‘Fast Food’- the most alluring term for the current generation , at present has visibly occupied a wide locale of people’s fountainhead of refreshments. There was once a time when people used to invite people at home to celebrate any success with the dear ones. But now days, visiting restaurants is somewhat trendy and even the word ‘invitation’ has been replaced by the word ‘treat’. In today’s life, when a person do amazing result in an exam, get scholarship or a job or achieve any kind of success, the first sentence may be even before ‘congratulations’ by his/her friends shows up as ‘hey! Give us treat’. When it is about giving treat, pizzas or pastas or cheesy burgers or nachos or other mouthwatering items starts floating in imagination. Even, I am writing this article with a similar thought and I cannot even deny smiley face with that I am also a fast food lover.
We are already aware of the health hazards caused by the consumption of fast foods. But it is really hard to resist the temptation for enjoying the mushrooming restaurants’ offers and delectable local or foreign fast food items.
If I simply uphold some contents of these fast foods, apart from high calorie, high concentration of sodium and cholesterol mark a significant magnitude. On the contrary, the fast food items contain a trifling percentage of dietary fiber, vitamins and other minerals which are essential for proper body function.
According to ‘Healthline’, the major 13 perilous effects on health by fast foods are – storage of extra calories, increased insulin resistance, high blood pressure, bloating and puffiness, shortness of breath, depression, dental distress, blood sugar spike, weight gain problems, high cholesterol storage, hearth diseases, headache and acne.
Now if I highlight the most common non-communicable diseases caused by fast foods, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity come first. It is found in a study that a person eating fast food at least two times a week will gain at least 10 pounds of extra weight. And as fast foods has a correlation with increasing blood pressure, hypertension may also lead to stroke. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), fast food consumption is strongly associated with insulin resistance which is solely related to type-2 diabetes. And surprisingly true, fast foods may also lead to cancers as well. According to Corporate Accountability International, one-third of cancers are related to poor diet; this is often paired with the fact that obesity is closely linked with cancers of the colon, kidney and esophagus.
It is to bear in mind that not only early, middle and older adults are at health risk of fast food consumption. Fast food also affects the health of children and sows a seed of obesity in later stage if fast food intake is uncontrolled in childhood and ultimately obesity leads to several other health pitfalls. Most significantly, as the nutrients needed for physical and mental growth and development for an individual are missed in the fast food items, proper and balanced physical growth and mental development can be impaired due to fast food intakes.
There is also a remarkable study finding proving the psychological problems caused by fast food intakes. It is common that some people eat more food mainly fast foods during depression but A study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition showed that eating commercial baked goods (doughnuts, croissants, and, yes, even bran muffins) and fast food (pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs) may be linked to depression. The study determined that people who eat fast food are 51 percent more likely to develop depression than those who eat little to no fast food. It was also found that the more fast food study participants consumed, the more likely they were to develop depression.
It is quite difficult for us to boycott fast food consumption utterly. We can just lessen the tendency and regularity of fast food intake. As we know ‘excess of anything is bad’ so we can check our desire and can enjoy homemade delicious items with our families and friends instead of hanging out in a restaurant. We can fight shy of taking deep fried and greasy fast food items and also the nutrient content of a fast food during consumption can give an objectionable message to us. And lastly, if fast food intake is totally irrepressible for an individual, physical exercise is mandatory for him/her for maintaining a healthy and disease free body.
Nandeeta Samad currently pursuing her Master degree under Institute of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Dhaka. She is also an associate Fellow, Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), Youth Ambassador, ActionAid Bangladesh and Young Fellow, South Asian Youth Society (SAYS). She is from Bangladesh. Mail her at email@example.com
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