Effects of Fast Food

Topics: Nutrition, Fast food, Junk food Pages: 6 (1720 words) Published: February 12, 2013


Junk food is typically defined as foods with little nutritional value that are high in calories, fat, sugar, salt, or caffeine. It is widely believed that the term was coined by Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972. Common junk foods include salted snack foods, gum, candy, sweet desserts, fried fast food, and carbonated beverages.

The convenience, price and predictability of fast food makes it a frequent meal choice for many people. However, as consumption of fast food has risen over the last three decades, so too have occurrences of several health issues and diseases related to fast food and unhealthy eating habits. Eaten regularly, fast food can put you at an increased risk for developing diabetes, heart disease or obesity.

The fast food industry in India has evolved with the changing lifestyles of young Indian population. The sheer variety of gastronomic preferences across the regions has brought about different modules across the country. Many of the traditional dishes have adapted to suit the emerging fast food outlets. The basic adaption is to decrease the processing and serving time.


A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny at the Scripps Research Institute (2008) suggested that junk food consumption alters brains activity in a manner similar to addictive drugs like cocaine or heroin. 

The increase of junk food is directly associated with the increase in obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, tooth decay, and other diseases.

Fast Food Contributes to Obesity
Fast food is a major contributor to rising occurrences of obesity. Calorie-laden fast food meals can contain nearly a full day's worth of calories and fat and, eaten regularly, can increase your chances of obesity. According to CBS News Health Watch, almost one-third of U.S children between the ages of 4 and 19 consume fast food which, depending on the regularity which with fast food is eaten, can cause a 6-pound weight increase per year.

Fast Food increases Diabetes
Along with obesity, consumption of fast food has been linked to an increased chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In Type 2 Diabetes, either your body is unable to regulate blood sugar with insulin, or is unable to produce insulin. Increased body fat, along with a high-sugar and high-carbohydrate diet, can increase your body's resistance to insulin, which monitors your blood sugar levels. An article published by the US Department of Health and Human Services states that people who ate fast food two or more times per week were twice as likely to experience insulin resistance.

Fast Food is High in Sodium
Fast food is typically very high in sodium. A large order of fast food french fries can contain as much as 30% of your daily value of sodium. While important to consume in small amounts, a diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, a potential precursor to heart disease. As excess sodium builds up in your bloodstream, your heart must work harder to pump blood successfully, which can cause hypertension and high blood pressure. Regularly consuming foods high in sodium can greatly increase your chances of developing high blood pressure.

Fast Food is Low in Nutrients
Many fast food are low in nutrients. Hamburgers served on white bread, french fries and other high-carbohydrate sides and fried or high-fat meats are common fast food menu items, and all lack important nutrients such as vitamins found in fresh produce, fiber found in whole grains and protein served without added fat. Foods which are high in sugar and carbohydrates but low in nutrients are also often less filling than healthier options, and can lead to overeating. Furthermore,...
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