Unhappy meals


English 101

13 December 2003

“Have you ever heard of a new menu called unhappy meals? This is what nutritionist call the meals served at fast- food restaurants” (Schlosser 12). With today\'s chaotic lifestyles, time-saving products are increasingly in demand. Perhaps one of the most obvious examples is fast food. Because of the lack of the time and energy in the American life style the fast food market is growing every day. Knowing that consumers want quick and convenient meals, fast food providers are coming up with new ways to market their products. The number of fast food and restaurant outlets has grown gradually over the past 25 years. Moreover, the value of consumer’s time will make the fast food industry a significant part of the American diet (Schlosser 13). Fast food providers are creating an unhealthy eating habit, which has caused many diseases, in order to sale their products.

Fast-food companies are serving extremely high-fat food, which is overloaded with saturated fats. They could be selling the same low-cost food that doesn\'t have the health consequences, especially for children. Fast-food chains are creating eating habits that will last a lifetime. These meals are also high in calories, sodium, and cholesterol. According to


New York health research center, “on the average, to maintain desirable weight, men need about 2,700 calories per day and women need about 2,000 calories per day.” Also according to American Heart Association, “eating no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol, and limiting fat to less than 30 percent of daily calories. This means limiting the fat you consume to 50-80 grams per day” (New York Health Center). The Americans Heart Association also says everyone needs some sodium in their diet to replace routine losses. They have estimated that an "adequate and safe" intake of sodium for healthy adults is 1,100 to 3,300 milligrams a day, the equivalent of approximately 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (Daily Needs). But don\'t just look at the cholesterol contained in a fast food item. A product high in total fat or saturated fat can be an even bigger provider to high blood cholesterol levels. “A classic meal of a Quarter-Pound Cheeseburger with Large Fries and a 16 oz. soda (McDonald\'s) contains:

1,166 calories

51 g fat

95 mg cholesterol

1,450 mg sodium

This, in all categories, is higher than the amount suggested” (Fast Food Facts). This does not mean you should be scared of eating in a fast food restaurants. Rather, it can give you enough information to make better


fast food choices. We should realize that it is still possible to eat fast food occasionally and follow a wise diet. By choosing a smaller menu such as Hamburger, Small Fries, 16 oz. soda (McDonald\'s) it is possible to change the figures to:

481 calories

19 g fat

30 mg cholesterol

665 mg sodium

All the elements are within the normal limits suggested (Fast Food Facts). Restaurants which do not use saturated fat have healthier food. This type of fat cells does not break easily in the body, and leads slowly to heart attack. Fast food restaurant should sale foods with unsaturated fat to prevent obesity and other kind of diseases.

Another problem concerning eating fast food is the digesting matter.

“It takes about 20 minutes for our brains and stomachs to communicate that we are full. Kids, who can be blissfully unaware of minutes or hours, are capable of allowing this communication process to unfold. If you eat your meal faster than 20 minutes, you risk eating more than you need. There is no time to self-regulate” (Schlosberg 55-56)

Another problem that can be related to fast food is obesity. Currently, about 44 million American adults are obese; another 6 million

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are considered "super-obese", which means more than 100 pounds overweight. The CDC (Center of Disease Control) found that in 1991, only 4 states had obesity rates higher than 15 percent, but by last year the number had increased to 37 states. In every state, obesity was increasing in all age categories. And today\'s teenagers are three times more likely to be overweight than teens in the 1960s (Schlosberg 135). “Though no study has yet established a definitive link between fast food and obesity rates, the expansion of fast-food chains seems to be accompanied by rising waves of fat”