There have been long debates on whether fast foods cause obesity or not. Several studies have also been done by various scholars to verify their point of argument. Some of those studies show that fast foods cause obesity while others show that fast foods do not cause obesity. Before centering into the argument of which side is telling the truth the definition of the two terms-fast foods and obesity has to be understood. Fast food implies foods that are served quickly.They are usually sold to consumers in packaged form.
Obesity is a condition, which is associated with having excess body fats that are difficult to regulate when dieting (Mandal 1). People with obesity have a body mass index of 30 or more. Obesity increases a victim’s chances of developing associated conditions like hypertension and diabetes. The paper is going to focus on how fast foods contribute obesity. I will support the argument that fast foods are the primary causes of obesity because they are processed and quick to eat.
Cases of obesity being reported yearly have risen during the past decades and now it is a major health concern. Let us consider looking back to what persons used to eat in the past one decade that they are not eating now. A decade ago the rate of consumption of fast foods was not as high as it is now. That is why there were few cases of obesity compared to know. Studies done 2011 by Anderson, Rafferty, Lyon-Callo, Fussman & Gwendoline show that there was an increase of calorie intake in US by more than 300 kilocalories from 1985 to 2002 (1). The same studies also show that the consumption of foods eaten away from home in the United States has increased (6-8).
However, some scholars have a differing view on the causes of obesity. They argue that when considering at early obesity, the aspects that influence eating and physical activity must be taken into consideration. People cannot only gain weight by merely eating. Some aspects that have been identified comprise of a more sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activities. This therefore, suggests that fast foods are not the only cause of obesity. There are many reasons that make me agree with the argument that fast foods contribute obesity. But those reasons are classified into two main classes. Eating quickly and eating processed food.
It is logical that people are more likely to eat much food when it is quick to consume. Most fast foods are also highly consumed because they are cheap. This means people will buy them in bulk and consume too much; therefore, gaining weight. Consumption of too much food eventually contributes to obesity. A study conducted by Anderson, Rafferty, Lyon-Callo, Fussman & Gwendolineindicates that 64% of people who go to restaurants consume fast foods because they are fast and convenient (4).
Sweeteners available in fast foods also satisfy the consumers’ innate desire for sweetness, which leads to their increased demand. The end result is that they are highly consumed leading to weight gain. This is supported by research done by Anderson, Rafferty, Lyon-Callo, Fussman & Gwendoline, which indicates that fast foods are mostly consumed by young adults because they like sweet foods (Anderson, Rafferty, Lyon-Callo, Fussman & Gwendoline 4).
DeNoon has a contrasting opinion on the causes of obesity. He argues that obesity is not contributed by fast foods but is contributed by too much consumption of food and lack of exercises. Many people in this generation do not involve in physical activities (1). DeNoon tries to disapprove the argument that foods that are quick to consume cause obesity.
Eating processed food
I also support the argument that fast foods are the main cause of obesity because most of them are processed foods. Processed foods lack the essential nutrients like minerals, enzymes and vitamins which help to keep people in the recommended health weight. On the other hand, processed foods are fast to process or digest. This suggest that once a person consumes them they are quickly processed or digested which makes the consumer to eat more thus accelerating body weight. Besides, most processed foods contain artificial ingredients like Aspartame™ and Splenda® which contribute to obesity.
Anderson, Rafferty, Lyon-Callo, Fussman & Gwendoline argue that eating processed foods does not necessary cause obesity. The researchers recommend that in order to reduce obesity, consumers should substitute fast foods with fruits. Anderson et al further argue that it is possible to reduce consuming fast foods as most restaurants nowadays offer choices and one can substitute salad, yoghurt or fruits with fast foods.
This paper reveals that although there are other causes of obesity the primary cause is fast food. The two sides of the argument which are fasts foods are the main cause of obesity and fast foods are not the man cause of obesity have been taken into consideration in the paper but my argument stands that fast foods are the primary cause of obesity. However, I do not ignore that factors like lack of exercise cause obesity but they are not primary causes. Cases of obesity are likely to reduce in the future as people become more aware of the effects of consuming fast foods. Restaurants have also started adopting menus which clearly differentiate between fast foods, and other natural foods. This is likely to see a decrease in obesity in the future.
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- Anderson, Beth, Rafferty P.Ann, Lyon-Callo, Sarah, Fussman, Christopher & Gwendoline Imes. “Fast-Food Consumption and Obesity Among Michigan Adults.” Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Healthy research, practice and policy. (2011): 11.
- DeNoon, Daniel J. Study Suggests 10 New Obesity Causes. 2006. May 21, 2014 http://www.cbsnews.com
- Mandal, Ananya. What is Obesity? 2014. May 21, 2014 http://www.news-medical.net