I just stumbled across a paper I wrote my junior year of high school. I don’t remember every detail of the assignment, besides it being a persuasive essay of sorts. At age 16, I wrote a paper against the fast food industry… probably not something the typical teenager would chose to write about. As I’ve mentioned before, this healthy living passion of mine started young, and it only continues to grow.
Here’s my paper circa January 2006. I have a full day of studying vitamins and minerals ahead of me… enjoy!
In 1999, there were more than 25,000 McDonald’s in 115 countries. It makes sense to call our home a world of fast food. It seems fast food restaurants are populating our earth more and more every day. Living such rushed, chaotic lives these days, the idea of fast food appears to be a smart idea. However, the “fast food” that restaurants are serving has now become “fat food”. Statistics aside, there is no doubt that the fatty food has contributed to the United State’s large obese population. Fast food restaurants, such as the famous Burger King, McDonald’s, and Jack in the Box, contribute to poor health, and the deconstruction of a piece of our culture; for these reasons, they should be banished.
Fast food has done nothing except harm the health of our people by encouraging terrible eating habits. Restaurants such as the three mentioned above, plus several others, all have very similar menus. Serving hamburgers along with a bleached bun, sodium-soaked french fries, and soda (or rather a cup of sugar) at almost every fast food joint does not allow a person a diversity of choices. The common item at a great deal of fast food restaurants, for example Burger King, In-and-Out Burger, and McDonald’s, is the hamburger. A hamburger, ironically including no ham at all, consists of a meat patty and a bun. The patty is most always made of ground beef (cow). A burger may also include bacon, cheese, mayonnaise, and other artery-clogging condiments. With numerous restaurants serving cheap hamburgers, there is a bit of a competition for the largest and most original burger. McDonald’s has its Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, while In-and-Out Burger has options such as the Four-by-Four or disgusting Ten-by-Ten. The problem with creating bigger and “better” burgers is that the health-risky contents rise. Take, for instance, the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. If eating the complete burger, one would consume 730 calories, 40 grams of fat (of which 19 grams are saturated fat), 160 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,300 milligrams of sodium. Imagine eating such a lunch/dinner day after day. With over the recommended percent daily value of fat, it is simple to see how we have become an overweight society. If fast food restaurants are suffocating the restaurant industry with their unhealthful options, Americans are likely to dine at such places repeatedly, creating life-threatening eating habits.
In addition, fast food is causing attrition to an important component of United States culture by planting fast food-serving restaurants across the entire United States (Montpelier, Vermont, being the only U.S. state capital without a McDonald’s restaurant). Fast food has generated a new definition of restaurant. For McDonald’s, their definition of restaurant may be a public eating place with an unwelcoming atmosphere, order-at-the-counter or drive thru capability, an unsanitary, plastic play structure for children, and a plethora of disposable-wrapped foods. Jean Michel Chapereau has comparable, vivid thoughts of his own. “We were taken to a fast food café where our order was fed into a computer. Our hamburgers, made from the flesh of chemically impregnated cattle, had been broiled over counterfeit charcoal, placed between slices of artificially flavored cardboard and served to us by recycled juvenile delinquents.” Restaurants that serve meals through a drive thru window, and blare your name to come retrieve your order yourself have destroyed the concept of dining out. First of all, meals are meant to be enjoyed with others, while engaging in conversation, rather than inhaled in the lull of traffic. Quality family time is ruined by grabbing dinner from Wendy’s and silently consuming food in front of the television. Not only does this food lack nutrition, but it contributes to our country’s separated family lifestyle as well. It does not seem right that anyone would want their country run by these types of “restaurants”. Yet, if we continue to support the multi-million dollar businesses, we will be left with few choices.
It is obvious a handful of people would argue against the fact that fast food restaurants are ridiculous. The unhealthy foods that these restaurants serve have become such a huge part of the American daily life that it is unreal the number of people who could not imagine living without them. It is not unbelievable that some people feel fast food restaurants are necessary for today’s fast-paced world. The truth is that they are not a necessity at all. There was life ,and there was scrumptious food before fast food restaurants sprung about. To an abundance of people, they see fast food as simple meals, and very convenient. Though, there shouldn’t be any excuse for dashing through the McDonald’s drive thru for a quick and easy breakfast. We all feel pushed for time once and a while, but an Egg McMuffin or a greasy McGriddle can easily be replaced with a fiber-filled bowl of quick oats. Hence the name, a quick three minutes and splash of fat free milk…voila! breakfast. There are an increasing amount of enjoyable, healthful meals (for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that are just as satisfying for a busy schedule.
Fast food is not a controversial issue that immediately pops into mind for the average person. Fast food restaurants and the food itself is an enormous problem, however. Our country, especially, (where all of the horrible restaurants were founded) is injuring our health, and murdering our people. Often, there are cases of food poisoning, but the regular fatty food is a factor for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is almost certain, the United States will never again be seen a fast food-free-nation. It can merely be a dream to have fast food restaurants eliminated from the face of our earth; by doing just so, culture and health would be restored.
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If you’re interested in reading more about my healthy passion, check out my short essay circa 2007: Poison to Passion.