Fast Food And The Increase In Obesity In America

1857 words - 7 pages

Every month, at least ninety percent of Americans visit a fast food restaurant and about forty- five percent of them make it a weekly occurrence. These statistics make it safe to say Americans are obsessed with fast food, but why are Americans addicted to these restaurants? Is it the low prices, quick service or the taste of the food? According to Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side off the All-American Meal, he believes “It’s easy, it's filling, and it's convenient and inexpensive.” Therefore, the consumption of fast food is now directly correlated to the obesity epidemic in America. Consequently, the recent obesity increase in the United States has labeled America the fattest country.
The savory taste of the food from McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and many other fast food restaurants entices millions of Americans to visit one of these restaurants every day. What is it in fast food that attracts so many customers every day? According to “Why Does Fast Food Taste So Good?” by Sarah Clark, “the food contains just the right mixture of fat, sugar and salt to set off the pleasure chemicals in the brain”. Furthermore Clark found that this mixture can be addictive because of the release of dopamine into the body. This happy feeling, caused by the dopamine release, is believed to cause people to become physically addicted to fast food. A study done on rats using the same fat, sugar, and salt content showed addictive behaviors because when the scientists stopped giving the rats the mixture they exhibited withdrawal characteristics. Scientists noticed common behaviors of withdrawal such as chattering of teeth and anxiousness. The researchers also noticed long lasting changes in brain chemistry of rats fed with foods that had a combination of sweet, salt and fat in, which led them to conclude that there was a possibility that people too could see brain changes and become physically addicted to eating fast food.
“Would you like that Super-Sized” This phrase has become affiliated with the fast food restaurant McDonalds. Many other chains had their own extra value meals but the supersize meal is the most recognizable. Partly because of the documentary “Super- Size Me” where a man, Spurlock Morgan goes a month eating fast food only. The catch was if the restaurant asked him if he wanted to “Super- Size a meal, he had to say “yes”. Spurlock started at 185 pounds and jumped to 195 pounds in a matter of 5 days. When the thirty days passed Morgan ended up gaining a staggering 24.5 pounds and weighed the heaviest he has ever been which was 210 pounds. Along with the astronomical rate of weight gain, Morgan also experience an increase in many other health risks.
“In only 30 days of eating nothing but McDonald’s I gained 24.5 lbs., my liver turned to fat, and my cholesterol shot up 65 points [to 230]. My body fat percentage went from 11 to 18%, still below the average of 22% for men and 30% for women. I nearly doubled my risk...

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