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Nowadays, fast food becomes so familiar that it is impossible for many Americans to imagine a world without it. According to Consumer Reports, there are approximately one out of five Americans eating at a fast-food restaurant on a typical day and according to the results of Opinion Research Corporation, about four-fifth of American population visit a fast-food chain every month (Fritschner & Jacobson 1991). Children seem to be lured in fast-food most, there is only one-tenth of kids in U.S.A not going to a McDonald's outlet monthly (Random Facts 2009) and there are about 93 percent of children who can identify accurately the logos of fast-food chains ( abc News 2010). Fast food is not only an integral part in American's lives, but it is also favorite with many people over the world. When McDonald's inaugurated a new store in Kuwait in 1992, the line of cars waiting to enjoy fast food was seven miles in length. According to Rehman, Z. U. (2011), Subway ranks first in the large scale with 33,749 fast-food restaurants all over the word, McDonald's comes next with the total number 32,737 chain stores worldwide, after that are Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Huts, Burger King. KFC now owns about 16,200 fast food outlets dominating in over 100 nations (Rehman 2011) with over 3,000 restaurants in China (Research and Market 2011) and about 800 restaurants in Japan (Fritschner & Jacobson 1991). McDonald's now possesses more than 30,000 privileged stores in over 120 countries including remote areas such as Belgium, Holland, India and so on (Wilson n.d.). Fast food is believed deeply to bring U.S.A a very large profit .According to Random Facts (2009), the earned income of fast-food industry in U.S.A was $6 billion in 1970, this figure increased dramatically to nearly $142 billion in 2006. It is calculated by experts that each American spends an average of $250 per year on fast food (Fritschner & Jacobson 1991).
2.2 Advantages of fast food
There are some reasons explaining why fast food is more and more universal nowadays such as convenience, availability and taste diversity. Convenience can be regarded as the core of fast-food business and an effective way to compete for more customers. Nearness is a vital aspect of convenience, no one wants to spend their busy time driving far or making dangerous turns so as to take a mediocre hamburger. This problem leads to a prominent idea: drive-through windows, a kind of purchase that permits customers not to leave their car. More than half of worldwide fast food business is now done at drive-thru (Fritschner & Jacobson 1991). From no single drive -through windows in 1975, in 2002 more than 90% of McDonald's restaurants had, Starbucks owned 205 drive-through windows at convenient locations (Horovitz 2002). He also claimed that if you buy fast food in a drive-thru, you can save much time, preview menu board can cause you to decide more quickly, you can order food and pour drink at the same time and it only takes you nine seconds to have a toasted bun. Pizza restaurants have made a breakthrough with home delivery service. Domino's Pizza, which confirms to deliver pizzas to domicile within 30 minutes, has its delivery staff ride everything from speedboats in Alaska to roller skates in New York to scooters in London and Hongkong (Fritschner & Jacobson 1991).
Besides convenience, fast food seems to be always available, we can find a fast-food restaurant in everywhere in a city, at schools, at museums, on beaches, on college campuses even on military bases. It is obvious that anywhere there is exciting crowds and relaxing hours, there is restaurant potential. Fritschner & Jacobson also mentioned that many fast-food companies moved onto college campuses, into dormitories, even they arranged for students to be able to use their dormitory-cafeteria meal ticket to buy their brand-name fast foods (1991). In a research conducted in 20 largest cities over the world, Pope (2007) indicated that about 70% of secondary schools in those cities had at least a fast-food chain within walking distance.
Another strength or attraction of fast food industry needs mentioning is the diversity of flavors. In the 1980, the high price of beef made many companies choose fish, chicken and pork as major alternative ingredients for origin flavors, they also cared about women's market with salad choices (Fritschner &Jacobson 1991). If we eat out at a McDonald's restaurant, we can be provided options of more than 40 items: sandwiches, fries, salads, fried chickens, hamburger, fried fish and so forth (1991). With all features, that fast food becomes preferred and a part of our way of life is bound to be inevitableness.
2.3 Drawbacks of fast food
For many reasons, many people have great indulgence with fast food, but the more we eat, the more questions we put about the quality of our diets, whether fast food is detrimental to their health or not. This suspense is clarified by the claims of many studies that fast food is big danger of motivating a variety of health problems, even some of which are potentially life-threatening. Fat as well as cholesterol is the number one problem when taking this type of food into consideration. According to the United States Department of Agricultural, the maximum amount of fat which an adult can consume is 65 grams per day while a McDonald's large order including fries, cake and beverage contains 72 grams of fat (Wilson n.d.). High-fat diets are not only implicated in some forms of cancer and complicate diabetes, but fat plays a considerable part in heart and cardiovascular diseases as well (Fritschner & Jacobson 1991).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The calories consumed in a fast food meal are equally as damaging to our health.Â Unless our energy output is greater than the calories we take in, our weight begins to edge up the scale.Â As excess fat accumulates on our frames, it begins to take a toll on our heart, blood pressure and blood sugar.Â Most kids need only 2,000 calories per day, while adults require even less.Â Yet just one fast food hamburger can carry up to 750 calories, not to mention the French fries which carry at least another 350 calories.Â More and more children are beginning their lives obese because of poor food choices and lack of exercise.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Another disadvantage of fast food is the breakdown of family life.Â A family together in the kitchen, preparing dinner, is an opportunity to bond and communicate.Â Eating on the run means less time spent around the dinner table, where the day's experiences are shared with other members of the family.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Fast food is certainly an occasional fun treat, and there are healthy menu choices.Â Sadly, too many people visit too often, with unwholesome results and bad habits setting the stage for health disasters for our young people
Fast food is normally high in calories which results in eating too much calories. It can lead to an extra weight gain and ultimately obesity. Not only our health is victim of fast food, but environment also has to suffer from it. So much packaging and waste comes from the fast-food joints. The bags, wrappers, napkins, boxes, Styrofoam containers, plastic-ware, etc; is the primary source of urban litter in the United States. While fast-food packaging counts for 20% of our litter, another 20% comes from packaging for chips, drinks, candy, and other snacks. Out of all the litter, Styrofoam is the most common food waste. Styrofoam is by far the worst litter around, since it takes at least 900 years for it to break down in a landfill!
According to the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, the amount of food transported by road doubled between 1974 and 2005. That's a lot of fuel and energy! A recent Hong Kong study shows that a fast-food restaurant making 4 hamburgers emits the same amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as driving a car for 1,000 miles! Yikes.
With all of the nasty chemicals in the food, the heavy load of litter, and sickening amounts of pollution, hopefully this has inspired you to not eat fast-food regularly, but instead think of it as an occasional treat. Your health, fitness, and environment are on the line!