Fast Food And Obesity...are they really connected?
Onion rings, Pizzas, French fries, Big Macs and Cheeseburgers sound tempting but you may not be aware of the nutritional components of these typical fast food menu items.
Fast foods like these are great sources of fats, starches and sugars and most of these are processed in high MSG (monosodium glutamate).
The ingredients in the fast foods provide almost nil nutritional value to our body and may even impact our health negatively.
But firstly, let's understand what we actually mean by fast food:
Definition of Fast Foods
Fast foods are rich in sodium, calories and fat and are highly processed. While it is recommended to consume around 50 to 60 g of total fat and 1500 to 1800 cal per day for Americans but a single fast food meal can consist of around 1500 cal.
Here is a closer look at the calories and fats in some of the common fast foods:
- Medium fries have 19 g of fat and 380 cal.
- Medium fries have 19 g of fat and 380 cal.
- Onion rings have 19 g of fat and 360 cal.
- Bacon double Deluxe delivers 52 g of fat and 880 calories.
So fat in of itself, isn't actually a bad thing, but as with everything, moderation is the key. It is also worth noting that the fat that fast food provide is superfluous to our normal diets and.
There are certain diets such as the Ketogenic diet, that will actually force your body to burn the fat deposits that you already have...which kind of shows you how difficult burning fat actually is, i.e. you need to force a reaction inside your body to get it working!
Health Effects of Fast Foods
Fast food restaurants have grown at a quick pace in the US and their number has doubled since 1970.
In 1970, 33.8% of the population was obese and 19% of children and adolescents were also affected by obesity.
Obesity may be defined as a medical condition where there is accumulation of excess fat inside the body and this excess fat may have certain negative effects on the health including increased health problems and reduced life expectancy.
Obesity increases the potential of various diseases including:
- Type II diabetes
- Heart disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Certain types of cancer
The main cause of obesity is lack of physical activity combined with increased food energy intake.
Researchers theorize that consumption of fast foods is responsible for obesity in the United States. Are fast foods the real reason for the growth of obesity in the country?
Are Fast Foods Responsible for Obesity?
The research conducted by Brian Wansink and David Just shows that while fast foods may lead to weight gain and obesity, there is no direct correlation between intake of fast food and high body mass index.
Fast food is not responsible for the growth of obesity in America according to this study.
David Just suggests that physical activity levels and overall diet of the Americans will help in finding out about the real underlying causes of obesity.
Fast foods not causing obesity may be good news for fast food lovers like you. However, this does not mean that you can have French fries for snacks, Big Mac for breakfast and eat Bacon double deluxe for lunch and dinner. It means that we need to study another food group to find out the real cause of one of the biggest health problems in America.
Fast Foods and Obesity
Many researchers and health organizations have found many other causes of obesity.
Genetics may also lead to obesity other than lack of physical movement and diet. Similar to various other medical conditions, genetic factors may also lead to obesity. People who carry two copies of FTO genes (genes associated with obesity and fat mass), not only have a 1.67 times higher risk of being obese but they also weigh 3 to 4 kgs more on an average.
The professors at Cornell University concluded that consumption of fast food is not associated with high body mass indexes after studying the food intake of 6000 people. While it is true that the consumption of French fries and cheeseburgers is not the right form of nutrition, it is also important to keep in mind that these are not the cause of obesity.
Another conclusion of this research is the difference between morbidly obese individuals and others. People who have BMI of 44.90 or more are considered morbidly obese.
The researchers discovered that the group of people classified as morbidly obese consumed 50% more French fries as compared to others with average body mass index.
Tips for Healthy Lifestyle
There are much more calories in fast foods as compared to other foods, you can burn off those extra calories by working out regularly.
Fast foods are not the cause of obesity but moderate consumption of food helps in preventing obesity, especially if you make sure to detox every now & then. Fast food doesn’t harm your health if it is eaten in moderation. In fact, you may also develop health issues if you consume sushi and spaghetti every day or every meal.
You should have a balanced diet that should include various healthier food groups such as meat, fruits and vegetables. Try to remember the food pyramid you were taught in grade school to find out more on the recommended daily food intake.
You can check out our delicious fat busting smoothie recipes for an interesting way to stay full for longer.
Regular exercise is also helpful in preventing obesity.
Obesity is caused by accumulation of excess fat in the body and this excess fat needs to be burned to prevent various types of diseases that are usually the result of obesity.
There are a number of ways of working out including swimming, running as well as simple walk in the park. Another form of physical activity is taking stairs instead of the elevators while going up in a building, all of which stop you from getting tight muscles that will adversely affect your life.
You should try to move as much as possible to burn those extra calories and stretch those muscles.
Fast Food Isn’t Responsible for Obesity
Now we know that fast food is not necessarily the cause of obesity, but it also doesn’t mean that we can consume fast food every day. Do not forget that fast foods contain high amounts of starch, MSG, sugars and fats and are highly processed.
In other words, these foods can have negative effects on our health and body. Intake of too many calories combined with a sedentary lifestyle increases the probability of being obese.
I hope this article has clarified some things for you and inspired you to live a healthier lifestyle. We can eat all the foods we want but the key is to eat in moderation.
There is so much to enjoy in life and the best way to enjoy everything life has to offer is to take better care of our health.