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Fast Food & Our Health

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By: Jaswinder Pal Sharma

As the name suggests, fast foods are food items that are quickly made, quickly served and quickly eaten. Life today has become fast, and the changes in the lifestyle of people have gotten them addicted to food items that can be readily made. Fast food is the name coined for food items that are either available pre-cooked or can be cooked in a lesser time than regular food.

People find it desirable and convenient to eat such food items as they please their taste buds more than regular food. Fast foods can be easily prepared without much hustle and are served in many places like take-outs, sit-down restaurants, counter services, drive-thru and delivery.

Fast food has gained its popularity as it is convenient, tastes good and is inexpensive. It was created as a commercial strategy to accommodate the larger number of travellers, wage workers and commuters who often did not have the time to sit down at a table and wait for their meal.

When the speed of service was made the priority, the inconvenience of the customers who had limitations on their time and could not wait for their food was tackled with. Even though several items can be cooked fast, the commercial term for food items in restaurants or stores with precooked, frozen or preheated ingredients is ‘fast food’. These stored food items are served to customers in a packed form for takeaway.

Processed food items like pizzas, noodles, white bread, diet soda etc. are various types often prepared with ingredients that are cheap such as high-fat meat, added sugar and fats and refined grains instead of nutrient ingredients such as whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables and fresh fruits.

Fast food is high on sodium as it is used as a preservative, making the food more flavored and satisfying. There is no such thing as ‘bad’ food, but there are some food items that should not be consumed regularly. Fast food items are high in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and cholesterol and therefore have several side effects as large and regular consumption is associated with cardiovascular diseases, obesity, high cholesterol, colorectal cancer, insulin resistance condition and depression. Excessive consumption of fast foods results in affecting the brain, which in turn results in affecting the mental health of the person.

People tend to binge on fast foods that have a high level of fats and sugar which affects their brain making it hard to say no and studies by scientist have shown that large doses of fast foods stimulate the brains natural opioids which produces a high similar to – though less intense – than that produced by heroin and cocaine.

Consumption of fast food in an excessive amount has adverse effects on the body – affecting the respiratory system, nervous system, reproductive system integumentary system and also the skeletal system. In today’s world, two out of three adults are considered obese or overweight in the US.

The fast-food industry is a million-dollar industry serving people each day all over the globe and has rapidly replaced the traditional family dinner in many parts of the world.

The writer is District Education, Media Coordinator,Sri Muktsar Sahib Punjab

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