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The paper is an essay a critical analysis of fast food. Both arguments for and against fast food are brought forth and thoroughly explained. A brief history of first food also constitutes part of this essay. It has been argued that change is as good as rest. The development of fast food was instigated by swift pace of life, the need to save time, energy, engaging in other activities other than cooking and spending time in the field and hectic schedule currently experience by the working human populations.
Fast food is refers to those kinds of food that are prepared and ready to be eaten within the shortest time possible. Additionally, fast food constitute foodstuffs that are available for sale in restaurants and stores made up of ingredients that that can be preheated or precooked without any problem and served in a take away form (Egerton & Bleidt 13). Fast foods are characterized by high fat content, high calories, high cholesterol, and quick, convenient and high sodium concentration. Similarly, it is inexpensive made from ingredients that are cheap such as fat meat and refined grains. These kinds of foods are not only available in restaurants but also in vending equipment as well as 24-hour expediency stores.
According to Brown 1, U.S.A had the number of fast food restaurants about 14,000 followed by Japan which had approximately 4,000 restaurants. Globally, there are close to 11, 000 restaurants that serve fast food as at 2008. Additionally, close to 10 million people are served with fast food in the entire world in any given day. It is worth noting that although fast food has gain popularity, there are disadvantages as well as advantages of the same which thus forms the backbone of this paper. Examples of fast food include the following, sandwiches, hot dogs, pitas, fried chicken, French fries, chicken nuggets, tacos, pizza, hamburgers, fish and chips and ice cream to mention but a few (Egerton & Bleidt 313).
2.0 History of fast food
History of fast food can be linked to urbanization as well as the various activities done by certain persons within the community for instance soldiers, shepherds, hunters among others who were in need of foodstuffs that can be consumed very fast and of course far from homes.
Historically, in the past men were born to work in the field while women were to spend most of their lives in activities associated with the kitchen which include cooking. When we consider family size, the work done by a woman for instance cooking for a family of 10 for a full year using the tradition way of chopping, grinding is nothing but slavery. For instance, in Mexico, those families that had no servant in their disposal, a woman could spend over five hours preparing dough and waking as early as 3:00am in the morning to prepared breakfast (Laudan 38). The need to change this scenario is attributed to development of fast food.
In the wake of 20th century Italy enjoyed the first pasta made from a factory and canned tomatoes. Later, Japanese women were relieved from waking up early to prepared bread by simply buying bread baked in factories. Similarly, in Greece, barley was roasted so that it can be eaten straight or mixed with milk, water or butter. In Mexico and the Aztecs, they roasted and ground maize. Further development followed in coming up with fast food and eventually supermarkets opened their doors in Eastern Europe making people enjoyed convenience and reliability of ready made food. This is what was needed over this long period of time; food that was fast can be preserved, affordable and processed.
3.0 Arguments supporting fast food
It is worth noting from the onset that there is a tussle between supporters and opponents of fast food. According to Laudan 34, those against the idea of fast food lack appreciation by demeaning the efforts of and home economists that have tried to come up with crops that have very high yield and recipes for our daily meals respectively.
3.1. Saves time
The most notable argument brought forth in support of fast food is that it saves time as well as convenience. Considering the fact that the current society is characterized with hectic work schedule making individuals be very busy most of their times, no time is available for them to look for food (Egerton & Bleidt 203). Hence, fast food comes in handy. It is worth noting that minimal time is spend by visiting those restaurant as customers are served quickly, the time that could be lost in waiting for other foods to be cooked or cooking at home can be used to do other things.
Additionally, the traditional role of men working in the fields and women spending almost their entire life in cooking for their families has changed as they can engage in other activities that are profitable to the society. On the same note fast food save time in the context that one will not engage in all those activities of buying, cleaning such food stuffs, cooking as well as washing dishes. It is also true that when one gets home after a tiresome day thus very tired and bored, the efforts needed to cook can be substituted with having fast food which are considered God sent especially during such moments.
3.2 Saves money
Similarly, fast foods are cheaper. This is because they are made from cheaper ingredients such as refined grains, meat with a lot of fat among others instead of ingredients that are expensive and nutritious such as vegetables, lean meat and fresh fruits. On the same note considering people who live alone, the expenses of cooking are much higher compared to when buying fast food. It has been noted that with as low as $5.0 one can get a fulfilling meal without undergoing the numerous hustle of acquiring the same.
In addition taking the context of soldiers or those who engage in similar activities, a lot of money is saved when these individual carry processed fast food. One, they will not need energy to cook such food and if need be, energy consumption will be minimal as compared to energy needed to cook ââ‚¬Ëœslow foodââ‚¬â„¢. The money save can be used elsewhere.
3.3 Health advantage
Despite the fact that those opposing fast food claim that it results to various problems in human health, it is worth noting that fast foods have contributed to taller and individuals with higher life expectancy. When our ancestors are compared with the current generation, it is evident that we are better off in fighting diseases hence living longer this is thanks to better medication, health science as well as fast food stuffs (Egerton & Bleidt 113).
3.4 Sharing and convenience
It is evident that fast food are usually packed in away that it can be taken out of the restaurant and eaten from anywhere, be it in the car, office, at the bus station. Additionally, unlike other kinds of food, fast food comes with the absolute advantage of splitting and sharing between or even amongst individuals (Watson 32). On the same note, there are those individual who do not like eating in public places, in this case fast food comes in handy as it can be consumed from any point. On the same note, when one is in a rush, he or she does not need to find a parking space; similarly, one does not need to get out of the car especially during bad whether.
3.5 Provision of employment and revenue generation
In the current society, job opportunities have proved to be scarce. The faster growth of this industry globally stands at bout 5% and in the case of India, it stands at 41%. This kind of growth has seen to it a number of individuals are absorbed in this industry easing the problem of unemployment and overdependence on those few individuals who are employed. It is worth noting that the industry provide job opportunities to a range of professionals such as chefs, accountants, drivers, bakers, human resource managers (Lee et al 84).
In terms of revenue generation, U.S alone generated about $100 billion in 2000 up from around 6 billion dollars thirty years ago. This value hit $145 billion mark in 2006; this kind of money can be used in various areas of fostering economy of the country such as financial medical care, education building infrastructure and so on.
A study carried out asking why individuals bought fast food established that reliability of such kind of food is what propels them to buying them. Fast foods are easy to obtain, are in plenty, varied in nature and readily available.
3.7 Nutritional information
Most of the fast food joints have adopted a culture of making available the information concerning nutrients of their food. It is worth mentioning that with such kind of information as well as a number food stuff variety, one has a chance to choose the best kind of food that suits him or her. According to Conway many fast food restaurants provide guideline on nutrition in their menu, and those menus have significantly changed to include various healthy food stuffs for instance salads (Lee et al 77).
3.8 Promoted agriculture
Since the ingredients used in making fast5 food are either from plant or animal origin, the rapid development of the industry has tremendously increased the number of individuals who practice crop farming as well as livestock keeping. Considering the large number of chickens, fish, grain mattock and beef needed more and more persons have engaged themselves in agricultural activities with the aim of earning an income as they try to meet the demand of fast food market (Watson 43).
It is worth noting that agricultural development and growth especially in third world countries provide a larger portion of the population with job opportunities. This in turn help cut down the escalating number of unemployed citizen in any given country. The economic multiplier effect of expansion in agriculture has resulted to a positive Gross Domestic Product of various countries.
4.0 Arguments against fast food
Those individuals that strongly oppose the idea of fast food in most cases cite the health risk the food poses to human kind. They totally disagree with those points brought forth by those who are pro fast food saying that nothing comes first than human health.
4.1 Health issues
It has been brought forth that fast foods are characterized by high fat content, high calories, high cholesterol, and quick, high sodium concentration and made from ingredients that are cheap such as fat meat and refined grains. All these pose a greater risk to human health. Prominent scholars and health professionals have linked too much eating of fast food with such health problems as obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disorders, and liver problems.
4.1.1 Heart attack
Fast foods are prepared using Trans fat which is an artery-clogging fat. Food prepared using this fat includes French fries as well as chicken nuggets to mention but a few. When an individual takes this kind of food, there are very high chances of such an individual to have higher level of cholesterol which tremendously increases the risk of suffering from heart failures that can be fatal.
4.1.2 Increased high blood pressure
As previously mention, fast food contains a good deal of sodium concentration, this aggravates the risk of high blood pressure. Higher concentration of sodium not only causes high blood pressure but also leads to a build up of fluid in those individuals affected by cirrhosis, heart problems as well as kidney disorders (Brennan & Carpenter 510).
According to Wood 21 food such as cheeseburger do contain substantially larger amount of calories than what our body needs. Continual eating of such kind of food means that we accumulate a lot of calories in our body that are not useful leading to individuals being obese. This scenario is a perfect environment thus for a number of serious health problems as heart attack, cancer as well as diabetes.
It is important to remember that this leads to other cost. In 2006 it was estimated that approximately $145 billion were spent in buying fast food, the amount coined to treating the problems associated with fast food did surpass the revenue generated.
4.1.4 Liver problem
According to Doctor Ballantyne Christine of Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, frequent consumption of fast food leads to liver damage. Since the liver is responsible for purification/filtering of harmful substances as well as producing substances that help breakdown fats, when fast foods are consumed every now and then, the liver will be overloaded and damaged. This in turn leads to very serious health problems that can be fatal.
A study carried out by the University of Michigan established that those individuals who lived within a walking distance to a restaurant where fast food are sold have 13% chances of suffering from stroke. This is thus linked to the effects of obesity, high blood pressure and so on.
It has been documented that fast food is addictive. What this means is that individuals who are used to eating such foods cannot go for long without having a bit of such food. This is despite the fact of the health risk they are posing themselves to. Addiction is attributed to the fact that fast food high in calories, fats, salt and sugar usually reconfigure certain hormones in human body making the body yearn for more fast food (Brennan & Carpenter 510). This leads to uncontrolled intake of such kind of foods making it more difficult for an individual to change their eating habits.
4.3 Higher chances of contamination
Since fast food constitutes the type of foodstuffs that can be prepared within a very short time, some ingredients especially from plant origin have contaminants. The presence of these contaminants coupled with such cooking methods as frying and grilling do aggravate the problem of carcinogens as well as other kinds of contaminant which are deadly to human health.
Additionally, the manner with which fast food are cooked leaves room for survival of microbes this is due to the fact that they are half-cooked. The presence of such microbes usually leads to a suffering from numerous diseases that when not properly and quickly treated lead to death.
4.4 Family bond
The issue of fast food has been brought forth as another factor that jeopardizes family bond. This is because no or very minimal time is used in preparing food together, leave alone eating together. Young people are spending more of their time in having a meal with their fellow friends other than their family members (Schlosser 211).
Psychologist hold that meal time is a family meeting where each and every member is in a position to share their thought, ideas, problems as well as feelings. This usually helps in strengthening the bond between and among family members. This is in jeopardy during this era of growth in fast food industries.
4.5 Lower nutritional content
Fast food has been linked and it is a fact that most of them apart from pizza lack dietary fiber as well as essential micro-nutrients such as vitamin and minerals. It is worth mentioning that food that lack fiber brings with it a number of stomach complication such as constipation. In the same respect, fruit usually lack in this sort of diet. In addition fast food are not nutritionally balanced, this lack of essential nutrients leads to malnutrition to both adults and kids (Arsenault 5).
4.6 Environmental impact
Although this can be disputed as mere statement with no facts, the impact of fast food when critically analyzed will leave one puzzled. According to the finding of New Community Project, approximately 15 pounds of grain and close to 2,500 gallons of water is used to come up with one pound of hamburger. Similarly considering the pace with which meat is consumed through fast food, more land will need to be created especially through deforestation to provide enough space to rising up castles, sheep and goats (Brennan & Carpenter 507).
What this mean is that our natural ecosystems will be interfered with in the long ran leading to serious consequences as species extinction, habitat destruction, global warming and many negative environmental impacts that do have serious and lethal consequences to human beings. Additionally, over reliance on animal food product will mean that both terrestrial and marine life will be overexploited to meet the ever increasing human demand on fast food (Schlosser 300).
Although previously it was stated that fast food is inexpensive, that was only true when considering an individual buying such kind of food Vis avis cooking at home. It is important to not that a family visiting or buying fast food once in a while is not that expensive, but when this is done more often, then the amount of money spent can be quite much more as compared to if the family could just buy the food in super market, take the time to prepared it and enjoy a dinner or lunch together as a family (Arsenault 12). Additionally, in fast food joints, even if the whole family goes there, the environment is not very conducive to ensure that each and every family members share their thought, feeling and ideas because the time to spend in such areas are always limited.
5.0 Dealing with the problem
On the basis of the argument for and against fast food, it will only be rational if we seriously think and act properly. Proponents of fast food usually say those who that argue against fast food are misplaced, what they need to do is to advocate for high quality processed food.
At present, what is needed is to develop a culture that is in line with fast processed food. The culture need to provide choices to individuals, ethos that does not intolerant. It is worth to note that this will create the kind of uniformity we need at the present (Laudan 39).
It will be responsible if;
Parents do not encourage their kids to frequently eat fast food as well as teaching them on how to eat healthy
Parent should lead by example and encourage eating together at home
Choosing healthy food with vegetables, less sodium, sugar and fat
In cases where one is addicted to such kind of food, efforts should be made to help him/her out of the problem through the various available ways for instance seeing a nutritionist (Laudan 39)
From the review of both arguments for and against fast food, it is very easy for one to advocate doing away with it. But further consideration can make one to on which side to take. Among the arguments brought forth by proponent of fast food include the following; fast food are cheap, convenient, reliable, Saves time, provide an opportunity of sharing, provision of employment and revenue generation among others.
On the other hand, the various disadvantages that have been used to argue against fast food include the health concern of such food stuffs, the lower nutritional content, the negative impact it posses to the environment, higher chances of contamination there by increasing the risk of diseases, addiction, destruction or jeopardizing family bond to mention but a few. It is worth mentioning that the types of diseases or health hazard associated with fast food include but not limited to obesity, high blood pressure, liver problems, and heart problems/failure.
From my point of view, I do not advocate for doing away with fast food due to its various disadvantages, I thus borrow from what Laudan, Rachel brought forth, that we should not fight the industry and bring it down to its knees but rather champion for further improvement of fast food that will bring out high quality and healthy food. This will indeed ensure that people consume healthy foods and at the same time cushioning those that depend on the industry for their daily bread from economic uncertainty of doing way with the sector.