The Side Effects of Fast Food

Today, home-cooked meals are being replaced with fast food combos at various restaurants. There are numerous fast food restaurants around most cities, so it becomes convenient for working parents and students to go to the drive-thru to order a meal. There are many people who consume most of their meals from fast food restaurants throughout the week. According to the Food Institute’s analysis of data, millennials spend approximately 45% of their food allowance on eating out (Pietrangelo, Carey, & Holland, 2018).

It may seem convenient to stop by a fast food restaurant after work instead of having to go home and cook; however, there are side effects resulting in doing so. The consumption of fast food can increase the chances of different health problems, can negatively affect pregnant moms and unborn baby’s health, and can affect children psychologically as well as their performance in school. Fast food may be convenient when there’s a restaurant nearly on every block in route home, yet it can also become detrimental to the human body.

Fast food restaurants sell highly processed food that contains large amounts of carbohydrates, sodium, calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats; nonetheless, it lacks nutrition (Stoddard, 2018). Fast food products and meals are usually sodium-heavy which can lead to elevated blood pressure or aggravate existing heart disorders, including congestive heart failure (Pietrangelo, Carey, & Holland, 2018). Sodium additives are contained in the food in order to maintain the color of meat and to inhibit bacteria; however, the additives have potential to cause cancer, according to a journal Nutrients (Stoddard, 2018). Another substance exposed in processed meat that can causes cancer and increase your chances in having cancer is, 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo(4,5-b) pyridine (PhIP).

When the meat is heated at a specific temperature, the substance forms (PhIP). The substance has been discovered to be associated with human breast, prostate and colon cancers (Stoddard, 2018). Along with increasing your chances of having cancer, congestive heart failure, elevated blood pressure, you also increase your risk of eventually being diagnosed with dementia. Insulin is known to be produced in the pancreas to help transport glucose to fuel the human body, but it is also produced in the brain where it helps carry signals between nerve cells and forming memories. According to a study performed at the Brown University, excessively consuming fatty foods and sweets can increase insulin levels in the human body. Like with Type 2 Diabetes, high levels of insulin can cause a tremendous impact by resulting in the discontinuance of the brain’s response to this hormone; moreover, becoming resistant and can preventing the ability to think, recall or create memories (NDTV Food Desk, 2017).

During pregnancy, cravings are at an all time high and most mothers use their pregnancy as an excuse to eat excessively; However, pregnancy is the time where doctors encourage you to eat as healthy as possible, so the developing baby can get as many nutrients. It is important for pregnant moms to get all the nutrients they need so the baby’s brain, organs, bones, and immune system to develop properly (Pillai, 2018). Many mother’s crave fried foods when pregnant or foods that are just high in starch; however, when foods like French fries or bread are baked/fried at 250° converts starch into a chemical known as acrylamide.

An excess amount of acrylamide can result in low birth weight in infants and smaller head circumference (Pillai, 2018). The fried foods that most pregnant mothers indulge in can lead to the mother feeling gaseous, bloated and also having indigestion problems as well as elevate their cholesterol levels (Pillai,2018). According to a Cell Reports study on pregnant rats, the rats that ate high-fat, high-sugar diets rand suffered from pre-pregnancy obesity increased the chances of passing down genetic abnormalities to three upcoming generations; additionally, increasing the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes for its generations to come (Shatzman, 2016). An excess weight gain weight gain can put the pregnant mom and developing baby at risk of preeclampsia, preterm labor, gestational diabetes, and can sometimes unfortunately lead to stillbirths (Pillai, 2018).

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, gathered information regarding pregnant mothers’ diets throughout pregnancy and their children’s diets from 18 months to 5 years of age. The information gathered from the research concluded that mother’s who excessively ate refined cereals, sweet drinks, soft drinks, fast food, and candy lacking nutrient-rich foods (vegetables and fruit) resulted in their children showing an noticeably increase in behavioral problems (i.e. aggression and frequent tantrums); additionally, they also showed symptoms of depression and anxiety (Whiteman, 2013).

Like most parents, their families also consume the fast food products in their diets regularly. According to a survey, 500,000 kids from different countries around the world between the ages of 6 and 7 and 13 and 14 showed that kids who ate fast food three times per week or more had increased the risk of asthma, eczema, and rhinitis. Researchers also recorded that there’s a 39% increased risk in severe asthma attacks in teens (Digital First Media, 2016). Approximately 12.7 million percent of children in the United States are obese due to excessively eating such a high-carb, sodium and sugar diet; moreover, possibly resulting in Type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. When young children consume foods that are highly processed and high in sugar, it creates an elevation in their blood sugar that leads to fatigue. The decrease in energy can result in the children suffering from difficulty to concentrate for lengthy periods of time. In addition, it explains why researchers have recently found that children who ate fast food various times throughout the week scored noticeably lower on math and reading test in comparison to those who ate home-cooked meals (Digital First Media, 2016).

Everyone may agree that McDonald’s and Rally’s French fries are incredibly amazing along with a highly carbonated soda; however, drinking that soda can lead to tooth decay from the carbonated beverage breaking down the enamel in your teeth and the salt alone contained with the French fries increasing the chances of debris and acid to reside on the surface of your teeth leading to cavities/tooth decay. The calories contained in the soda and order of fries alone could increase the risk of having so many health problems. The numerous side effects to eating fast food is without a doubt petrifying.

Who’d imagine such a convenient and taste satisfying decision to eat at a local fast food restaurant could have as many negative effects to the human body? The food from these fast food restaurants may be extremely satisfying to your taste buds but the above effects can be very serious. Going home to cook a meal is much healthier for you and increases your chances of living longer than you would eating those sodium-heavy meals from famous fast food restaurants.

References

  1. Pietrangelo, A., Carey, E., & Holland, K. (2018, July 25). 13 Effects of Fast Food on the Body. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-food-effects-on-body
  2. Stoddard, G. (2018, October 16). The Negative Effects of Fast Food on Your Body | Eat This, Not That! Retrieved from https://www.eatthis.com/what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-eat-fast-food/
  3. NDTV Food Desk. (2017, August 14). 5 Harmful Effects of Junk Food. Retrieved from https://food.ndtv.com/lists/the-bad-the-worse-5-ways-junk-food-can-mess-with-your-brain-764392
  4. Pillai, S. (2018, January 05). 6 Harmful Effects Of Eating Junk (Fast) Food During Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.momjunction.com/articles/harmful-effects-eating-junk-food-pregnancy_0022662/#gref
  5. Shatzman, C. (2016, February 02). Eating Junk Food During Pregnancy May Affect Baby More Than You Realize. Retrieved from https://www.thebump.com/a/eating-junk-food-while-pregnant-effects-baby-more-than-we-ever-realized
  6. Whiteman, H. (2013, August 20). Junk food in pregnancy linked to childhood mental disorders. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265039.php
  7. Digital First Media. (2016, October 13). Nutrition & Kids: Some facts on fast food and its effect on children. Retrieved from https://www.theoaklandpress.com/lifestyles/health/nutrition-amp-kids-some-facts-on-fast-food-and-its/article_37586ffd-9756-52d1-8f7c-688a495970a3.html 
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