According to a study conducted about the eating habits of Americans, one out of four eats the same type of fast food on a daily basis. Additionally, of the 52% of the people included in the survey admitted that they find it easier to compute their taxes than deciding on eating healthy food options. Fast food has become a part of American families for years now with the fast food chains scattered over America and with the increase in number of more restaurants sprouting like mushrooms.
This is despite the reminders of experts that some fast food creations are horrible and unhealthy for the human body. This multi-billion industry has been blamed partly for obesity in children and adults as well as the cause of medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and coronary disease and there have been campaigns on changing the way Americans eat.
A Bit of History
Fast food made its way to the American homes in more than six decades ago. In the 1950s, “drive-in” movies became popular and people loved the experience of watching films in the comfort of their cars while enjoying food delivered by cool servers in roller skates. It was also around this time when TV dinner was introduced. With ready-to-eat food for less and the convenience of not having to cook food at home, the fast food industry boomed.
While some say that they are trying to keep away from fast food, there are still people who couldn’t resist grabbing a bite of their favorite burgers and Mexican food. Some fast food owners are also changing their menu list into healthier food options. But is fast food really bad for our health or is it what people on-the-go need? Here are some of the views of the people who love and oppose fast food.
List of Advantages of Fast Food
1. Saves Time.
One of the advantages of choosing fast food chains over regular restaurants or home cooking is its fast serving time. In this digital age, are too busy with work and have to cope with deadlines, on top of keeping two jobs. Moreover, it is hard enough to balance personal life and career with mothers having to drive their kids to school before going to work and pick them up after a whole day at the office. Some parents and career people rely on ordering their food online to have them delivered or drive through their children’s favorite burger joint for dinner. This is because people in a hurry only have to wait for a few minutes or get their food as they choose them from the counter, pay for the check and leave. The term “fast food” was named so because of what it means, literally, food served fast.
Aside from not having to exert too much effort to eat or cook for the whole family or yourself, Americans love fast food because there are establishments in almost all the corners and streets in the city. Take New York, for example. The Upper East Side is filled with restaurants and fast food chains from 1st St. up to Central Park. Starbucks branches are just a block or two from each other and so is McDonalds. Moreover, items on their menu are aplenty and with variety. Eating and getting a full meal is not a problem because anyone can just walk a few meters or cross the street and food is available.
3. Offers Healthy Options.
Fast food items are not really limited to hotdogs, burgers, fries and tacos. Today, fast food chains are starting to add healthier food options in their menu lists. Chipotle, the Mexican fast food chain has already toppled Subway as America’s healthy fast food of choice. Moreover, it is known for having fresh ingredients. Organic salads and burgers are also being offered in fast food restaurants. As for the hotdogs, there are also choices like chicken and turkey.
4. Opens Job Opportunities.
Since the start of this food industry, it has offered jobs to millions of Americans. Many students who are struggling to go to college or pay for student loans are given chances to earn money by working several hours a day. Additionally, the shifting schedule also provides for flexibility in schedule.
List of Disadvantages of Fast Food
1. Unhealthy Food.
This is perhaps the most known disadvantage of fast food. This is because the ingredients include sodium, preservatives and trans fats, not to mention the oil being used to cook and fry them. Also, consumers really don’t know what ingredients are really used to make them. Hotdogs, for example, are said to come from different parts of pork and even the unwanted part of the meat. Moreover, sanitation has been an issue in some fast food establishments with some workers seen mishandling food preparation.
2. Causes Obesity.
In a study, children who are obese were found to be eating fries and burgers most of the time. With the high sodium in fast food and the option to large servings contribute much to obesity as well as cardiovascular diseases.
3. Shortens Quality Time.
With most of the teenagers going out with friends and eating in fast food chains, quality time spent with the family at the dining table is shortened if not lost. For families who prefer to eat out in fast food establishments, on the other hand, eating with other people and the noise can be a distraction and at the same time, expensive.
4. Prone to Labor Issues.
Another setback being thrown at the fast food industry is the low wages of workers who are sometimes not covered with insurance. Also, some establishments hire undocumented people and pay them low salaries. Not only do some abuse their employees, they also take away the opportunity for Americans to work. There have also been reports on how animals are treated in slaughter houses and this is partly because of the increasing demand for meat and poultry.
Despite these advantages and disadvantages, fast food will continue to be a part of the eating habits of Americans. Perhaps, consumers just need to be mindful of their food choices and the how often they enjoy their fast food meals.
Crystal Lombardo has been a staff writer for Future of Working for five years. She is a proud veteran and mother. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our editor-in-chief a message here.