Cheap, delicious and convenient - who could resist that? It's true that for many people, fast foods have become the convenient way of grabbing meals when they're on the go. But little do these people know that there are terrifying health dangers lurking within these food joints. Along with smoking, sedentary lifestyle and substance abuse, fast foods represent one of the greatest health threats to the American society today.
Here are some facts about the food you consume in these restaurants.
• Foods from these joints are extremely high in calories and fats. A medium meal at Burger King, which includes a Whopper with cheese, French fries and vanilla milk shake contains 87 grams of fat and 1,480 calories. At McDonald's, consume a Big Mac, fries, and shake and you'll take in 59 grams of fat and 1,460 calories. According to nutritionists, a person should not consume more than 65 grams of fat and 2,000 calories per day. Take note that these figures are for the day. Eating at fast food chains for a one time meal almost exceeds that limit. It is for this reason that the rate of American obesity doubled in the last two decades.
• Fast foods make use of hydrogenated oil. Vegetable oil is what is used in fast food chains, however it doesn't have a long shelf life and can easily go rancid. To prevent this scenario, manufacturers heat and expose oil to toxic chemicals like aluminum and nickel before passing hydrogen gas bubbles to make the oil last longer. The process of hydrogenation however produces trans fats, which are harmful to the body clogging arteries and increasing risk of obesity.
• Soda consumption is encouraged in fast foods. Almost always, you'll order a meal and wouldn't be able to resist adding a soda. That's because value meals are packaged in a way that would entice you to drink soda, making you think that you're saving money doing that. Food chains do that because sodas give them a huge profit. Unfortunately, sodas are bad for your health. Soda has caffeine, excessive sugar, phosphoric acid and aspartame, all of which contribute to different kinds of ailments.
Eating regularly at fast food chains increases the risk of the following ailments:
• Heart disease. The number one condition caused by excessive consumption of fast food is heart disease. This is because the fat and calories found in fast food increase the levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and lower the levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
• Type 2 diabetes. Soda is one culprit that causes this disease. Apart from that, obesity from high fats and calories also affect the body's ability to produce insulin, and thereby cause diabetes in the long run.
• Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Women who are overweight are at higher risk of this disorder, which can cause infertility. It is characterized by irregular cycles of menstruation and increased hair growth in the body.
• Stroke. The primary cause of stroke is clogged artery that supplies blood to the brain. When the blood and oxygen are not able to reach the brain, permanent brain damage can result. High blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol are the precursors to stroke.
Avoiding fast foods is the best way to prevent their harmful effects to the health. If you must eat at these food joints from time to time, minimize the negative health repercussions by opting for salads or fruit cups instead of fries, drinking water in lieu of soda, skipping rich condiments and dressings.