8 Aug 2012
The Real Reason for America’s Expanding Waistline On average, an adult should consume around 2,000 calories on a daily basis. For many this number is greatly exceeded due to poor nutritional choices, and a lack of effort to maintain healthy eating habits. For example, “the average American eats four orders of fast food French fries and three fast food hamburgers weekly” (Grossman). A meal of this mature racks up 1,300 calories at once (“McDonald’s”). That’s almost all of the calories required for an entire day. But, because of our chaotic schedules, convenience is important to everyone. It’s sometimes difficult to keep up the pace, so when the time comes to refuel we look for the fastest, easiest way to fill up. For most, this means a quick stop by Burger King or McDonald’s. The consumption of fast food has increased dramatically since the 1950’s, consequently so has the rate of obesity (Pakhare). Obesity alone is the gateway to other fatal health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, and fast food essentially speeds up the diagnosis. Whether or not we have a substantial amount of evidence to prove it, the signs are enough to show that the consumption of fast food is the primary link to obesity in America. While fast food is satisfying our cravings, it’s simultaneously harming our bodies. In
2005 the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute published a study conducted over a fifteen year period showing that those who seldom ate fast food were at a healthier weight than frequent consumers. In fact, those who reportedly ate fast food more than twice a week were ten pounds heavier. In addition to calories, fast foods are low in fiber, and drenched in salts and sugars.
When our bodies are given too much sugar, it damages our pancreas, thus causing insulin
resistance. When one’s body begins to resist its own insulin, they then become at risk for type 2 diabetes. These problems are serious, and some are irreversible. “Researchers found that the adverse impact on participant’s weight and insulin resistance was seen even after adjustments to other lifestyle habits” (Cornforth). Our bodies do need a certain amount of calories to keep going. However, the calories we eat should be vitamin-rich and full of minerals to maintain our natural levels. We usually acquire these from eating fruits and vegetables. The problem with fast food is that it’s loaded with empty calories, meaning they have no nutritional value (Pakhare). Studies show that “fast food lovers” consume fewer fruits and non-starchy vegetables, and instead put away more fats and sugars,
“which likely adds up to 187 more daily calories, and six pounds more per year” (Holguin). There are various reasons why people choose to eat fast food. One being that it is consistent in its flavor and satisfaction. As Milos Pesic writes in his article “Are Fast Food and
Obesity Related?”, “the cheeseburger that you so loved since childhood has never changed a bit- a constancy that is so hard to find in a constantly changing society”. Americans know that every time they visit their favorite fast food joint their food will be just as tasty as the time before.
Pesic also describes obesity and fast food as being “socially acceptable”, implying that the media and advertisements bribe viewers into trying the latest Angus burger or dessert, and clothing stores carrying special lines for the plus size population. Convenience is another reason people regularly resort to fast food. For some families, especially those with multiple children, finding time to grocery shop, and put together a meal can be quite tricky. It seems as though we fill our day with countless chores but never find time for those that matter most, like keeping a healthy diet. Along with convenience comes proximity.
The closer we are to Burger King , the more likely we