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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fast Food- rare treat?

Recently I read an article that kind of surprised me. It was on a website for vegetarian information, so maybe I falsely presumed that a website such as this would only encourage the healthiest of eating. The article was titled "How to deal with a night of fast food" and a picture of Wendy's fries and a shake accompanied it.

I guess when I think "vegetarian" I think "super healthy" and that there is no room for junk food. But is there? The writer says, "To get this out of the way right now, you should know that junk food isn’t the cause of food-related problems. The cause of food-related problems is the inability of the eater to know where the line needs to be regarding a snack, a meal, and a poor choice. " It goes on to give an okay to eat fast food once a week or less, and provides a how-to for recovery from eating it.

While junk food isn't the cause of food related problems, I do believe there are some things that have no place in a healthy diet. This might sound extreme, but in my opinion the pleasure of eating fast food, such as from McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's etc, is not worth the effects it has. The fact that this article is a how-to on recovering from a night of fast food indicates to me that fast food does awful things to the body. So I thought I should research such an idea before blindly claiming it, no? Ha. 

It is pretty common knowledge that consuming fast food increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, digestive issues, etc. However, studies showing this are linking the risks to frequency of consumption. What if you only eat it once in a while? Some studies (albeit, preliminary ones) show that short term, fatty foods (like most fast foods) affect memory performance. (source) This might be because a diet high in fat can trigger insulin resistance.  The body becomes less efficient at using glucose (blood sugar) which is important to brain function. 

Another short term ill effect of fast food is on exercise performance.  The body reacts to high fat content in the blood by releasing certain proteins that essentially make the metabolism less efficient. This further proves that all calories are not created equal. This is of concern for people who think that since they exercise regularly they can treat themselves to fast food once in a while. (source)

Fast food is also a giant soup of GMOs. (source) You might be thinking we have bigger fish to fry than GMOs when it comes to our food system, but genetically modified ingredients have the ability to alter OUR bodies. They can trigger allergies and allergic reactions varying in severity. (source) Implications from use of GMOs are still widely unknown to be sure, but their use is all-encompassing: most conventional products contain them. By the time we know all of their effects on our health, it may be too late. Avoiding fast food is a good way to cut a good portion of GMOs out of the diet. 

Do you eat fast food? How often? Do you notice any ill effects immediately after eating it?

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