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Fast Food Nation Essay

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The growth of the fast food industry over the past few decades into what it is today is an undeniable phenomenon that has occurred in an alarmingly rapid pace. The fact of the matter is it seems that a person has a very realistic chance of finding a McDonalds within a 4 mile radius of any household in the country, it is also arguable that this is already the case for the world as well, and if not now then very soon indeed. According to an article “Good Home Cooking–Right off the Assembly Line,” by James Bone on the Times Online Web site said, “only one-third of Americans cook meals from scratch”, meaning with fresh ingredients.

Bone also reports that “Americans spend only thirty minutes cooking dinner, compared with 2-1/2 hours in the 1960s”. In his book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser says, “one-quarter of Americans eat in a fast-food restaurant each day” (3). Why are Americans eating so much fast food? The answer is simple: they are willing to trade quality for speed. While Americans may be attracted to food that is fast and easy, they are missing some important benefits of slowing down. In fact, Americans’ obsession with fast food is hurting not only their health but also the quality of their lives.

The main reason that Americans are getting take-out food and cooking prepared meals is obvious: they don’t have enough time. Bone said “in more than two-thirds of households in America, two people are working”. People with demanding work schedules have little time for food shopping and cooking. Another reason that mealtime has become so short is that many younger adults grew up in what one might call a fast-food culture. In the past fifty years, inventions such as televisions, fax machines, and computers have increased the pace of life.

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At the same time, microwave ovens, drive-through restaurants, and TV dinners have changed the way Americans eat. Many people now prefer to eat quickly, even in their cars or in front of the television, instead of taking time to cook a meal and sit at the table. In this culture of instant gratification, people don’t think food is important enough to spend much time on. Even though Americans think that they are saving time and improving their lives by eating precooked and prepackaged food, their obsession with fast food is causing the quality of their lives to go down.

Fast food doesn’t contain the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. They have lots of preservatives, fat, sugar, and salt to hide the fact that they are not fresh. As a result, people may feel chronically fatigued and lack the energy they need to complete daily tasks. If people do not eat fresh foods that provide necessary vitamins and minerals, they may become tired and sick, and they will miss out on opportunities to enjoy their lives. Another serious health concern is obesity. There is an obesity epidemic in America today, especially with young person, that is related to the way people are eating.

According to Schlosser, “the rate of obesity among American children is twice as high as it was in the late 1970s” (240). Obesity can lead to many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In “The Link Between Fast Food And The Obesity Epidemic. ” Dustin Frazier writes, “deaths due to poor diet and physical inactivity increased 33 percent over the past decade”. It cites a study concluding that, “poor diet and physical inactivity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of death in this country”.

Certainly, if fast food causes people to become obese, and then obesity causes them to get sick or die, fast food cannot be considered “improvement” in Americans’ lives. Even though Americans may think they are saving time and improving their lives by eating fast food, they will actually have healthier and more enjoyable lives if they change the way they cook and eat. Making dinner from scratch is much healthier than getting burgers and fries from a fast-food restaurant. And people get more than just a full stomach–they get more time with family and friends and a good feeling from creating something healthy.

People should learn to choose fast food carefully and remember the pleasure of eating good food in good company.

Work Cited Bone, James. “Good Home Cooking–Right off the Assembly Line. ” TimesOnline 27 Mar. 2006. 9 Oct. 2006<http://www. timesonline. co. uk/article/0,,11069-2105427,00. html>. Frazier, Dustin A. “The Link Between Fast Food And The Obesity Epidemic. ” Health Matrix: journal Of Law-Medicine 17. 2 (2007): 291-317. Academic Search Complete. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. New York, NY: Perennial, 2002. Print.

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