In America and around the world, there are fast food Restaurants everywhere a person turns, there is no escaping them. In every supermarket, corner shop, and community store, you can find convenient foods that are quick and easy to prepare; these convenient foods also contain many chemicals that are not good for a person's health. According to an article written by James Bone, on the Times Online Website, only one thirds of Americans cook meals from scratch, meaning with fresh ingredients. In his book, Fat food Nutrition, Eric Schlosser claims that, one quarters of Americans eat in a fast food restaurant each day. And in an Article written by Nadia Haris, on Dangerous Chemicals in fast food other than MSG. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that fast and convenient foods contain high amounts of chemicals that add flavor, color, and texture that help's keep them fresh longer. Americans and other countries are obsessed with fast and convenient foods, because they are quick, and tasty. Although these foods are quick, tasty and easy to get to, nothing beats a healthy home cooked meal, in fact this obsession with fast food is hurting not only their health, but their daily lives as well.
The main reason that Americans are getting takeout food and heating prepared meals is clear, they do not have enough time. In more than two-thirds of families in the United States, two people are working (Bone). People with demanding work schedules, just do not have enough time for shopping and cooking. Another reason that mealtime has become so short, is that many younger adults grew up in a fast food period. In the past fifteen years, cell phones, the Internet, and e-mail have increased the speed of everyday communication. At the same time, microwave ovens, drive-through restaurants, and frozen dinners have changed the way Americans and other people around the world eat. Many people now like to eat quickly, even in their cars or in front of the television, instead of taking time to cook a meal and sit at the table with their families. In this culture of instant gratification, people do not think food is important enough to spend much time on.
Another problem with these fast and convenient foods, is that, they contain chemicals that are harmful to a person's health; such chemicals include Saccharin, Saccharin is an artificial sweetener, which can be found in beverages as well as many fruit juices, jellies, donuts, canned fruits, and other foods. Studies have shown that consuming Saccharin may increase the risk of cancers of the bladder, ovaries, uterus, blood vessels, and skin. (Haris), so even though Americans think that they are saving time and improving their lives by eating precooked and prepackaged food, their obsession with fast food is causing the quality of their lives to go down. First, their health is suffering; As most people know, fast foods and frozen meals are generally less healthy than foods made at home. Apart from the dangerous chemicals, they also contain lots of preservatives, fat, sugar, and salts to cover up the fact that they are not fresh. If people do not eat fresh foods that provide vitamins and minerals, they may become tired and sick, and they may miss out on opportunities to enjoy their lives.
Another health problem is obesity. There is an obesity epidemic in the United States today, especially with young people, and it is related to the way people are eating. According to Schlosser, The rate of obesity among American children is twice as high as it was in the late 1970s. Obesity can lead to many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The United States Department of Health and Human Services notes that deaths due to poor diet and physical inactivity increased 33 percent in the 1990s, and it cites a study that concluded that poor diet and physical inactivity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death in the United States. If fast food causes people to become obese, and then obesity causes them to get sick or die, fast food cannot be considered an improvement in Americans' lives.
In addition to causing health problems, fast food hurts people's relationships with their friends and families. In an online interview, John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution, comments on the importance of mealtime:
Throughout history, eating has been a way of bringing people together. It is how parents stay in touch with what is going on in their kids' lives. When people break bread together, it's an act of peacemaking, an act of good will. Dining together can be a deep biological and sacred experience. When we eat, we are connected to all of life. It is a phenomenon found in every culture in the world, except ours. I see the McDonaldization of our food supply as the annihilation of our true relationship to life. (qtd. in Lee)
While most people will not be able to cook full, fresh meals every day, they can begin to improve the quality of their lives by buying fresh foods when they can and by cooking fresh food at least sometimes. For example, people can shop at the farmers market for fresh local produce instead of buying canned or frozen vegetables. They will have a chance to buy foods with more nutrients, while, they get to know people in their community.
Also, if people slow down to make food with their friends or family, they can enjoy the benefits of good nutrition while they are building stronger relationships. An organization called Slow Food, which describes itself as an international organization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern fast food and life, encourages readers of its Web site to, make pasta from scratch occasionally. Friends and family can cook meals together so one person isn't doing all the work. And people can try to cook family recipes from their parents or grandparents.
Even though Americans may think they are saving time and improving their lives by eating fast food, they will have healthier and more enjoyable lives if they change the way they cook and eat. Making dinner from scratch is much healthier than getting burgers and fries from a fast-food restaurant. And people get more than just a full stomach; they get more time with family and friends and a good feeling from creating something healthy.
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