As lifestyles in America become more hectic, the more people consume fast food on a daily basis. The fast availability of takeout food makes it the perfect solution to a grumbling stomach in the middle of an insanely busy day. In 2010 alone, the Americans spent around $165 billion in fast food. There are about 50,000 fast food chains across the country, with McDonalds being the largest store to date. Children between 6 and 14 years old consume fast food 157,000,000 times a month. These include French fries, hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza and soft drinks, all of which contain lots of calories, saturated fats, sodium and other harmful substances.
The fact that fried and processed foods served at fast food chains can make people unhealthy and worse, cause adverse effects to the human body makes the statistics alarming. Just like all things, there are also two sides of the coin when it comes to fast food. To be able to make a fair judgment whether you are pro- or anti-fast food, it is best to know its pros and cons.
List of Pros of Fast Food
1. It Is Fast.
From the name “fast food”, meals you can buy from these chains are served quickly unlike what restaurants offer. This makes such food convenient for people who are always in a hurry and do not have the luxury of time to prepare and cook food for themselves or for their loved ones. So, when parents are rushing to get the kids to school and make their way to their office, buying fast food saves them a lot of time and effort. All they need to do is to get to a drive-thru or order by phone.
2. It Is Cheap.
Another trademark of fast food is its price. Meals are sold at relatively cheap prices because they do not take a lot of time to prepare or cook. So, if for parents who are in a hurry and do not want to spend a lot on food, fast food is the best solution. Although cooking meals at home with simple ingredients can be a lot cheaper, time is what many people do not have to do so.
3. It Is Convenient.
Fast food chains are everywhere. Just a quick drive to a nearby store will already make the whole family full. Aside from that, there are plenty of options when it comes to fast food. Aside from all-American favorites, like pizza, pasta, burgers and French fries, there are other varieties to choose from, including Asian, Mexican, Indian and Middle-Eastern.
4. Most People Are Accustomed.
Fast food has been a part of many American homes. This means that many people have been accustomed to eating it. This also means that parents won’t have a hard time making their children it since they’re all used to it. Plus, people just can’t resist the taste of a juicy burger, a cheesy pizza or a crispy fries. What’s more, fast food can satisfy hunger really fast.
5. Same Taste Across the Board.
Wherever you are in the country or even abroad, you will always know what you are getting when you order food from a fast food chain. This is especially true if you are in a place where you don’t exactly know where to eat. You can always choose to dine in at a fast food store whenever you are doubtful of what a restaurant or diner serves.
6. It Not Offers Healthy Options.
A lot of fast food chains now offer salads or vegetarian food choices to cater for those who are health conscious. This means that you can eat healthy food even when you’re in a hurry to get to school or the office.
List of Cons of Fast Food
1. Packed with Calories.
Yes, there is a certain required amount of calorie intake, but consuming too much sugar, carbohydrates and fats exceeds that requirement and is bad for the health. Some of the effects of unhealthy fast food include obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes.
2. Physical Health Sacrifices Are Made.
Aside from that, mass produced food like those offered in fast food chains, sacrifices certain health and sanitary practices, especially when it comes processing meat. There is also high amounts of preservatives and chemicals that are not meant to be consumed on a regular basis.
3. Mystery Ingredients.
Suppliers for these chains of stores are not always revealed to the public. This means that there is no guarantee that the meat and other materials used in fast food chains were processed in a clean and humane manner. There are also unknown ingredients that may be harmful to human health. Chicken nuggets and hotdogs, for example, are not always made from real chicken.
4. No Guarantee for Food Quality.
Most fast food chains use cheap ingredients that do not meet the standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You also can’t be too sure that meals served at these restaurant chains are prepared and cooked in sanitary conditions.
5. Takes Away Quality Time with Family.
Because fast food meals are often taken in a hurry or outside the home, families do not get to bond or spend quality time at mealtimes.
It is true that fast food offers many benefits. It is convenient and cheap, making it the perfect meal for those who do not have the time to prepare and cook food for themselves or their families. It is also tasty, which means that parents won’t have a hard time making their kids eat it. But there is also a downside, which should be a concern for consumers. For one, it can pose a risk to people’s health. With all these in mind, it is important to consume fast food in moderation. Eating pizza, pasta, hotdogs, burgers and fries won’t harm people’s health, as long as it is combined with lots of physical activity on a daily basis. After all, a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food are the ingredients to fatal health problems.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.