It seems like an obvious question, after all, everyone knows fast food is bad for you. But not everyone knows exactly why fast food is bad for you. Everyone just assumes that fast food equals weight gain, gaining weight is bad for you, so that’s it right?
As you can tell I hate everything about fast food, the idea of getting food within minutes just does not seem right to me. Seriously, think about it for a moment, when you order your food it takes a minute or two for you to get it. So either, the burger that you just ordered has been sitting there for a while, or they cook it extremely fast, just fast enough to be legal and then they serve it to you. Fast food joints like McDonalds and BurgerKing pride themselves in how quickly they can get the food to you, so it’s extremely important they get it to you as quickly as possible and move on to the next customer. After all, the more customers they serve the more money they make, they don’t exactly care about what they are doing to your health.
Recently these fast food restaurants have been taking a lot of heat for the quality of the food that they have been serving to their customers. You have probably noticed the commercials on television for these fast food restaurants talk about the quality of food and how all of it’s fresh, blah, blah, blah. What they consider fresh, and what you and I consider fresh is most likely two different things. The hamburger meat is packaged at a plant, frozen, put on a truck, driven halfway across the country and then distributed to each restaurant in the area. Once it’s in the restaurant it can be frozen for a number of days until used. Once they need it, they go to the freezer pull out the patties, which are usually frozen together; they crack them apart and then cook them. Within a matter of minutes they serve them to you. The chicken and fish follow the same principle, they are ground up into what looks like a pink slime (it looks similar to strawberry ice cream,) and then they are made into nice little nuggets or patties, breaded, frozen and then sent to the store.
How do they keep this food fresh the entire time? They just freeze it right? No, part of what makes fast food bad for you, is the ammonia that is used as a preservative to keep the food fresh. Sure ammonia is in plenty of healthy foods such as apples, but it’s not the same levels that are used to preserve this bad fast food. In case you’re wondering what ammonia is, it’s a harmful chemical used as a preservative that is known to cause cancer, yes, KNOWN to cause cancer. Now if these fast food restaurants are willing to use a preserving agent that is known to cause cancer, what other extremes would they go to?
The Fat Is Stored, So I Just Gain Weight Right?
Of course you’re going to gain weight! After all, during this hypothetical scenario you just ate enough food in one meal to feed an adult male for one day, and only got 500 calories worth of something useful out of it.
Unfortunately the effects of this are not just cosmetic. That same fat that is stored will eventually begin to make its way into your blood stream. Once that fat is in your blood stream it will begin to stick to the walls of your arteries and start to clot. Once that fat clots, you would probably have a heart attack or a stroke. If you manage to survive a heart attack or a stroke, the effects will linger for the rest of your life. This does not mean you should bypass the whole equation and say that fast food = heart attack or stroke, but it certainly does not help your chances.
How About Fast Food and Your Energy Levels?
When it comes to fast food’s bad effects on energy levels, theirs both short term and long term effects, lets start off by focusing on the short term effects. Immediately after you eat, your body will immediately begin the sorting process on whether the food needs be burned or stored (all of this depends on your physical exertion too.)
Let’s go back to our hypotheical double cheeseburger to explain this.
Now after you consumed that same imaginary double cheeseburger your body will have a use for 100 calories out of that 400. The 400 is stored while your body begins to use that remaining 100 calories to provide energy for daily tasks. Like I said earlier, 100 calories isn’t enough to do anything, you would be hungry again in 45 minutes if thats all you ate.
If you’re thinking that you can just burn through that 100 calories and then your body will naturally start burning through that additional 400 fat calories, you are mistaken. Unfortunately that’s not how it works, fat burns significantly slower than glycogen and your natural food stores. Once you burn through that 100 fat calories naturally, you will be hungry again, and the energy that you get from your fat stores is designed to keep you alive in an event where you have no food for an extended period of time (you can thank our ancestors for that,) not to fuel your daily activities.
Ultimately, it’s a lose-lose situation when it comes to short term energy, once you think you have ate enough to provide adequate energy for your day, you are going to feel bloated and tired.
Now for the long term.
This might seem pretty obvious, but I want to bring it up either way. A steady diet of fast food effects your energy levels long term because it makes you gain weight. When you’re carrying around extra weight, you get tired easily and your internal organs and muscles have to work significantly more in order to get through daily activites.
Some people might not even notice how much this effects their energy because they have been eating fast food since they were a toddler. However, just because you don’t notice any problems when you eat bad fast food that doesn’t mean problems don’t exist.
Fast Food And A Physical Lifestyle
It’s no surprise that it’s hard to work out when you have low energy levels. I’ll be the first to tell you that you have to force yourself to workout on a daily basis. Bad fast food will do a number on you if you workout or have a physical job. Not only is there hardly anything that your body can use to power you through your workout, but your probably going to feel bloated, tired, and have to use the toilet.
Lets be honest, who wants to workout or go to work feeling bloated, tired, and having to run to the bathroom every hour? I certainly don’t.
What’s The Deal On That Grease?
I personally believe grease gets a bad rap. Yeah it’s terrible for you, makes you sick to your stomach, and makes you hit the toilet within 20 minutes of eating, but it’s not the ultimate demon that everyone makes it out to be. Grease is merely a big red flag on your food telling you not to eat it because it contains a lot of bad fat. It’s pretty simple, if something contains grease it’s going to be bad for you, so do your best to stay away from it.
So Is All Fast Food Really That Bad?
No, some fast food is better than others. I have some tips for you if you have no other option but to hit the drive-thru.
Stay Away From The Dollar Menu
The dollar menu is the devil! It’s easy to justify eating poorly when it’s all you can afford, however you need to do your best to stay away from that food. If it’s cheap, its usually garbage.
Do Your Best To Stay Away From Meats
The meat at fast food joint’s is terrible. It doesn’t matter if it’s beef, chicken, pork, or fish it’s all pretty sketchy. Almost all of the meat has been frozen, ground up, or covered in some sort of preservative.
Opt For A Salad Or Some Yogurt
I personally don’t care for salads from fast food restaurants because it’s a ploy to make them out to have healthy options to the public. Truth is they put just as many, if not more preservatives in their vegetables as they do their meat. However it’s a better option then a burger and fries.
Don’t Even Think About Sweet’s Or French Fries
This one should be pretty obvious. Almost everyone understands that a smores pie, ice cream, or french fries are bad for you. Sweets contain a lot of sugar, and sugar slows down your metabolism. French fries are deep fried and covered in salt, too much salt is bad for your blood pressure and heart.
You Can Avoid It!
There’s plenty of other healthy options that are comparable in price and won’t be as bad for you as fast food. I hope you are able to see what makes fast food bad for you, and I encourage you to take a look at my section on fast food nutritional facts so you can see how the numbers add up.
You can eat instead of fast foods like:
1) Apples 2) Almonds 3) Broccoli 4) Blueberries 5) Oily fish 6) Leafy green vegetables 7) Sweet potatoes 8) Papayas 9) Avocados 10) Oatmeal .