Criticism of Fast Food - Health Effects

Since the ancient times we have some forms of fast food - food that can be prepared fast, sold and eaten without any further preparation. But it’s from the beginning of the 20th century that fast food experienced a boom and today it affects people and nature in more than one way. First reason for its success is its low cost. But this precise reason created problems with fast food that many people are complaining against: negative health effects, treatment of animals from which this food is made and treatment of workers that work in fast food industry.

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Studies have shown link between eating fast food and increased body mass index as well as weight gain. Many types (not all) of fast food are high in saturated fats which, if used in larger quantities, cause heart disease. Experiments performed on monkeys in 2006 showed that monkeys fed with trans fats (which fast food mainly has) had more abdominal fat and showed early stages of diabetes. Monkeys fed with unsaturated fats didn’t have these problems. Some studies found that nearly one-third of children in United States aged 4 to 19 eat fast food and consumption of fast food amongst children is today five times larger than it was in 1970s. All this have harmful side effects on their health. Some fast food chains are trying to give healthier options in their menus.

In attempt to provide fast food chains with enough meat for less money, farms tend to mistreat animals. These factory farms are often accused to confine animals in small cages which results in a lack of exercise and natural locomotory behavior. This weakens bones and muscles of these animals. These confinements are breeding ground for viruses and their mutations and are good terrains for easy transmission of contagious diseases from animals themselves and from their waste. All this makes animals sick so antibiotics are applied to make them better. These antibiotics create strains that are immune to antibiotics and if humans also use these antibiotics they will not work. Because of that some governments ban use of such antibiotics. Because the animals are confined in such a small spaces they are under stress and can attack each other. Because of chicks may be debeaked which causes shock and pain. Other animals, if confined in small cages show depression and frustration which manifests as self-destructive actions.

Many fast food restaurants pay their workers minimum wage (or below) which is not enough for a grown person to live from. Because of that fast food workers held a series of protests to try and fight for better conditions of their work. One of them was held on November 29, 2012. On that day 100 fast-food workers from McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Domino's, Papa John's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut left their workplaces and started the strike demanding higher wages, better working conditions and the right to form a union without a fear from what their managers will do. This was the first of the series of recent strikes of which the latest was on September 4, 2014 and which was a national strike in the whole of United States that took place in more than 100 cities.

Note: This article does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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