Should Fast Food Restaurants Be Blamed for Obesity?

Introduction

Food is an essential commodity in the life of all living things since it forms the basis of all their activities. Human beings require three types of food in order to have a healthy body. These groups are vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins that are derived from food obtained from plant and animal products. Vitamins enable human beings to develop their immune system against diseases and infections while carbohydrates are essential for provision of energy for metabolic and physical activities. Proteins enable human beings to grow and repair worn out cells and tissues in their bodies. Human beings have developed various ways of accessing food without too much strain including eating from restaurants. Most restaurants prepare fast foods that are common among children and the working population. This essay aims at discussing the benefits of fast foods to society and the raging debate on whether fast food restaurants are to blame for causing obesity in the society.

Fast food is defined as any meal that is cooked within a short period of time and is available for consumption as soon as possible. The best examples of these fast foods include potato fries, crisps and sausages among others. Fast foods have the following advantages that make them preferred over home made whole meals.

Fast foods normally take very short time to prepare and make many people to prefer them to whole meals. These fast foods are usually deep fried and most of them are sold ready for consumption making them very popular among the working population and students. Compared to many traditional whole meal foods these fast foods do not require anybody to know the procedures for preparing and cooking them.

Fast foods are available in many packages and sizes from a variety of eating places and supermarkets. A person will not have to travel to the market to look for them compared to fresh vegetables and whole meals. Shopping for fast foods involve easy procedures as there are no specific requirements that consumers look for when buying them. These foods are very popular since they never run out of stock year in year out.

These fast foods are usually available in ready to eat forms that makes many people prefer them to whole meals that require an individual to prepare and cook them. These foods are prepared in a manner that help people who do not know how to prepare food have easy access to them. Therefore, their readiness for consumption makes them a better option for many households.

In addition, many restaurants that serve fast foods are usually located in areas that are very accessible to their consumers. These places are usually frequented by people who do not have time to go back home and prepare whole meals. These places include the central business districts of urban areas, schools and entertainment joints. Many people who travel do not like carrying packed meals and will prefer to stop and eat in these restaurants than waiting until they get to their homes.

Most of these fast foods are usually cheap compared to whole meals due to the fact that they comprise of carbohydrates that are obtained from wheat. These foods are usually offered in various quantities that enable consumers to afford their prices. Due to the fact that they are perishable they are usually low priced to ensure they are sold very fast and do not get spoilt.

Ways of Obesity Promotion

Food joints are to blame for the occurrences of obesity in society. Fast food restaurants promote obesity in the following ways;

Poor Nutritional Value

Fast food restaurants are to blame for increased cases of obesity among the population due to the fact that almost all their food consists of unbalanced diet. This is due to the fact that these foods are usually refined carbohydrates and proteins and constitute a very small proportion of vitamins. A balanced diet should have more of vitamins and less of proteins and carbohydrates. This is due to the fact that the human body requires less of these refined sugars, proteins and fats. Most of these fast food restaurants do not consider any health issues while preparing their food and therefore people who rely on fast foods are prone to becoming obese.

Advertisements

The world of business has become very competitive and this has made many investors and managers to adopt the most efficient ways of promoting their goods and services. The hospitality industry has not been left behind and in fact it is one of the most competitive industries all over the world. Fast food industries have advanced in the manner in which they advertise their products with an aim of ensuring that they get a new consumer every day while their customers keep coming and buying more of these foods. This has been made possible through various slogans to woe the public to visit these restaurants and buy their products. Such slogans include “buy one packet of fries and get a free sausage” and “buy a half fried chicken with fries and get free juice”. These slogans are usually tempting and many people fall victims to the temptation of enjoying these offers. The way these foods are displayed in these restaurants makes them very visible from far and therefore attractive to the public (Schlosser 2012). These foods are usually deep fried and their smell can not be easily mistaken by any person regardless of their age.

Proximity and Availability to the Public

Most of these fast food restaurants are usually located in areas that are far from residential premises. These areas include central business districts, sports and recreational centers and schools. These areas are usually frequented by people who in most cases do not carry packed lunch. Some of them are located in roads leading to national parks and game reserves where tourists board rooms to stay before continuing with their journey the following day.

Time Saving

Fast food restaurants usually specialize in preparing ready made foods that are available to customers within seconds after they have been ordered. This gives them a great advantage over foods that have to be prepared at home. Such foods include fried chicken, hamburgers, sausage, fillet, pork, mutton and beef. Some have even perfected the art of canning these foods and drinks to enable consumers carry them on their journey or to their offices and eat them when they are hungry (Pollan 2009). Most home made foods usually involve tedious activities in terms of going to shop for them, washing, cutting and cooking them. Most people who have busy schedules usually find fast foods the better option in terms of saving time and energy. Therefore, they make it a habit to purchase these foods in the morning on their way to work and will not waste time coming out of their offices to go home to prepare lunch or go to hotels to eat.

Reasons why Fast Food Restaurants are not to Blame for Obesity

Consumer Choice

The first reason is the fact that consumers have never been forced to purchase food from any fast food restaurant. This means that whenever they decide to visit any fast food restaurant it is purely due to their choices and not by force (Taubes 2011). Therefore, they have the ability to decide whether to eat at home or at these restaurants hence these joints are not to blame for any cases of obesity. In addition, these fast food restaurants offer a variety of foods like fruits, fresh fruit juice and vegetables which are very healthy and people can buy them. On the other hand most people have these junk foods stored in their fridges and freezers and form the bulk of their meals. People who prefer to eat these fast foods do not necessarily have to travel to fast food restaurants to buy them as they can buy them from shops and supermarkets or prepare their own at home.

Physical Fitness

It is known world over that physical exercises play a very big role in ensuring that people remain healthy irrespective of what they eat. People who do not participate in strenuous activities usually have a lot of carbohydrates stored in their body in terms of fats stored beneath the skin (Phinney and Volek 2011). Over accumulation of these fats results to obesity since the excess energy produced by the body is stored beneath the skin inform of fat. People who participate in vigorous physical activities have limited chances of developing obesity compared to those who are busy in their desks day in day out. Therefore, fast food restaurants do not play any role in promoting obesity as far as this issue is concerned.

Negligence

Despite the fact that most people understand the consequences of fast foods on their health they go on to take them from restaurants, supermarkets and their homes. They have neglected the fact that these foods contribute to obesity and disregarded the need for having a balanced diet (Davis 2011). People have a belief that eating fast food once in a while is not harmful and have ignored the fact that whether these foods are eaten once in a while or not they still have side effects on them.

Ignorance

Majority of the world’s population do not have a true definition of what obesity is as they think it is a matter of having a heavy body. Most people have also thought that obesity is a condition that affects children, women and the old. This has made them victims of obesity as they continue eating junk foods from restaurants and their homes as they continue thinking it will not affect them. Many people have also thought that eating very oily and fatty foods is the only cause of obesity and therefore get shocked when they are diagnosed of obesity.

Conclusion

It should be noted that people play a very important role in preventing obesity than the availability of these fast food restaurants. This is due to the fact that people have a right to choose what they want to eat; they can plan their time effectively to ensure they carry balanced meals to their work places instead of buying fast food. They need to engage in sports and activities that utilize the excess carbohydrates in their bodies. However, fast food restaurants are partly to blame for contributing to obese cases through preparation of junk food and effectively advertising for their consumption.

References

Davis, W. (2011). Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health. New York: Rodale Books.

Phinney, S, and Jeff Volek. (2011). The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living California: Beyond Obesity LLC.

Pollan, M. (2009). In Defense of Food: An Eaters’ Manifesto. Westminster: Penguin (Non-Classics).

Schlosser, E. (2012). Fast Food Nation. New York: Manner Books.

Taubes, G. (2011). Why we get Fat: and what to do about it (Vintage). New York:Anchor Publishers.