If you’re a junk food junkie or have a monster sweet tooth, you could be doing damage to your health. Fast food and sweets are typically light on essential nutrients and heavy on ingredients that could lead to health problems. Eating too many fatty and sugary foods has been linked to everything from obesity to tooth decay and chronic diseases that can shorten your life.
Fast food typically contains high amounts of saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and many more calories than most people should consume in one meal. A 2008 Harvard review of 16 studies reported by PubMed concluded that fast food consumption may be worsening America’s obesity epidemic. Sweet foods and sweetened drinks are also high in sugar that can pack on pounds. A separate review of 30 studies published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2006 concluded that high consumption of sugary drinks contributes to weight gain and obesity.
Diabetes and Heart Disease
The excessive amounts of sodium in fast food can lead to elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A diet high in saturated fat and trans fats also increases the risk of these diseases by clogging the arteries. The risk of stroke may be related to the number of fast food establishments in a neighborhood, according to a study published in the "Annals of Neurology" in August 2009. In the study of a neighborhood in Nueces County, Texas, the risk of stroke among residents increased 1 percent for every fast food restaurant in the neighborhood. Additionally, a paper published in “Physiology & Behavior” in 2010 reported that large epidemiology studies show an association between the sugar-sweetened beverages sold at many fast food establishments and the risk of Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease.
The sugar in sweets and sweetened beverages encourages bacteria to produce acid that eats away at tooth enamel, eventually leading to tooth decay. Every time bacteria comes in contact with sugar or starch in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more, according to the American Dental Association. Some soft drinks contain a whopping 11 teaspoons of sugar in a single serving. The ADA recommends limiting sweets and sugary drinks, brushing twice a day, flossing once daily and having regular dental checkups.
Fast food can be healthy if you choose wisely. The American Heart Association suggests visiting the websites of fast food chains beforehand to identify the healthiest choices. Skip the fries and onion rings, which are usually deep-fried. The association recommends grilled chicken sandwiches, which are often healthier and leaner than burgers. Additionally, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests splitting your order with a companion to cut the calories you consume and evaluating whether a “value meal” is really a value before ordering. If you don’t need the extra food or a super-sized portion, it might not be a good value for your wallet or your body.
About the Author
Jan Sheehan is an award-winning medical and nutrition writer, having entered journalism in 1992. She is a former contributing editor for "Parents" magazine. She has also written nutrition articles for "Self," "Fitness," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Health" and other magazines. Sheehan has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Purdue University.
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Why So Many People Eat Fast Food?
Nowadays, time seems to be an important factor for people around the world. Today people, especially in Bangkok,the capital city of Thailand, have to wake up and go out early to study or work, so they have to avoid any traffic jams. They have only a short break at lunch or are always in a hurry. Therefore people don't have time to cook or prepare their own meals for themselves or for their family. Fast food is one of the better choices for people who have limited time. Moreover, there are many fast food restaurants in Thailand and around the world, such as Macdonald's, KFC, Burger King, Chester Grill, Dunkin' Donuts, Pizza Hut, or The pizza Company. Some restaurants provide a drive-through or delivery service for the customer's convenience. These restaurants also advertise in many popular magazines or on TV, which attracts the interest of many customers. Even though people know that fast food is not good for their health, the number of people that eat at fast food restaurants increases every year. The main reasons that so many people eat fast food are the taste of the food, its price,and the fact that it is fast and convenient.
The delicious taste of the food is one of the major reasons for the increase in the number of customers in fast food restaurants. Although everyone knows that fast food is unhealthy food, contains high calories and has no nutritional value, people like to eat it because it tastes good and each restaurant has a variety of food available on the menu. Research states that fast food opens your appetite to make you want more. Fast food is usually packed with fats, sodium and sugar, therefore making it taste good. Some studies suggest that people who eat fast food can be addicted because of the sugar and the fat content. Due to high fats and calories, it can make you fat and lead to obesity and other health problems if you often eat fast food. Furthermore, every fast food restaurant under the same brand has the same menu, same taste, and same quality so the restaurant becomes well-known easily.
Another point is the inexpensive price. Compared to other restaurants, fast food is...
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