The Role Of Fast Food In Increasing Obesity Rates
There is no denying that obesity rates in the United States and other western countries have been on the rise. People overall are becoming overweight more and more often. To many health experts, the rate at which this is increasing is what is really frightening. This is not just a gradual trend that may reverse itself in the future. It is a huge jump into an unhealthy world. There are many things that are to blame for this. Some people blame televisions and computers, citing a sedentary lifestyle that lends itself to obesity. Others cite the lack of physical exercise for children at school and at home. One thing that is certain is fast food is directly tied to these growing rates. The ways in which it has contributed to the increasing obesity in the United States and abroad can be clearly seen.
Too Much Fat The main way that obesity and fast food are linked is in terms of fat content. Much of the food is cooked in grease that is heavy in fat. Some of it contains a lot of fat before it is even cooked; bacon, for example, which is put on many sandwiches and salads, is made from a large amount of animal fat. Having some fat in a diet is not bad for someone, but the sheer amount that is contained in fast food is staggering. It is much higher than the amount that the body needs, leading the body to store it as exactly what it is: Fat.
Too Many Calories, Period The next link between obesity and fast food is that there are just too many calories. A typical diet should contain no more than two thousand calories for the entire day. Those who live a sedentary life, watching a lot of television or working all day long on a computer, need even less. Many of these meals have nearly two thousand calories on their own. If someone eats a hamburger, French fries, a soda, and milkshake for desert, they could be right at their daily limit in only one meal. Unused calories are often stored as fat in the body, so this pushes up the obesity rates.
Lower Prices Equal More Food Fast food has made its reputation for being easily obtainable, cheap food. While this is nice for those who cannot afford expensive meals, it often means that those who can afford it will buy too much. When it only costs a few cents to exchange a small amount of French fries for a huge amount, why would anyone turn it down? People who are thinking about monetary value and how much they can get for their money will often use this logic, throwing aside the logic of bodily health.
Lack of Vitamins and Minerals It can also be said that the lack of vitamins and minerals in the food contributes to obesity. Vitamin B, for instance, increases the body’s metabolism. This helps the body to function more efficiently and to burn off more calories. A diet that is lacking in vitamins means that the body will be burning off less calories even as far more are being taken in through the meals. The body will also not be able to function at as high of a level from a physical standpoint. Running and getting exercise will be harder and more tiring. This can lead to a lack of exercise. When these things are combined, obesity is not far away.
It Tastes Too Good It cannot be ignored that fast food has been created to be addictive. It has been made to contain high amounts of sugar and fat, two things that people naturally crave. This means that the food really does taste good. The body will not be satisfied since there will be no nutritional value, so people can just keep eating. This leads them to eat until they are nearly physical ill with the effort.
What Should The Government Do? The standing question right now is whether the government needs to step in and do something about the obesity epidemic in the light of the link between obesity and fast food. They often take a stand on other things that are deemed bad for the health of the population. They regulate drugs, for example, so that the drugs cannot be abused. Since food seems to be the drug of choice for many people, should the government come in and stop them? Should they try to regulate the industry so that fast food has to provide more nutritional value?
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