Sample Research paper on Fast Food

Fast Food

            Fast food is a type of meal that is usually prepared and served very fast. The term first fast food was used for the first time in the 1950s in United States. Although any food that is prepared slowly can be called a fast food, this term is mostly used to describe food that is sold in restaurants or food stores that have precooked ingredients. Such ingredients are usually prepared, packaged and sold to customers as “take-away” products. Fast food outlets can include food kiosks or stands that do not have any shelter or seating spaces. They can also include fast food restaurants that have shelters, seating spaces and services offered through drive-through (Mushtaq 2). The fast food industry, which started as a business with few fast food stands that only sold hotdogs and hamburgers in few towns in California, has grown so much within the last few decades. As a result, fast food has widely been used in many occasions in the American society where it sells different types of fast foods at every town where paying customers can be found. This quick expansion in the fast food industry has raised concern about the various negative effects associated with eating fast food (Grier 221). This paper aims to argue against eating fast food drawing from the many negative effects that they have.

Implications associated with fast food

            The contemporary society, which increasingly operates at high speed, has quickly accepted fast food as the most preferred food choice. This has seen fast food restaurants along with related advertisements quickly increasing in our communities, media platforms, culture and the society at large. According to The Heart Links Project (1), popular terms such as Burger King as well as the Big Mac burgers have become the most popular terms for defining foods in typical contemporary society diet. One of the most attractive characteristics of fast food is that it makes eating more convenient as food can easily be obtained and eaten within a short period of time. This is because people do not need to travel for long distances to find fast food outlets as they can easily be found at any location within the market place, which makes it convenient to obtain a meal.

The availability of fast food outlets has led to reduced fast food prices as individuals end up spending a small amount of money to obtain different types of fast food products. This is different from the traditional food preparation process, which takes a lot of time, energy and resources to prepare a meal. Similarly, consumers, particularly students and working individuals do not have enough time to prepare food at home, which explains why they choose to go for fast food (Brindal 7). Despite these attractive characteristics, rapid availability of fast food is increasingly being linked to a major decline in healthy food choices. With millions of low-income populations relying on many different types of fast foods that are readily available in the neighborhoods, people have increasingly lacked suitable access to healthy diets. This is because fast food restaurants and stands are being opened in every city, which rapidly replace grocery stores that are likely to sell healthy food choices.

When available, grocery stores that sell healthy food choices often sell them at higher prices compared to the fast food restaurants. This makes it hard for people, even though they may be well informed, to follow necessary health procedures by eating healthy diets. This contributes to safety concerns as unhealthy diets offered at fast food restaurants can contribute to unhealthy outcomes. In order to address this issue, access to supermarkets and grocery shops should be promoted, which would promote availability to fruits and vegetables while on the other hand reducing the number of fast food outlets available in any given location. This would ensure that individuals that like eating fast food are able to access food that is rich in fruits and vegetables, which offer a huge health benefit.

The increasing attractiveness of already-prepared meals has become an easy option for individuals that do not have enough time to prepare food for their families. The fact that most women are working along with their male partners justifies the growing decision to eat fast food, which protects women from the growing challenge of balancing work with the role of being a wife. Research by Crarke (33) showed that most working women in the UK did not have time to cook while others complained of always being tired and they thus needed more free time. As a result, fast food has become the most available option for working women who have to take care of their office tasks on one hand while ensuring that their families have eaten on the other.

Although this new trend is viewed as an easy option that protects women from taking tiresome cooking tasks, it has proven to change eating patterns too, which attributes to growing health problems (Crarke 34). Increased intake of fast food has led to many cases of overweight and obesity among children as well as adults. This is because most fast food products sold in restaurants and fast food outlets do not have proper nutritional value but they instead have a high level of energy density. According to Grier et al (222), most parents in the modern day society are unable to differentiate low-energy foods from high-energy foods, which limit their ability to control the amount of energy they eat or give to their children. This leads to too much energy intake, which increases the risk of being overweight and obese. Grier further found that the total calorie content that most fast food products contain is 55% higher compared to that prepared at home, which further increases the risk of being overweight and obese. This is further made difficult by the fact that eating fast foods reduces chances to eat vegetables and fruits, which are only offered at the dining tables when eating home-made food (Grier 223).

Academic evidence indicates that obesity is the second leading cause of death among children and adults. Fast food is being blamed for this problem as one in every four individuals particularly in the United States frequent fast food stands and restaurants on a day-to-day basis. According to The Heart Links Project (1), one fast food meal may contribute to a high amount of energy and sodium intake for a day. This leads to high development in cholesterol and fat deposits in the body, which increases the risk of obesity and subsequent death due to various health problems associated with the condition. In order to address this issue, parents should encourage their children to eat healthy food choices by ensuring that eating fast food is quickly replaced with home-made food. This can help to balance the amount of energy intake, which would in return reduce the risk of overweight and obesity (Mushtaq 2).

Fast food is quickly being adopted to save time spent in preparing meals, which in return helps individuals to catch up with the fast-paced modern culture. As argued by Zhang (1), only one third of the American population cook food from scratch using fresh ingredients while two thirds of this population choose to eat food products that are either ready to serve or can be prepared within thirty minutes. The need to work with speed and save time needed to meet demanding working timetables justifies the growing possibility among many Americans to go for fast food. Similarly, advancement in technology, which has contributed to development of televisions, phones and computers, has changed the contemporary society into a fast-food culture (Zhang 2). This is because most people prefer to eat readymade food and spend the rest of their precious time in front of a television, a computer or with a phone.

Children are also being encouraged to eat already prepared meals or prepare precooked ingredients using microwaves in their rooms so they can spend the rest of their time studying. Although most Americans think that saving time by eating fast food is important to promote immediate satisfaction, it is evident that this practice is increasingly worsening quality of life among the American citizens. According to Zhang (3), most precooked and packaged products sold in fast food outlets contain high levels of preservatives, sugar, and salt. This raises health-related problems especially because such food products are not fresh and they may as well lead healthy problems like diabetes, cancer and hypertension.

Similarly, quick expansion of the fast-food culture affects people’s relationships as they do not get time to share meals that can help to bring people together. Children for example do not get time to share meals with the rest of their family members as they are encouraged to prepare microwave snacks in their rooms. Similarly, parents think that giving children fast food products is a means to give children what would be most pleasing, which means that their chances to share that which may be prepared at home are few. Eating fast food also interferes with fun moments that people can have when cooking food together. According to Zhang (4), eating fast food only helps to fill empty stomachs but people do not have the benefit of cooking healthy and nutritious food. To address this issue, people should choose to eat home-made instead of fast food so as to enjoy the benefit of good nutrition while establishing good relationships. This is especially because people will be looking forward to cook food that is of high nutritional value that can be shared with other members of the family.

Conclusion

            The fast food industry has grown quickly within the last few decades with a huge number of fast food outlets offering different fast food products that are readily available to all members of the society. Most individuals in the contemporary prefer fast food products because they are affordable, easily accessible and tasty. People who do not have time to prepare meals at home or are overwhelmed with busy working schedules choose to eat fast food products as they save time spent preparing meals from scratch. Enough evidence however shows that people should not continue eating fast food as it contributes to various health-related problems like obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Similarly, availability of fast food outlets limits the availability of healthy food choices as these outlets are built in places where grocery stores could be built. Fast food further prevents individuals from cooking and eating together, which prevents the establishment of important family relationships.

Work Cited

Brindal, Emily. Exploring Fast Food Consumption Behaviors and Social Influence, cited on 24th June 2015 from https://digital.library.adelaide.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/2440/62481/8/02whole.pdf

Clarke, Barbie. Eating Trends: Adapting to Kids’ Lifestyles, viewed on 24th June, 2015 from http://www.kidsandyouth.com/3.02.pdf

Grier, Sonya et al. “Fast-Food Marketing and Children’s Fast-Food Consumption: Exploring Parents’ Influences in an Ethnically Diverse Sample”, American Marketing Association 26.2(2007):221-235.

Mushtaq, Muhammad et al. “Dietary Behaviors, Physical Activity and Sedentary Lifestyle Associated with Overweight and Obesity and their Socio-demographic Correlates among Pakistani Primary School Children”, International Journal of Physical Activity 8.130(2011):1-13.

The Heart Link Project. The Danger of Eating Fast Food. Cited on 24th June, 2015 from http://www.stonybrook.edu/heartlinks/fastfooddangers.pdf

Zhang, Amy. Slow Down and Eat Better. Cited on 24th June, 2015 from http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/Pocket5e/Latest/lmcontent/ESL/Pocket5ePDF%5CHacker-Zhang-MLA.pdf