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Fast Food’s Impact On Our Health

Senior Anna Dimatteo admits, “I eat fast food every day, usually from any restaurant that I am around because I go out a lot and get hungry. Cooking isn’t my thing, it takes up too much time, and when I’m hungry I want to eat right away, not wait for myself to cook a full course meal. Fast food is actually cheap, I spend at least 50 dollars a week on food. It is obviously not healthy for me, but it tastes good so I guess I don’t care.”

Dimatteo is aware of the rising obesity rate in America and says, I do think fast food is the main cause because people are lazy and want the cheap food and don’t care about the ingredients that is in their food or how the food was prepared. Fast food restaurants such as Mcdonald’s, Wendys, Dunkin Donuts are very convenient to people because they are just about in any town.”

Over the past decade, fast food places have made an effort to improve their image by adding healthier items to their menu.  Junior Evie Kellum says, “They have salads at Wendy’s. Chipotle I guess is one of the healthier fast foods because it has good ingredients.  I don’t know how that food was made such as the chicken and steak, but I really like Chipotle so I don’t really care about the ingredients, but it is most likely healthy.”

When Evie ends up eating fast food, she said she most often eats, “McNuggets from McDonald’s, French Fries from McDonald’s, Frosties from Wendy’s and the Chili at Wendy’s which is actually my favorite thing at Wendy’s right now.’’

According to Google Maps, there are about 50,000 fast food chains across America, McDonald’s being the largest franchise. With about 14,146 restaurants in America, they are also the richest fast food chain. People go to McDonald’s because it’s more food for a cheaper price, and more convenient to get to. 

But there are many downsides to stopping regularly for fast food which tends to be high in sodium, cholesterol and a lot of saturated and trans fats. When people eat too much fast food over a long period of time they can start having health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, and various skin problems. Peoples’ teeth will become yellow and start to decay. Liver disease is another possibility. 

There is a major ingredient everyone must’ve heard of, called Pink Slime, which is a mixture of lean beef trimmings and the fat from the beef. This substance is used to make the meat more beefy. Most fast food places have stopped using this ingredient due to media criticism, proof that when consumers become educated, the products we eat can be changed to become more healthy. McDonald’s said they haven’t used the pink slime since 2011.

Another common ingredient that has received a lot of criticism in recent years is High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is made up of processed corn starch and the starch gets broken down into a syrup. High fructose corn syrup is the main ingredient in all fast food. No one has identified if it is worse than sugar because they are essentially the same, however, there are some health effects of high fructose corn syrup, if eaten excessively like increased risk of diabetes and weight gain due to the syrup being easily converted into fat.

Route 1 is filled with options for a quick meal after school or practice, but the extra seconds saved might result in reduced health down the road and even to teens feeling more sluggish now as they juggle the many demands of high school life.  

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