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Fast food is a type of food that have mostly come up in the anglo saxon countries, and whose use has spread throughout the world since the 1980s. It is a type of food service that is based on the quick preparation of food that is economical, and with that very accessible to middle classes.
Fast food, or junk food as it is called, is a category of foods with the following characteristics:
– Very low nutritional value
– Inadequate levels of water, mineral salts, vitamins and fiber
– High energy value
– Increased levels of table salt
– Increased levels of refined carbohydrates
– Increased levels of cholesterol, saturated and trans fats, sweeteners, sucrose…
Fast food is not made for a nutritive person’s needs, both because of the high amount of calories it contains, as well as the physiological human need for vitamins, fibers, essential fatty acids and the like.
People who constantly eat fast food can easily be recognized as they tend to be overweight, have visible fat around their waist, they tend to have a low glucose tolerance, have hypertension and so on. This is especially true for the United States, where such eating habits are very widespread, although they are becoming more and more common around the world.
There are many reasons as to why fast food has become so popular in many countries. The officials who are in charge of control, and who should be concerned with the health of the population, are instead allowing the spread of this industry that is greatly responsible for the following:
– Increased child obesity rates
– Increased adult mortality
– Increased national healthcare spending
It is not justified to say that health can be seriously damaged with the occasional eating of fast food. Systematic damage is a result of the constant ingestion of junk food. If we choose to eat something bad once or twice a month, that should not really have a great impact. The problem is however, that fast food is often the most convenient meal, because it tastes good and is cheap. The ingredients that go in fast food are often very cheap – processed fat, sucrose, artificial sweeteners, potatoes, minced meat…
Junk food can cost only half the amount of a meal that has a balanced value of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but on the other hand can contain contain 10 times as many empty calories.
A student in school will rather eat a burger, fries or kebab and fill them with sauces such as mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard etc because it is the most accessible meal in the given moment. Sweets, soft drinks and beer can also be placed in the junk food category.
The risks of constant junk food consumption are often increased by the unsanitary and unsafe way in which they are prepared.