The term "fast food" refers to food items that are prepared relatively quickly, usually in fewer than five minutes. Sometimes the food is even prepared in advance before the customer places an order. Foods that fall into this category have a reputation for being unhealthy and low in quality. A typical fast food meal consists of fries, a hamburger and a soda. Fast food restaurants are often franchised chains of restaurants with similar decor and menus. One of the most popular fast food restaurants in the United States and in other countries such as Russia is McDonald's. However, fast food is not limited to fries and burgers. Other types of fast food include tacos, pizza and hot dogs.
Doctors, nutritionists and dietitians often criticize fast food for being detrimental to a person's health, especially if consumed on a daily basis. Most fast foods, particularly french fries and other fried foods, contain a high amount of trans fats, which have been linked to several health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Additionally, soft drinks included in fast food meals contain high-fructose corn syrup, which has also been proven to lead to weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How Fast Food Makes Us Fat
A typical fast food meal is low on nutrition, but high on calories. A meal consisting of a hamburger, fries and a soda from a fast food restaurant averages approximately 1,400 calories. Compare this to the 2,000 daily calories recommended by dietitians that are considered sufficient for most people. Statistically, Americans eat out at least five times a week, and most of the time they choose fast food meals. Due to the high caloric intake consumed on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis, many Americans have seen their waistlines grow. In addition to the extremely high calorie count of a fast food meal, the ingredients in these meals are very low in nutritional value. The combination of trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup adds empty calories that do not provide sufficient energy or the necessary nutrients and vitamins. Instead, fast food meals lead to sluggishness, vitamin deficiency and weight gain. In fact, a penchant for fast food and disregard for proper exercise have led to an alarming obesity epidemic in the U.S., with about 30 percent of the population suffering from the disease.