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Fast Foods

Americans eat more fast foods than other foods due to the manner in which they are marketed. They are convenient, cheap, tastes good and are finger foods meaning one can eat with his or her bare fingers. Eating is among the pleasures of life, although it can be bad for someone’s health when they eat fast foods, which have high-refined sugars, saturated fats and sodium, which lead to obesity, diabetes and other adverse health conditions. Fast food is a term used for various items that may be prepared and served within a short period (Fraser, Graham, Cade & Edwards 77). Fast food is a food supplied quickly after placing an order and with limited service. Nonetheless, the best way of distinguishing fast food is use of formal characteristics: Required time – those who eat fast food are not willing to spend quite a lot of time in selection process and eating. In some incidences, they eat while walking or standing, on the park bench, bus or at work. The main question on fast foods is the effects of eating fast food and the impact they have on the health of an individual.

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Everyone should have a second thought before deciding to eat fast foods. This is because there are numerous health risks when eating foods made within a considerably short time. These foods are not taken care of properly, considering factors like the location the food is produced. Despite being easily cooked and bought, the health risks outweigh the satisfaction obtained within five minutes from the food. Therefore, people ought to think keenly before eating fast food.

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The health risks resulting from consumption of a lot of fast food are a threat to life. For instance, obesity can result from consumption of fast food. Fast food is normally made from fats with high saturation and if calories obtained are not worked off, then one can become obese. Notably even small fast food quantities contain high levels of calories (Alexandria 66). The quantity has fooled some people and they tend to eat more of small quantities thinking they are harmless. Therefore, without their knowledge, they end up consuming huge amounts of calories. This is a main example of the manner in which individuals have been consuming huge amounts of calories without their knowledge. The only risk is not obesity; heart disease is also a major concern. What someone eats has high chances of affecting the health of their heart and chances of developing heart diseases, which are a threat to life. After eating different sugars, fats, and salts, the heart grows weak and this endangers an individual’s life.

Illnesses, which result from eating habits, are commonly due to fast food. Many people do not understand the conditions of the animals before they are slaughtered. For instance, in some incidences chickens and pigs are cramped in enclosed spaces while some cows are hung upside down. In some facilities, the animals are beaten to be positioned at the right position. Some people pinch, kick and kneel animals like pigs and strike them with a steel stunning tong several times, which is very inhumane. Considering these living conditions, different bacteria enter into the food. A recent survey established that a complete 47 percent of soda fountains in restaurants with fast foods have coliform bacteria which grow in feces and 11.2 percent had E. Coli (Stauffer 357). It is exceedingly appalling to know that even the soft drinks we take could be infected food-borne illnesses mostly derived from meat.

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Nonetheless, fast food is among the cheapest and easiest way of eating. It is known to safe significant amounts of time and money, especially for individuals coming home from work. As exemplified by the fast food business successes, having higher convenience as compared to the alternative gives them significant advantage in the market. It is apparent that there lacks a quick or better way of satisfying the reverberating stomach. However, the main concern is the price one pays after getting their fill, after acquiring a new illness from eating food from fast food restaurants. In the United States, fast foods cause approximately between 6 to 8 million illnesses and about nine thousand deaths annually (Cronin, & McCarthy, 730). It is worrying considering that these statistics come from people’s families. Most of the infected food is obtained from food eaten from local fast food joints. To eat from these places can cost many dollars in hospital bills, as a result of infected burger.

Over the years, fast food has advanced from restricted burger shops to multimillion-dollar enterprises. The industry of fast foods has not only altered eating habits of Americans, but also consumers in different parts of the world. Following the speedy and extreme growth of the fast foods industry, companies have continued to overlook quality standards and the healthy conditions of the served foods. The main corporations dealing with fast food like Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s show a considerable lack of business ethics in the different steps of preparing food and overall management of the business. Using inhumane slaughter methods, advertising to children and self-regulation are some of the examples of what fast food companies do. These pitiable fast food industry business ethics portrays a major lack of customer concern. The industry ought to understand the adverse effects the food they produce exposes to the American citizens. There should be change in the business practices to ensure a healthy nation.

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Fast food appears to have found its way into the homes of many Americans. It has changed the diets of the Americans as well as their culture. According to Schlosser, the diet of a society can hold a similar importance to the art or technology of that society. He gives an elaboration on his thought concerning the connection between food and culture by stating that if Americans were wiped from the face of the earth suddenly, people would obtain technological advances, numerous arts, book and a multihued hamburger wrapper from McDonald. The phrase that one is what he eats is currently a true reflection of the American culture. Overuse of the processed food, served by fast food industries has caused a significantly negative image amongst Americans (Plater, & Egger, 63). A stereotype has been developed in America from foreign countries that all Americans are overweight. The reality of this stereotype is not far from being realized. America is currently known to be the fattest nation globally (Whitfield 136). Despite the fact that America is currently reputed for being overweight, some of the American citizens do not suffer from obese conditions. Apparently, some individuals have managed to sustain their healthy living styles as they live in a country with significant temptation to consume fatty foods. The challenging part is that when dealing with the fast foods industry many people give in to these persuasions. The fast food companies with big names do not physically motivate hungry customers to buy the products. However, these companies have significant influence in the choices people make on where an individual eats by starting new restaurants in different areas. This growth of fast food industry contributes to the increase of the health problems in America.

The increase in the fast food companies’ profit margin is directly proportional to the deterioration in the customers’ health condition. In the Super Size Me documentary by Morgan Spurlock, he examines the increased problem of Americans who struggle with overweight and obese conditions. In this documentary, Spurlock tries to prove that the fast foods corporations are to be blamed when dealing with obesity, Spurlock specifically uses McDonald in explanation considering the financial success and global attention the corporation possesses. Spurlock is seen consuming the products produced by McDonald thrice a day everyday for thirty days. After the completion of thirty days, his cholesterol level had gone up by sixty points, as he gains twenty-five pounds; additionally, doctors stated that his liver had literally changed into fat.

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The aforementioned documentary enables the average American to gain more information and be more aware of the adverse effects caused by fast foods on human body for a given time period. In America, the national obesity epidemic has continued to grow with fast food company influence. The obesity conditions in America have increased significantly, and it comes second after smoking, among the preventable causes of death. Consumers have not been discouraged by death from consuming fast food. Every day, one in four Americans buy fast food. McDonald restaurant are situated in strategic places like gas stations, grocery stores and even hospitals. Considering the various health risks people are exposed to after eating fast food, it may be rather convenient for one to eat the hospital food or eat while in hospital. Some of the probable health concern arising in older adults due to overuse of fast food include colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, respiratory problems, sleep apnea, gall bladder disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. Rational explanation to the obesity problem and other health concerns, which fast foods can cause, would be simply lowering the levels of calories, sodium, fat, as well as other unhealthy components lying within chicken nuggets and hamburgers. In accordance with the main website of Food and Drug Administration, a 2011 proposal initiated to lower the counts of sodium in food for controlling the consumer hands. This proposal aims at reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. However, the success of this proposal is discouraged by the fast food companies’ self-regulation. In a certain article, Mark Bittman claims that major companies dealing with fast foods self regulate their food nutrition level. Through self-regulation mechanisms, these companies have started to set their nutritional guidelines. This has allowed the fast food manufactures to have total control over what a healthy meal consists. The concern of Bittman regarding self-regulation is that the youth of America are exposed to food that is unhealthy at early age.

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Poor business ethics, portrayed by corporations dealing with fast foods, have increasingly expanded. Children have been enticed by the industry by use of advertisements in television and toys sold together with these foods. This marketing strategy is morally unethical to be condoned by fast food companies. To market toys with the aim of manipulating the minds of children on what they should consume is intolerable. The marketing strategy of McDonald uses more than just toys and advertisements to entice its young client base. Other tactics used by McDonalds to attract children into buying their products are McDonald’s clown, Ronald McDonald, and playgrounds. These company manipulations sparkle unhealthy eating habits amongst the American youth. The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) comprises of a group of manufacturers infamous for regulation of their own nutritional standards. The main companies in CFBAI comprise of Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Burger King, and McDonald. This group has put in place personal guidelines for defining what is healthy enough to be marketed to children. Through self-regulation nutrition guidelines, companies have obtained complete control of what is stated to be healthy. Irrespective of the ideal objective in nutrition, the companies have overlooked the health of children with the aim of increasing their profits.

Young children, with no knowledge of what is healthy or unhealthy cannot be persuaded for money. The Rudd Center for Food and Obesity in Yale University, gathered data from twelve of the major food companies in the nation as given below: KFC, Wendy, McDonald, Pizza Hut, Domino, Sonic, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks (Melnick). Despite the claim by fast foods to limit the amount of marketing aimed at children, data has indicated that advertisements aimed at ages 5-17 has gone up over one year. Investigations by researchers have established that out of 3,039 fast food meals aimed at children, only 12 had attained the nutritional requirements, which had been set by researchers for pre-school children while 15 were meeting the criteria for older children. Out of the twelve meals, which were perceived to be healthy for preschoolers, all were from Burger King and Subway (Melnick). The significance of this study was providing views on how far fast food was from attaining a healthy status.

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McDonald’s claim that all of their facts on nutrition are listed on the company’s website and therefore outraged parents should not complain as they try to examine the meal ingredients, or teenagers who argue that their reason for obesity is McChickens. McDonalds possesses nutritional fact posted on the main website of the company; however, over 50% of the American homes lack internet connectivity. For this reason, they will continue being ignorant to the nutritional facts of McDonalds. Suppose these fast foods giants continue giving nutritional guidelines, more information concerning its ingredients health ought to be easily accessible in various restaurants.

Many customers walk into doors of fast food establishments every day of buy fast foods. In accordance with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), McDonalds displays a significant lack of ethics in business starting with the initial food preparation stage. This organization, PETA, launched a campaign against McDonald in 2000, known as McCruelty, and the campaign was re-launched in 2009. This campaign made a declaration that McDonald used methods with were painful and outdated to slaughter chickens. In the United States, McDonald is known to be the biggest distributor of chicken meat. Starting a chicken slaughtering method that is more up to date and less painful would be an ethical decision by the company to enhance its public relations.

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With McDonalds giving service to many people, there should be concern regarding the health of individuals of the different people purchasing the food. There is a solemn lack of ethics in McDonalds in dealing with its foodstuff. Some individuals are concerned about the amount of McDonald food, which is real. In 2010, an article from The Washington Post examines the process used in making chicken in McDonald. It notes that chicken are turned into goop-like pink substance, which is then turned into patties and nuggets (Klein). Since the goop is infested with bacteria, it ought to be soaked with ammonia. This follows an artificial flavoring of the chicken and then dying with artificial coloring. This artificial manner of food processing is fast when feeding a huge number of people. This enables McDonald to gain financially over its competitors. However, it is worrying that this monetary gain comes at the expense of health and wellbeing of its customers.

Early in 2012, Americans were notified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) that there had been an outbreak in Salmonella in the meat of Taco Bell. From ten different states, sixty-eight people were affected (Flynn). This outbreak was detected three months earlier, but these details were kept from the public until February. Officials from FDA justified their concealing of the information by arguing that the outbreak did not pose a serious threat to the public. With manufacturers of food delivering mass food amounts to restaurants like McDonalds and Taco Bell regularly, food ought to be investigated thoroughly to ensure it is safe for consumption.

In conclusion, the fast food business, which began over fifty years back, has changed dramatically. The fast foods industries have been characterized by lack of attention as they deal with the food quality and they engage in morally wrong practices. The fast food demand constantly increasing, and therefore solutions ought to be devised to meet these demands without engaging in morally wrong business practices. It is high time for fast food companies to acknowledge the repercussions of selling unhealthy food and using morally wrong business practices. They should spend more time focusing on the well-being and health of customers, instead of focusing singly on profit margins. People ought to have a second thought before deciding on whether to eat fast foods. The health risks are not worthy someone’s life, and animals living in slaughterhouses are not treated hygienically before slaughtering; this causes many food-borne diseases to inhabit these foods. Though being easy to purchase and inexpensive, risking a life for something not good for human consumption could cost many dollars in hospital bills. People should eat healthy foods and make good choices when deciding what to consume.

Works Cited

Bittman, Mark. “Can Big Food Regulate Itself? Fat Chance.” New York Times., 2 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 Mar. 2012

Fraser Lorna, Clarke Graham, Cade Janet, Edwards Kimberly, ‘Fast food and obesity’ American journal of preventive medicine, 42.5 (2012): 77-85

Flynn, Dan. “Taco Bell Named In Salmonella Investigation Report”. 1 Feb. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2012

Godfrey Alexandria, ‘Fast food medicine’ JAAPA: official journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, 25.3 (2012): 66.

James, Cronin, & Mary McCarthy, ‘Fast food and fast games’ British food Journal, 113.6, (2011): 720-743

John Stauffer, ‘Fast food’ Cereal foods world, 48.6 (2003): 357.

John, Whitfield, ‘Fast food’ Nature, 426.6963 (2003): 136.

Klein, Erza. “This Pink Goop.” The Washington Post. 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 4 Mar. 2012.

Melnick, Meridith. “Fast Food Ads Target Kids with Unhealthy Food, and It Works.” Time Magazine., 8 Nov. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.

Plater, Suzanne & Egger, Garry, ‘Fast food’ Obesity reviews: An official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, ISSN 1467-7881, 11.1 (2010): 63

Schlosser, Eric. “Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.” New York Times. Web. 10 Apr. 2012.

Super Size Me. Dir. Morgan Spurlock. Perf. Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, and Lisa Ganjhu. EDKO, 2004. Film.

U.S Food and Drug Administration. Protecting and Promoting Your Health. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.