mom's chocolate chip cookies (mom's dessert stuff). So I ate well, but I probably could have had even more veggies, beans, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, etc. and replaced some of that juice with water.

    Fast forward to teen years: I was eating pretty much the same stuff, PLUS a little more ice cream/dairy, but NO/very little cheese (started to dislike medium-sharper/stronger cheese tastes around 12 yrs. old, even milder cheeses weren't very appetizing to me any more), more chicken, about the same amount of meat and seafood as before, more fruit, same amount of veggies, a little bit more pop, more water, more juice (basically more calories, but I was burning up/using a LOT more calories, etc.).

    Fast forward to adult years: I've gone from a diet heavy in red meat, juice, fresh fruit, non-gluten grains, and a few veggies and sweets, bit by bit, to a diet heavy in nuts and seeds, a WIDE, WIDE, WIDE variety of vegetables-PLENTY of them throughout the day, both cooked and eaten, fruits (especially berries when in season, dried, etc.), herbs, spices, water, and no dairy, plus, a fair amount of poultry, eggs and low/lower quantities of meat and seafood. No candy, lower quantities of juice, hardly any sweets-dark chocolate sometimes. Fast food is something I did more in my 20's, but I was never THAT into it. McDonald's chicken nuggets were my favorite item there, but yeah, I cook my own chicken now. I also don't eat very much starches any more, just brown/wild rice, potatoes, rice cereal, and a smattering of others. Fast food IS evil, and yeah, there are healthier choices now (there), but they still have the greasy, very unhealthy foods too...

  • Janice White profile image

    Janice White 4 years ago from England

    Winifred, I can see your reasoning and its tempting... but there is more to healthy eating than just calories!

  • profile image

    winfried 4 years ago

    This is one of the pages returned while googling for "why is fast food bad".

    I was wondering: Since a complete meal at a fast food place (2.000 kcal) has about the amount of calories for a whole day, why can't we just have that single meal and not eat anything else during the rest of the day?

    How can our body digest that high-calorie meal in less than a day, forcing us to eat again and gain weight?

    Thank you.

  • Janice White profile image

    Janice White 5 years ago from England

    Thanks for that wonderful story of achievement TheRealAnubis.

    Changing a diet habit that you may have had for many years is hard no matter what anyone tells you, but its possible, because when you really think about it, nothing is impossible when you have a solution to work with.

    You have shown us that it can be done. That's so important for anyone who doesn't have the self belief that they can do it too. Anyone can change their diet, they just have to want to do it enough.

  • profile image

    TheRealAnubis 5 years ago

    I was a heavy fast food / junk food eater. From there I went straight to vegetarian - and almost vegan.

    It's very difficult to maintain this type of diet due to the time it takes to plan and prepare the meals. Most of us are used to having really tasty meals ready in a relatively short time. This is one of the big hurdles to changing your diet. You will find that food that you can't eat is available EVERYWHERE, but you really have to look to find food that you can eat.

    I started with imitation bad foods, like tofu hot dogs (yummy), fake chicken patties, burgers, etc. Burger King even has a veggie burger so that you can get that fast food feel with a better choice (at least early on in your diet, that is..)

    The diet purists will frown on you eating those types of foods, but it did help me to change my taste towards better foods. The problem is that if the soy you are eating is too processed (like in most of the food listed above) then you're missing out on the good stuff.

    Once I was off the fast food, and completely off meat (yes, including fish...) for about 3 months, my cholesterol levels went from skyscraper high to within normal values!

    My tips are - don't leave the house hungry. There's a fast food joint on every corner, and there's bound to be something you love out there. If you eat something at home that you have prepared, you are way more likely to be satisfied and not eat any junk while out. You don't have to stuff yourself, but when in doubt, take a healthy snack as well!

    Of course, there are still cheats, but if you are doing it right, the stuff you used to eat just won't have the taste BANG that it used to. After 3 months with no meat, when I tried it I wasn't impressed. I loved steak, but now it's just ok. Really the only prepared meat that still has the BANG for me is Pollo Rosa Maria from Carrabba's. I know, loaded with bad stuff - but if you're going to cheat, why cram down a burger or steak that tastes mehhhh ok? And unless you're rich, you won't be able to eat at Carrabba's every day!

    Just so you don't think this is someone with their uppity "I did it in one try with no failures" stories, I am having to restart the weaning of meat because of the holidays. Once Thanksgiving rolled around, it was a cheat fest until new year's. Funny, though, the meat still tastes just ok - but that .99 cent beefy crunch burrito is pretty tasty.

    Here's to me getting back on the wagon, and maybe bringing a few of you with me on the journey to better eating!

  • profile image

    vidhyakumar 5 years ago

    Great tips! This valuable tips will be useful for those who eating fast food, must read it! but children's are additive and attractive to the junk foods, we can't able to control them, for such case is there any other healthy diet tips like fast food to prepare at home? How to teach kids about impacts of junk foods?

  • johncimble profile image

    johncimble 5 years ago from Bangkok

    yeah i love them too lol, cant help it :D

  • RichardCMckeown profile image

    RichardCMckeown 6 years ago

    I love it. No matter what :D.

  • yesitsushere profile image

    J Blanchard 6 years ago from Atlanta

    It just taste so good!

  • Janice White profile image

    Janice White 6 years ago from England

    Thanks for all the comments, fast food is tempting but a lot of that is thanks to clever marketing and advertising. They know how to make you want something! Catherine, you're right there will always be someone selling the things that people want.

    Its all about supply and demand, but the demand can be artificially inflated by advertising the supply!

  • Glemoh101 profile image

    Glemoh101 6 years ago

    Thanks for this advices ,I"m going now to stop eating fast foods

  • AutumnLockwood profile image

    AutumnLockwood 7 years ago from Northern California

    Thanks for the advice. Fast food are just too tempting. I'll try to stop eating fries.

  • catherine74 profile image

    catherine74 7 years ago from London

    It's quite shocking the things they put in processed foods. But the food we eat is a reflection of the life we lead, fast, convenience and consumer based. As long as there is a need for fast foods they'll always be someone, somewhere selling it.

  • maplethorpej profile image

    Jerad Maplethorpe 7 years ago from Minneapolis, Minn.

    Awesome! We are on the same wavelength here. I hope people will realize the effects before it's too late.

    If you're interested, check out my hub titled 'How to Combat Gluttony/Fast Food'. It's very related. Thanks.

  • Gorgeously profile image

    April Treme 7 years ago from United States

    Great vegetable information. thx

  • loveofnight profile image

    loveofnight 7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

    valuable info here......thx 4 share

  • profile image

    jdjdd 7 years ago

    i was very big till i ate vegytabls.

  • Janice White profile image

    Janice White 8 years ago from England

    Ha! I know its hard, but you can always cheat every now and again - we're only human after all!

  • jenniferhughs profile image

    jenniferhughs 8 years ago

    If only fresh vegetables tasted as good as pasta and cake!

  • Janice White profile image

    Janice White 8 years ago from England

    Good for you. I know it seems hard at first, but once you really make up your mind to do it, you'll be amazed at how you suddenly don't miss it any more.

  • Unique Kids Stuff profile image

    Unique Kids Stuff 8 years ago

    I have been trying to cut out fast food and I think after reading this I am finally going to do it.

  • Janice White profile image

    Janice White 8 years ago from England

    Thanks edguider, its true you can undo all the damage...

    As long as you don't leave it too late of course...

    Restarting a stopped heart is a real sod of a thing to do, so I hear!

  • edguider profile image

    edguider 8 years ago

    Hmmm I stopped eating at McDonalds years ago. I am now undoing the damage by eating properly

  • profile image

    skverma 8 years ago

    thanks for a valuable hub.please watch my hub and give me some advice to do better.thanks