How Fast Food Affects Society
By: Katie Donohue

October 3rd, 2011
Sociology



Fast Food vs. Society

    Whenever you go out in your car in today’s world, it is nearly impossible to go somewhere without passing a fast food restaurant. Fast food is always the answer for people that are in a hurry, or for people that don’t feel like cooking. Being just a drive thru window away, people from three to seventy years old are enjoying fast food with every opportunity they get. With fast food being conveniently rapid and inexpensive for most, it is beginning to become the new menu for all of society. Fast food is affecting our society in many ways, some more obvious than others. Eating fast food has been affecting the health, the behavior, and the economy of Americans for years now.

    Although fast food tastes good, it is not nutritionally balanced, making it bad for people in the long run if eaten on a regular basis. Fast food is loaded with calories, saturated fats, and sodium. (http://www.healthfood-guide.com/fastfood.aspx) All three of these things are essential to staying healthy, but take in too many and you become heavy-weighted with high cholesterol in no time. If I were to go to McDonalds I would order a cheeseburger, a medium fry, a small coke, and cinnamon melts for a tasty desert. As delicious as it is, if I ate this meal every day, I would be on the road to a heart attack in a matter of months. McDonalds claims that they have used the same cheeseburger recipe since 1955: 100% beef and a pinch of salt and pepper. As if the burger itself wasn’t unhealthy enough, they top it with a slice of cheese, one pickle, onions, ketchup, and mustard. One regular cheeseburger is 300 calories alone. The medium “world famous fries” total up to 380 calories. A small coke: 150 calories. A tiny box of cinnamon melts: 460 calories. (http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food.html) One meal of three a day at McDonalds for me ends up being 1,290 calories total; that is 43% of my daily necessary calorie intake. Recent scientific studies have shown that food high in calories, sugars, fats, and salt keeps you craving more and more. Such foods reconfigure the hormones in your body making you want it more often. The more often you consume fast food, the harder it is for you to get away from it. (http://www.healthfood-guide.com/fastfood.aspx) The effects of fast food go far beyond health, making it that much worse for people to consume.

    Along with the problems fast food has on your heath, it is also affecting your behavior on how Americans live their every day life. One way that fast food affects your behavior is that is makes us feel rushed, even when we don’t need to be. The main idea of fast food is to satisfy your self as quickly as possible. With this unconscious time crunch, people are unaware that they are making themselves eat in a hurried manner. Weather you eat fast food or not, you are putting yourself under the impression that you need to speed up. In three recent studies performed in 2010, the sight of fast food logos made people speed up and make rapid decisions. Even when people took one glance at a flashcard with the McDonalds logo on it, it unconsciously made people read faster! The theory behind these studies is that when society has the slightest exposure to images that relate to fast food, it reminds their brain that they need to save time and hurry up, making them act upon that urge. Therefore you eat quickly because you feel you’re in a rush.(http://www.opposingviews.com/i/research-seeing-fast-food-signs-can-change-your-behavior)  But where are you looking to go so quickly? The correct answer should be to the gym or to work out. I don’t know about you, but after I eat at a fast food chain, my first instinct afterward is to go lie down. All of the calories and fats in fast food make you feel so full that you don’t want to do anything after eating them. If you eat a Dunkin’ Donuts bagel, or donut, you wouldn’t be as willing to partake in physical activity, compared to if you didn’t eat them. At Dunkin’ Donuts a plain bagel and a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles it would total up to 590 calories. (http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu.html) (With cream cheese or butter on the bagel the calories would be even greater) To burn all of these calories off, I would need to jog for sixty minutes at a rate of six miles per hour. (The rate and time jogging depend on how much I weigh and how many calories I ate) Therefore, if I do not work out at all, 590 calories would be added to my daily calorie intake, making me gain weight as time went on. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/478733-fast-food-vs-exercising/) Dunkin’ Donuts gets their Arabica coffee beans from Central and South America. They claim that they clean and disinfect their beans, but who really knows to what extent of disinfecting is actually done? Coffee bean crops are sprayed with pesticides and chemicals of which have been outlawed in the United States. Dunkin’ Donuts fills their coffee with dangerous amounts of chemical residues. People are unaware of what goes into their coffee behind the scenes, but they also contribute to their own poison in a cup. Not many people drink their coffee black anymore; adding cream and artificial sweeteners to the mix makes your coffee the venom that America runs on. (http://naturalbias.com/america-runs-on-dunkin-do-you/) Gaining weight can also change the way that you feel, not only physically, but mentally as well. For example, in the movie “Super Size Me” Morgan Spurlock ate McDonald’s for all three of his meals for thirty days. He can have nothing, not even water, unless it is from McDonalds. By the middle of the month while being on his fast food diet, he claims to have been suffering from major headaches, and that he has never been so depressed in his life. In addition, his energy level was extremely low. The saying “you are what you eat” truly plays a huge roll in our lives. Whether you are extremely tired after a huge meal at McDonalds, or ready to take on your day after a breakfast fruit smoothie, the way that you eat affects the way that you act. The effects that fast food has on your behavior can vary depending on how much fast food you eat, but how much fast food does society eat as a whole?

    As we are all aware, our economy has been falling for years now. Although this is happening, majority of the people have all been going about their lives as if nothing is happening. We act as if the terrible economy cannot affect us, when in reality we know it can. So no matter the circumstance, society is still wasting their money on fast food. A number of studies have found that a healthier diet choice is much more costly than a diet that isn’t as nutritional to you. Americans will spend around one hundred and ten billion dollars more on fast food this year, than they will on books, clothes, and other items. (http://www.ncpad.org/nutrition/fact_sheet.php?sheet=670) In my opinion I feel this is a huge waste of money, and my boss agrees with me. When I sat down to interview my boss on October 7th, 2011 we had a long discussion on how she feels that people waste their money on fast food. From working at Dunkin’ Donuts, my boss and I both feel that the amount that is spent there in a day is out of control. When working a seven-hour shift on a Saturday and Sunday the lines at both the drive-thru and the front counter do not stop. There is not one second that the line isn’t out the door. When my boss sits down to do the inventory from the day before, she often finds that people spend between 3,000 to 4,000 dollars a day in credit card sales alone! There is about 2,000 to 3,000 dollars spent in cash per day as well. That totals to about 6,000 dollars a day at the least at Dunkin’ Donuts, and that’s just one small town! If my little town is capable of ranking up 6,000 dollars worth of sales at Dunkin’ Donuts in one day, imagine what the whole world could do? My boss and I both agree that the amount that people spend on fast food is absolutely ridiculous. She always tells me to save the money I make on my paychecks so I have money there when I need it. Spending the money you make on fast food is a waste. Although it is cheap, you are slowly digging yourself into a deeper hole the more and more you purchase it. If you use your credit card to purchase your fast food, you are losing your money even faster because it’s “invisible”! The more and more fast food you buy, the more and more addicting it gets. Therefore when you become addicted you buy it more often, and you waste your money more than you need to. The economy cannot handle the amount of money that society is wasting, and in reality if you live in America, your wallet can’t handle it either.

    Next time you go for a drive, or even for a walk and you pass a fast food restaurant, think to yourself about all the terrible things that it can do to you. No matter if you are in a hurry, or don’t feel like cooking, your stomach can wait until later. When given the opportunity always chose a healthy home cooked meal over fast food. Not only will your stomach thank you for satisfying your hunger, you will also soon realize that you made the right decision. Eating fast food has been affecting your health, your behavior, and your economy for years now weather you knew it or not. Don’t let fast food become your go to menu when you need to make time for a quick meal. Grab a quick healthy snack and eat it on the go. Fast food is affecting society, and not in a good way. Make a change to your diet and you will soon see it rubbing off on others! Let’s take over fast food chains, don’t let fast food take over you.


Bibliography

http://www.healthfood-guide.com/fastfood.aspx

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food.html

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/research-seeing-fast-food-signs-can-change-your-behavior

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/478733-fast-food-vs-exercising/

http://naturalbias.com/america-runs-on-dunkin-do-you/

http://www.ncpad.org/nutrition/fact_sheet.php?sheet=670


Primary Source


Interview with my boss (Dunkin’ Donuts Income)



Orginizations Dealing With Fast Food Problems

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seniorshealth.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/womenshealth.html


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