Fact or fiction?
You have probably heard that fast food causes obesity. Didn't people
get fat before there was fast food? Well, not so much.
The world before fast food
Through the 1950's, most Americans were of normal weight. They
ate meals at home. One parent, usually dad, went to work. The
usually mom, stayed home. Mom cared for the children, cleaned,
and cooked. She fixed breakfast in the
morning, made sack lunches, and prepared dinner at night. When dad came
home, the family ate together.
Things changed in the 1960's. Women became liberated from
traditional roles. Many got advanced degrees or professional training.
They entered the workforce in large numbers. They worked full time in
challenging jobs. The money they made helped the
family enjoy a more comfortable life. Pre-school age
children went to day care.
Both parents came home from work tired.
The children were hungry and nobody felt like cooking. They
all wanted something to eat that was fast and easy. Food
companies created TV dinners, which were a big hit. But people
had to turn on the oven and wait for the frozen meals to
heat. Frozen dinners tasted so-so and they were not cheap.
The beginning of fast food
Then fast food restaurants appeared in large cities. They
quickly spread across the country. As the chains got bigger,
they became more efficient. Prices came down.
Fast food chains
standardized their recipes so the food tasted
consistently good. It was just what
busy parents needed. They liked it and their children loved it.
first, nobody guessed that fast food causes obesity. But in the 1970's,
obesity rates in the U.S. began to climb. They have been going up
steadily ever since. One third of Americans are now obese. Another
third are overweight. Two generations of Americans have now grown up
food. Many people today do not even know how to cook.
Read the book Fast Food
Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal by Eric
Schlosser. It describes the history of
the fast food industry in much more detail. It also
discusses the methods the industry uses to maximize profits.
We highly recommend it.
Exporting fast food and obesity
Fast food companies were so successful in the U.S. that they expanded
to other countries. In the developing world, people like the Chinese
had always been slender on their traditional diets of rice and
vegetables. They eagerly sampled food from the famous American chains.
had exciting, intense flavors. People got hooked on the taste.
More and more people around the world became addicted to food that made them
gain weight. How does fast food cause obesity? Most fast food
items have a high calorie density. Read this important
information about the calorie content of foods
to completely understand the concept of calorie density. On
calorie density foods, we will eat too many calories
we satisfy our hunger.
Fast food is highly processed junk made of cheap ingredients. It
contains too much sugar, salt, fat and saturated fat. Fast food
often contains harmful trans fats. Fast food is low in fiber,
and healthy phytochemicals. It is full of preservatives,
artificial flavor enhancers, and artificial colors.
food causes obesity. It also
causes heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dozens of other
problems. For a humorous but disturbing look at health, obesity and
fast food, see the documentary movie "Supersize Me" starring Morgan
experiment, Spurlock eats three meals a day from McDonald's for thirty
he begins the experiment, his doctors tell him he is a healthy young
man and that a month of eating fast food won't do him much harm.
Before the month is over, he has gained 25 pounds. He
develops liver damage, high blood pressure, and high
He is depressed and he suffers from mood swings. His doctors
are so shocked by his rapid decline that they beg him to end the
movie is so powerful, it should be shown in health education classes in
every school. Adults and children should watch it together. Whether you
are a vegan or not, it will motivate you to improve your diet.