It’s no secret that fast food isn’t exactly good for you. The media routinely sheds light on the dangers of the fast food industry, switching between the horrific products that go into it, and just how many calories you consume in one burger. And yet, even with all of this information, the industry has not lost ground.
As a person who was once a lover of fast food burgers, I understand the appeal. Fast food’s quick and easy, it tastes good and it’s relatively cheap. I understand how convenient it is to grab a quick meal on the go and to forget about the nutritional facts. We have enough on our minds without having to always stress over finding a healthy meal on the go. But what are you really getting out of a fast food meal?
Well, depending on what you order — and what size — you are getting more than the recommended dosage of calories, fats and sodium that the average person should have in a day, in a single meal. Banking on the fact that this is probably not the only thing you will eat that day, it is safe to say that when you eat fast food you are eating empty calories that serve only to make you less healthy and don’t provide any nutritional value.
I have not eaten a fast food meal in three years. Not that I haven’t wanted to; let me tell you, I still crave it sometimes, but I read a book in my senior year of high school that hopefully changed my eating habits forever. The book was “Chew On This” by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson. It detailed the fast food industry from its conception. It also detailed what is actually in those burgers and milkshakes that we all love so much.
It is not pretty.
The explanation of how the industry gets its strawberry milkshakes to have that pretty pink color is a disturbing example. They use a color agent labeled “carmine.” What is carmine? It’s a bug. No joke, a dried and ground-up red beetle that is then put into your milkshake so that you know that it’s strawberry. Careful: It’s also found in yogurt, some ice cream and juice drinks. Read those labels.
And if that doesn’t sufficiently gross you out, maybe the food glue they use in the chicken nuggets will get you. No? How about the chemicals that they mix with the meat to make it taste uniform?
Or my personal favorite, the E. coli and animal feces present in the burgers. Why do you think the burgers are so thin and cooked so well? They have to make sure you don’t die from the poisons inside.
I am not saying that you can never have a burger and fries again. I have managed for three years and I love burgers, so giving them up was never an option for me. It is easy enough to find places that use better quality ingredients and have methods of preparation that won’t make you cringe.
There are convenient places to eat that are fast and not totally unhealthy and, let’s be honest, slightly disgusting. I’m not saying it’s an easy change, but I can tell you that it’s worth it. But don’t take my word for it. Read “Chew On This” and see for yourself.