Hopping into your favorite fast food joint or stopping by the drive-thru tends to happen more often than some would like to admit. Fast food is cheap, convenient and marketed to us when we’re young, so we often ignore how negatively it can impact our bodies in the long run.
Having fast food too frequently threatens our health, and while an occasional night of indulgence wouldn’t hurt, a habit of eating out can be just as bad smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol on a regular basis.
1. Fast food increases your cancer risk.
PhIP is the most abundant heterocyclic amines found in meats served at the most popular fast food places. The substance, which materializes when meat is heated to a specific temperature, is associated with human colon, breast, and prostate cancers.
In addition, sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are additives used to maintain the color of meat falsely and to inhibit bacterial growth. With that said, both chemicals can break down into nitrosamines or substances with the potential to cause cancer.
2. Fast food is addicting and can lead you to obesity.
Casein, monosodium glutamate (MSG), salt, and sugar found in fast food are just some of the addictive components that keep you coming back for more. The high-calorie intake can also lead to obesity, which puts you at risk of developing chronic diseases.
3. Fast food negatively affects memory and cognitive function.
Fast foods like double cheeseburgers, fries fried in lard, milkshakes, and so on are high in saturated fats. Saturated fats can negatively affect the heart, but according to Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, high saturated fat intake may also adversely affect brain function and memory. She adds that higher consumption of saturated fatty acids may impair memory speed and prospective memory.
4. Fast food can destroy your kidneys.
Excess sodium can contribute to existing high blood pressure. If you have cirrhosis, congestive heart failure, or kidney disease, consuming too much salt can contribute to a dangerous buildup of fluid. Excessive sodium may also increase your risk for kidney stones and kidney disease.
5. Fast food can drain every bit of energy out of you.
Food is supposed to fuel you with energy, which is why we have meals and snacks in controlled portions throughout the day. With large portions that are high in fat, fast food delivers a hefty dose of calories all in one sitting. The excessive portions with little to no health benefits will only leave you feeling bloated and lethargic, and will ultimately cause you to pack on more pounds.
Effects on Society
More than 2 in 3 adults are said to be overweight or obese, and more than one-third of children ranging from ages 6 to 19 are also considered overweight. The growth of fast food chains in America is at full speed, and it seems to coincide with the growth of obesity.
Despite efforts to raise awareness, one study found that the amount of calories, fat, and sodium in fast food remains unchanged. As people get busier and continue to eat out more frequently, it could have adverse effects on expected lifespans of the existing and succeeding generations.