“Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” is a 2001 book by Eric Schlosser.
Published in 2001, it goes over the mechanizations of the fast food industry. The book further goes to investigate the working conditions of a fast food industry employee as well as how fast food has become a cultural export. If you have to write an argumentative essay on this great read, here are 10 facts that can inspire your subject choice.
- The “fast” aspect of fast food goes beyond quick delivery? Research shows that fast food not only provides quick and convenient sustenance, but also seems to speed up individuals’ perception of time. The researchers found that when exposed to fast food symbols unconsciously, the subjects of the study increased their reading speed. This happened even when there was no time constraint for the task. Thinking about consuming fast food also seemed to increase people’s preferences for time-saving products. Surprisingly, this manifested as impatience and led them to choose a fast, but inferior option.
- Overeating fast food causes psychological dependence similar to drug abuse. Addictive overeating can be triggered by lots of inter-connected factors. Similarly, individuals who are obese show signs of psychological dependence on fast food. This is the same phenomenon observed in drug addicts. Fast food essentially acts like a drug if the perfect storm of factors occurs. Neurological studies have shown that the brain’s reward and tolerance system gets rewired due to overeating and fast food.
- Obesity and crash diets cause people to eat faster. Obese adults eat faster than people whose BMI falls in the normal range. This is because obesity is caused by disruptions in the hormonal system responsible for managing appetite triggers. Individuals become resistant to insulin and leptin, two important appetite-related hormones. Stress and crash diets in such cases further disrupt natural appetite patterns. The brain becomes more sensitive to reward, leading to a toxic cycle of overeating and dieting.
- The obesity epidemic affecting the nation is the result of inactivity. The US has seen an increase in unhealthy habits such as excessive television viewing and consumption of fast food. This has produced a nation which is experiencing soaring rates of obesity and obesity-related health complications. Activities which involve long hours of sitting make for an unhealthy lifestyle.
- Fast food is high on calories and unhealthy additives, but low on micronutrients. Fast food is energy-dense; it packs quite a punch when it comes to the amount of calories, sodium, sugar and unhealthy fats. On the other hand, it has low micronutrient density. If you consume fast food, you are getting more calories, but not much nutritional value. A typical fast food meal will provide you with more than one-third of your daily requirement of energy, fats, and saturated fats. The drinks available at fast food outlets are no healthier than the food. Healthy drinks such as milk or spring water are a negligible amount of the drinks consumed; carbonated soda and sugar-rich drinks make up the majority of sales. Sticking to this diet daily will expose you to a higher risk of obesity.
- Proximity of fast food restaurants to schools is responsible for adolescents’ unhealthy eating habits. The proximity of fast food restaurants also has an effect on consumption patterns. If an outlet is located near a school, it can have a detrimental effect on adolescents’ eating habits. Students will end up consuming more soda, eating lower amounts of vegetables and fruits, and being at a higher risk of becoming overweight than their counterparts who did not have fast food outlets within easy reach of their schools. This relation has not been observed for other risky behaviors such as smoking. Exposure to a low-quality food environment can negatively affect eating patterns of school-aged kids. This problem can be helped if policies were put in place restricting the opening of fast food outlets near school zones.
- Fast food affects emotions and can even prevent the ability to feel pleasure. The connection between fast food and our emotions may be much deeper than previously known. Exposure to a stimulus related to fast food makes people impatient and affects our ability to derive happiness from a source of natural beauty and enjoy a great melody. The feelings of impatience can adversely affect our ability to feel pleasure.
- PAPs in food wrappers are responsible for health issues. Fast food wrappers are coated with compounds known as polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs). These chemicals are transferred to the food and have been linked to health problems in humans. Further studies are needed, but so far the evidence shows possible links between ingestion of PAPs, high cholesterol and uric acid levels.
- Food consumption affects children and makes changing their eating patterns a challenge in the future. Fast food consumption during childhood causes adverse physical changes and bad eating patterns. These affect the children well into adulthood, making unhealthy eating patterns a challenge to fix. Once a child gets used to fast food, they tend to consume a poorer diet even when fast food is not available. This highlights the need to teach kids about healthy food choices. Children who consumed fast food also consumed more high-sugar beverages, but fewer vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods.
- The fast food industry is aware of the risks of consuming fast food, but blames consumers’ eating habits. Defendants of the fast food industry claim that food cannot be good or bad. It is the diets of the consumers which matter. The industry is aware of the negative consequences, but places the burden of those consequences on the eating patterns of the consumers. Their position is that the customers are well aware of the nutritional values of the food, yet still choose to eat it.
You can use these ten facts to create an argumentative essay on “Fast Food Nation”. If you need more help, check out 20 topics on “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser for an argumentative essay for ideas on topics and how to write an argumentative essay on Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser to get a great grade.
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Laurance, Jeremy (30 January 2003). “Fast food is addictive in same way as drugs, say scientists”. London: The Independent.
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