The hidden dangers of a fast food value meal

Brittney Taylor

The fast food industry caters to an American mindset that everyone is always in a hurry. If people don’t slow down and look at their food consumption, they will eat themselves to death.

With the growing fast food market encouraging quick service for a lower price than a sit down restaurant or a home-made healthy alternative, it is no wonder that this is a billion dollar industry. The problem is that we are sacrificing our health for expedience.

While at first glance long workdays and a growing tendency for dual-household incomes seem to be drawing spouses away from the home to eat seem to be to blame, the fast food industry is the real culprit, leaving consumers with few healthy options.

Statistics show that young adults ages 18-24 are most likely to drive thru, with 22 percent of American young adults claiming that their diets are comprised of only fast food.

One of the major problems in America is obesity, afflicting 65 percent of Americans, as well as the onset development of diabetes.

Complications from diabetes can lead to high blood pressure, blindness, stroke, heart disease, amputations, nervous system diseases, and many other harmful problems.

A leading contributor to the unhealthiness of fast food is that it is cooked in partially hydrogenated oil, which is slowly and surely increasing the pant size of Americans.

If people know that the fast food companies are using these oils why do they keep eating there or consuming products that contain high levels of trans fats?

As part of a 2003 lawsuit against Kraft, the company agreed to significantly reduce or limit the levels of trans fat in the Oreo cookie in hopes to affect other companies that use trans fats to join the health movement.

Palm oil is a much healthier alternative to trans fats, but the price could be orangutan extinction. Rainforests are being cleared in southeast Asia to harvest wood and make land available for palm oil production, the same land that is home to the world’s largest tree-dwelling mammal.

While one-in-three products may now contain some palm oil and the fast food industry is purchasing more and more of what they believe to be their savior in the trans fat substitute, there may be extinction in the next decade.

But hey, that’s just southeast Asia right? Wrong. Cattle ranching and illegal soya production are the leading causes of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

Do cows live in the rainforest? If trends keep at the steady pace, by 2050 Greenpeace is estimating a 40 percent elimination of Amazon rainforests. 80 percent of the worlds soy production is used to feed the livestock industry and 90 percent of all soy is produced in cleared out areas of the Amazon rainforest.

Everyone must make a conscious decision to lead healthier lifestyles for themselves and the planet.

Fast food may be convenient, but the price of drive thru is much higher than the value menu would have you believe.

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