Today, our life has become so hectic that in our busy occupying schedule, we do not have time even to eat. So, the common solution comes to our mind is to grab a fast food meal. Fast food as it sounds is the most accessible and available form of food from commercial food stalls to even petrol pumps. Due to the fast pace of life, this type of food has become very popular and is almost a part of people's lifestyle. This is usually a quick meal which is cooked in shortest time. Fast food does not necessarily mean unhealthy. But yes, most of the time, it is unhealthy. Fast food centres does not always serve unhealthy stuffs and do have healthier options but since the unhealthy stuffs being more common and appealing that most people go for these choices. That's where the problem begins. Most of these foods have high calorie content, high salt, sugar and also high cholesterol.
Therefore, eating such kind of food on regular basis or more frequently is detrimental to health.
Although fast food is the most convenient option to satiate our hunger, but we have to accept the fact that it has hazardous effects on our health. The commonly found effects on the health on regular consumption of fast food are nutritional deficiencies, obesity, cardiac diseases, high cholesterol levels and many other threatening health conditions. As these foods contain less vitamins and minerals, regular eating habits can lead to nutritional deficiencies to both adults and children. Children who consume such food regularly may not get enough vitamins, minerals and fibres required for regular growth and metabolism. These foods are loaded with fat and calories and hence are the most common cause of obesity. Obesity and sedentary lifestyle would inturn lead to atherosclerosis (plaques built up in the arteries), heart diseases and diabetes. People who are obese and have weight related issues can easily develop other health conditions like asthma, sleep apnoea, arthritis, depression, incontinence and even cancers. Regular consumption of fast food can even lead to insulin resistance which can prevent the pancrease to convert sugar into energy, thereby causing high level of blood sugar, Type 2 diabetes and many other dangerous complications.
Researches says that the fast food are difficult to be broken down by the liver as a result of which fat started building in the organ which can lead to inflammation and scarring of the organ and can even damage it. Most of these foods have high salt content and hence have the risk of developing into high blood pressure or further aggravate the state. High sodium content can lead to building up fluid in the body which can be detrimental to people who already suffers from heart or kidney diseases. Moreover, these foods are usually consumed along with carbonated drinks which again contribute to further sugar and calories content which is even more damaging. People find such foods very addictive and appealing which promote the chance of overindulgence. Moreover, they are also very affordable and accessible.
Probably, we need to change our mindset first and be more sensible and health conscious to have a healthier and fitter life. We should make sure that whatever we chose to eat should be healthy. Eating in a hurry does not mean that we have to eat something disastrous to health. Eating fast food does not always mean eating unhealthy. Nowadays, many fast food joints do have many healthier options. So, the onus lies on us to choose the best healthier options. Food like multigrain or whole grain bread, burgers, salads, low fat dressing, low animal fat (like grilled chicken) can be some healthy options. Adding fresh veggies to pile up in the burger without cheese can be a healthier option. Fat packed dressings like cream, spread and cheese if avoided can be always wiser. Instead of food deep fried or cooked in oil, boiled or steamed options are healthier. Food should be usually of smaller portion instead of larger ones. The best menu option preferably would be whole grain burger or salad with fresh vegetables, grilled toppings and a lighter dressing. Instead of carbonated drinks, water or diet drinks can be taken. To find an ideal well balanced meal in a fast food centre can be quite challenging, but out of the choices, choosing the best healthier options can be wise enough.
Although making healthier choices in fast food restaurants is wiser, but the best healthiest option, I believe, is our own home cooked food. Making a bit of extra effort by packing our lunch box and keeping in the freezer a night before a hard day schedule can be a little tougher but the best healthiest choice that we can ever have.
Undoubtedly, there is rising trend of life threatening conditions and nutritional deficiencies among all age groups which is very alarming. Therefore, people have enough reasons to choose healthy eating habit or go for healthier alternatives even if there is time constrain in a hectic day schedule. Likewise, the fast food industry should also play a considerable role in providing abundant healthier appealing alternatives which can influence the consumer's choices.
About Author / Additional Info:
A Medical Professional who likes writing on health related issues.