McDonald Fast Food Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Fast food is a phenomenon that has become part of the American way of life during the past few decades. However the convenience of fast foods has resulted in major health issues in the country, as well as in the rest of the world. The prevalence of fast food in American society is evident from the fact that "Americans now spend more money on fast food than they do on higher education, personal computers, software or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos and recorded music ? combined." (Schlosser Eric. 1998)

It is now become common news that obesity has become a major health concern in both developed "Westernized" and less developed countries around the world. One of the major factors that have been blamed for this increase in obesity and obesity related diseases is fast food -- often termed 'junk food." In the U.S., for example, " ... 61 per cent of the population is either overweight or obese while the incidence of obesity has increased at a rate of 10-50% in the majority of European countries over the last decade. " ( Shortt J. 2004) Less well-known is the fact that this epidemic has reached the shores of developing countries like China, Brazil, Thailand and South Africa. As the populations of these countries become more urbanized, more calories are consumed because of the easy availability of high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods coupled with a decline in physical activity.

In 1995, there were an estimated 200 million obese adults worldwide and another 18 million under-five children classified as overweight. As of 2000, the number of obese adults has increased to over 300 million. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; in developing countries, it is estimated that over 115 million people suffer from obesity-related problems.

(Controlling the global obesity epidemic.)

Furthermore, another worrying statistic is that this epidemic has begun to have a serious effect on children in the United States, with an estimated 15% of children in the America aged one to 19 years overweight or obese. ( ibid)

There are a number of factors responsible for this increase. While inactivity and lifestyle habits are part of the problem, a central issue is the quality of the fast foods. Modern fast-food diets consist of products such as hamburgers, French fries and cola drinks, while the most commonly consumed grain is white bread; the favorite meat is beef, and the most frequently eaten vegetable is the potato, usually as French fries. Most fast food contains too many preservatives and flavor enhancing salts which cause high blood pressure and asthma, or lead to kidney failure and other serious illness.

Obesity is not the only health problems associated with fast foods. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has criticized the fast food trend which offers quantity instead of quality in terms of nutritional value. This refers to the marketing trend in the fast food industry to offer "bargain 'or "supersized" food deals which, according to the AICR Director of Nutrition Education Melanie Polk, is having a detrimental effect on national health. Polk and other are opposed to this trend in the fast food industry as it promotes quantity over good nutrition and could be a contributing factor in obesity and heart disease. ("Food Industry Is Making AMERICA FAT." 1) This warning comes as other institutions such as The National Restaurant Association predicts that, "For the first time ever, consumers will spend more at fast food places than they will at full-service restaurants - a whopping $86 billion, according to industry estimates. No wonder McDonald's builds a thousand new restaurants a year." (Pardue L. 50)

There has been a strong reaction from many sectors in society to the evidence that fast foods can be a contributing factor to declining health standards. Consumer activist Ralph Nader has stated that, " ... McDonald's double cheeseburgers [are] a weapon of mass destruction." (Berlau J. 12) An interesting development is that recently fast foods have been seen in the same negative light as cigarette smoking. Another factor that has been mentioned by critics is that the advertising of fast foods is exacerbating the problem.

The billions of dollars spent each year to promote food products only intensifies the problem. According to the USDA, more advertising dollars are spent annually by the food industry than by any other source. Conservative estimates place the figures at $11,000,000,000 for advertising and another $22,000,000,000 on trade shows, incentives, and other consumer promotions.

("Food Industry Is Making AMERICA FAT." 1)

The central facet in all of these attacks on the fast food industry is mainly directed at the quality of food that is being offered at fast food outlets. Those opposed to fast foods contend that they contain an excessive amount of fat. A study by Tufts University Diet & Nutrition Letter revealed that,

Boston Chicken's $5.99 half-chicken plate actually contains more fat and calories than a $4.47 belly-bruiser of a Big Mac, large fries and a chocolate shake. And that's just choosing between two terrible alternatives: The McDonald's meal has 45 grams of fat, 40 grams of sugar, 1,280 milligrams of sodium and 1,140 calories."

(Pardue L. 50)

The primary reason also given by nutritionists for avoiding fast food is the amount of saturated fats in animal products. They suggest that dietary calories should not be more than 30% fats. However, they state that," 55% of the calories in a Big Mac come from fat, together with 83 milligrams of cholesterol. Compare this to beans, which are only four percent fat; potatoes, which are less than one percent fat; and rice, which contains one to five percent fat." (ibid)

Even a greater cause for concern is the quality of the meat and other ingredients used in the production and fast foods. One of the aspects that most concerns health specialists is the link betweens fast foods and serious illness such as cancer and diabetes. This is particularly the case with regard to processed meat used mostly in fast food products and which, according to the specialists, can be the cause of various forms of cancer; including, colon, prostrate and pancreatic cancer. There is a growing body of evidence which suggests a positive link between processed foods used in fast foods and cancer. "The evidence continues to mount, as demonstrated by a recent study showing a 67% increase in pancreatic cancer for people consuming moderate amounts of processed meat on a frequent basis." (Adams. M. 2005)

While doctors and nutritionists focus on the negative health effects of the saturated fat content of processed meats, there are other factors that are possibly even more dangerous. Some experts point out that processed meats contain toxic chemicals, as well as heavy metals and even environmental pollutants, which are found within the fat molecules. ( ibid) They explain the processing of these substances into fast foods as follows.

... fat tissues -- whether in a cow or a human -- tend to concentrate whatever pollutants are found in the mainstay diet of the animal. A cow eats literally tons of grass in its lifetime, and in doing so, it collects and concentrates low-level pollutants found in its diet. For non-organic beef, it's quite common to find trace amounts of heavy metals (mercury, cadmium), pesticides, and even PCBs. That's because, for non-organic beef, feed practices are rather horrifying. You'd be shocked to learn what's perfectly legal to feed to cows intended for human consumption.

( ibid)

These experts point to a basic difference between organic meat and the processed meat that is used extensively in the production of fast food products -- and which could have life threatening consequences. Doctors state that the substance found in processed meat contain toxins which "when consumed, are clearly and unquestionably linked to cancers as well as nervous system disorders that can accelerate Alzheimer's disease and dementia." ( ibid)

Another issue often mentioned by nutritionists is that processed meat also contains sodium nitrate - which is also a cancer promoting agent. This substance is used as an additive in processed meats to preserve packaged meat products. The United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually tried to ban this additive in the 1970's but was unsuccessful due to the food producers insisting that they has no alternative to preserve their products. This extremely dangerous substance can be found in almost all processed meat products and is therefore one of the chief ingredients in fast foods. Another alarming fact is that the sodium nitrate is used in the processed food industry to color meat a healthy looking red color in order to enhance the illusion of freshness. ( ibid)

As well as the above negative factors associated with fast food is the assertion from a number of researchers that fast foods are addictive -- hence exacerbating the risk factor the diseases mentioned above. (Fast food industry in firing line) Another fact is the increase in advertising on fast food…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"McDonald Fast Food" (2005, August 27) Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

"McDonald Fast Food" 27 August 2005. Web.26 October. 2016. <>

"McDonald Fast Food", 27 August 2005, Accessed.26 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Fast Food in the United States Right

    Fast Food In the United States right now the country is facing an epidemic of obesity which means that too many people are overweight to an unhealthy level which is very bad. More and more people are becoming unhealthy because they do not eat the right things. People live a very hectic lifestyle in the current time and this makes them want to get things fast. Instead of going home and

  • Mcdonald s the Largest Fast Food Chain Across the

    McDonald's the largest fast-food chain across the globe. This is through spanning of approximately 30,000 restaurants across the globe with the aim of maximizing its revenues and profits at the end of the financial year. McDonald's Organization aims at being the customers' favourite place and way to eat and drink as its mission to meet the needs and preferences of its consumers. The pattern of internationalisation of McDonald's Company proves

  • Fast Food

    Fast Food Industry In recent times, the fast food industry has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, one can confidently say that the industry, whose background is relatively modest, has in a big way affected the way of life in America. In this text, I concern myself with the impact the fast food industry has had on both the health of the American society and the environment. I also give a

  • Fast Food Advertising Has Been Allowed to

    Fast Food advertising has been allowed to profess anything, from the 'healthy quality' of their food to the food company's contribution to homeless kids. While fast food giants are quick to take any of their detractors to court for any erroneous allegations made by members of the public, it doesn't stop these same companies from committing libel themselves through their promotions. However, most fast food companies steer clear of making

  • Fast Food Nation Chapter 2 America

    Fast Food Nation -- Chapter 2 America without McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's and other fast food restaurants is difficult to imagine these days, but before Ray Kroc bought the franchise rights to McDonald's in the mid-twentieth century, fast food was not an entrenched part of our culture. In Fast Food Nation,' Eric Schlosser spends the second chapter of his book describing how Ray Kroc paralleled the work of Walt Disney and

  • Fast Food 4I s Analysis the

    The Surgeon General produces estimates, such as the rising costs of healthcare due to obesity related illnesses. Congress issues law and regulation aimed at the safety and fairness in society. FDA has interests in the safety and protection of consumer products. Economist also issue reports, such as studying the Body Mass Index (BMI) and determining that obesity is caused by higher caloric intake, lower work activity, technological change reducing

  • Fast Food as a Kid

    Why are we feeding our children things that we wouldn't even feed our pets? The bottom line is that Pollan makes a very good point about how we as humans have come to be so separated from the natural world. Animals in the wild don't worry about food like we do (well, they might worry where their next meal is coming from, but they don't have to worry about what

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved