If we give a thought of why people are sometimes inclined towards fast food, the most prominent cue is that people are relentlessly living lives that seem busier than ever before. We are getting up early, staying up late, and working longer hours than arguably ever.
Apart from this, it is also to be noted that, because of how absorbed the modern lifestyle happens to be in this developed world, communities large and small often have at least one significant fast-food establishment in the locality that can serve up a meal when needed. That’s why its evident that there are many families out there who are relying on products from the fast-food industry to take care of their meals on a regular basis.
Needless to say, it is easier to have something that can be served in ten minutes or less, than it is to cook a meal after an exhausting day at work. To be specific, India’s fast-food industry is expanding at the rate of 40% every year. India ranks 10th in the fast-food per capita spending figures with 2.1% of expenditure in annual total spending.
There are several advantages and disadvantages of consuming fast food that is crucial to review, about which we will be talking about here. So, let’s get started…
Perquisites of Fast Food
Fast food provides an alternative to eat something instead of skipping a meal
Skipping a meal can cause fatigue, and it may mean that you lose some of the essential nutrients. Better choose a healthy fast food meal that includes no fried foods but fruits, and vegetables. Most meals that are served at a fast food location are delivered in just minutes.
This would surely help you keep up your energy for the rest of the day rather than feel hungry the whole time. A study has proved that those who prefer to have healthy fast food on a given day instead of a proper meal (only on crucial working days) spend less time eating and drinking as a primary activity than the average for the total population.
Fast food provides affordable access to essential calories
One will not find a better deal on the total number of calories that fast food offers at the cost charged to customers. The fast-food industry is one of the most affordable ways to obtain calories for families right now. Although it is necessary to make smart purchasing choices to gain this advantage, it is possible.
One has visibility to all the nutritional information
One should have the right to know what is in your food before you order it. Fast food establishments are just like any other restaurant when it comes to following the requirements of posting ingredients and nutritional information. If we look at the entire menu card of some top fast food brands in the industry, we can see the calorie count for each menu item. This data makes it easier for the average population to choose a healthier diet choice.
The fast food industry can provide local jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities
Careers in the fast-food industry include counter staff, food preparation specialists, maintenance personnel, and management. The duties and responsibilities in the fast-food industry depend on the type of position.
There are many teenagers in our country who get their first full-time job or a part-time at some fast-food counter because there are skills to learn and money to earn. Although the pay rate isn’t high everywhere, it is just enough to make a supplemental income. The skills that a person learns in the fast-food industry are Teamwork and Management, Multi-tasking, and handling fast-paced environments.
Pitfalls of Fast Food
Fast food can adversely impact the cardiovascular and digestive systems
Most clinicians acknowledge that fast-food consumption is associated with premature heart diseases. The problem is, high-sodium diets are known to increase blood pressure, which puts stress on the cardiovascular system.
Over time, high blood pressure can stiffen or narrow the blood vessels, becoming a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. The drinks that we have with fast foods are usually encumbered with carbohydrates and have very little fiber count. When the digestive system breaks down these foods, then the carbohydrates are released as glucose into the bloodstream. This process creates a higher sugar level, which then causes the body to release more insulin and thus increasing the risk of diabetes, weight gain, and insulin resistance.
Doctors also associate low-fiber diets with a higher risk of digestive conditions such as constipation and diverticular disease, as well as reductions in healthy gut bacteria.
Can affect our mood
A diet that is high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and refined carbs can get us to miss out on a lot of other essential nutrients which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that nourish your body and improve your mood. Thus, eating lots of processed fast food can also impact an individual’s mental health and make them more prone to depression and anxiety.
A 2021 study compared data of 322 males and 322 females age 30 or older. It was found that healthy food such as leafy greens, nuts, and fish had an association with positive mood, while the opposite was true for fast food. In addition, women reported significantly more negative associations with fast food than men.
Drives up cholesterol
Registered dietitian Julia Zumpano remarks, “It’s safe to have some cholesterol in your diet, but many high-cholesterol foods also contain high amounts of saturated fat.”
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that ultimately ends up in the walls of arteries. It causes plaque that leads to heart attacks and strokes. Fast food tends to be high in fried fats and involves some sort of animal by-product in most cases, which can make it bad for cholesterol levels. Some studies show that regularly eating at fast-food restaurants leads to an increase in cholesterol and may even lower good cholesterol.
Lowers memory and learning capacity
A study at RMIT University in Australia found that people who consumed lots of fast food performed more poorly on simple memory exercises. The more frequent children reported eating fast food in fifth grade, the lower their growth in reading, math, and science test scores by the time they reached eighth grade.
The hippocampus is the memory center of the brain and researchers found that fast food and other types of junk fast food can reduce neuroplasticity, the process that allows our brains to keep back our experiences as memories.