Fast Food Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Fast Food

Sara had worked all day and then picked the children up from the day care center. On the way home she knew there was no time to cook before her class. Going back to school had been a hard decision, especially when she was a single mother to Ben, age four and Sally age 5. The children would benefit in the end she constantly reminded herself as she pushed the mommy guilt to the back of her mind. "Mommy I'm hungry," chirped Sally. In true little brother fashion Ben chimed in right behind big sister. "Me too Mommy ....VEWY hungry!." Sara knew they did not have time to get home and cook dinner. She wanted time to play with the children, read stories and cuddle with them a bit before her mother arrived to babysit while Sara attended night school. She pulled into the KFC parking lot and sighed with relief.

What would I do without the fast food industry" she wondered aloud.

"Many of us can't imagine our lives today without the convenience of fast food; whether it's the greasy, yummy goodness of a McDonald's or KFC, or a simple sandwich and soup from your favorite donut chain, fast food has touched and changed all of our lives in some way or another, even if only to change the way we spell "donut (A Fast Food Nation"

It all began in 1936 when the world was n the middle of the Great Depression. A man named Hank McDonald from Kansas had a dream of making it big in the business world with his new concept of fast food.

His dream had a plan and that plan involved quick and hot food that could be consumed on the run with little effort and low cost. His plan was basic.

'Sell his homemade delicious hamburgers to the masses, sell them quickly and sell them at a reasonable price. Unfortunately Hank died during the war and never got to see his dream become a reality. Working as an office clerk near the end of the war in Des Moines, Iowa, Hank McDonald got hit by a truck on his way to work one morning and died an agonizing 8 days later; but his dream lived on through his letters (A Fast Food Nation"

Fast food has grown to a billion dollar industry and in recent years people have lined up either for or against its existence. Fast food has been accused of causing health problems including obesity, convenience to a fault which takes away the notion of family together cooking meals and other problems. On the flip side however, fast food has provided the ever increasing busy family with time to spend doing constructive things instead of cooking in the kitchen. Fast food has allowed families that could not otherwise afford to eat out with a way to take their families out to dinner on a meager budget. Fast food is here to stay and with planning and good choices it can be a beneficial addition to the American way of life.

Recently the fast food industry has come under fire for several reasons. One of the problems with fast food according to those who are against the industry is the high fat low health factor. People with heart problems, diabetes and other problems are subject to increasing trouble because of the fast food industry according to those who would like to see the government step in.

"No matter how hard we try to avoid it, most of us end up eating fast food from time to time. Fast food is quick and convenient. Unfortunately, fast food may be loaded with calories, fat, salt and cholesterol, which makes eating it a challenge if you need to watch your weight, cholesterol level, blood pressure or blood glucose (Can Fast Foods Fit in a Diabetes Meal Plan?"

Fast food is so high in fat and calories that one can consume an entire day's worth of allowable elements in one meal which can throw off any effort to regulate their health.

"McDonald's Quarter Pounder, large fries, 16 ounce soft drink has 1166 calories, 51 grams fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 1450 mg sodium

Burger King Whopper w/cheese, regular fries and a medium soft drink has 1380 calories, 66 grams fat, 159 grams of carbohydrate, 115 mg cholesterol and 1590 mg sodium (Can Fast Foods Fit in a Diabetes Meal Plan?

Arby's Bacon Cheddar Deluxe, regular fries and soft drink has 929 calories, 47 grams fat, 106 grams carbohydrate, 44 mg cholesterol and 1288 mg sodium .To put these numbers in perspective, the average sedentary woman needs about 1600 calories per day, less than 53 grams of fat and it is recommended that women with diabetes keep carbohydrate intake to about 60 grams per meal. The average sedentary man needs about 2200 calories per day, less than 73 grams of fat and it is recommended that men with diabetes keep carbohydrate grams at less than 90-105 grams per meal. The suggested daily intake of cholesterol is 300 mg or less and no more than 3,300 mg of sodium. It is easy to see how eating fast food more than a couple of times per week can lead to excess weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and problems with blood glucose control (Can Fast Foods Fit in a Diabetes Meal Plan?!"

Another issues with the fast food industry is its very nature. Because the restaurants have to hurry in everything they do details are often overlooked. This can mean the standard of cleanileness that is normally accepted practice in the food industry may be overlooked in the need for speed.

One nationwide news show sent cameras in to investigate the cleanliness of the fast food industry recently. The cameras snuck into America's top ten food stores to investigate the practices being adhered to when it came to sanitary conditions and cleanliness (Dirty dining?

"And with millions and millions of meals sold every day, most of us just assume it's all clean and safe. But when it's not, it can be devastating. After eating at this McDonalds in Erwin, Tenn., last March, one hundred people became violently ill. Some ended up in the hospital, dehydrated and even hallucinating. The Centers for Disease Control says sick restaurant employees very likely contaminated food with a virus, although McDonald's disputes that (Dirty dining?"

The problems that were cited included bugs and insects, food temperature issues, not washing hands and other health violations that can be found in fast food chains.

The third problem with fast food is the inability to control what is being consumed. Often times news shows uncover the fact that fast food is not all pure food. Milk shakes are called "shakes" because they don't actually have any milk in them. Beef products are beef "products" because of their failure to be pure beef. These and other shortcuts often used by the fast food industry take away the consumer ability to be sure they are consuming pure food that is nutritionally healthy and sound without reading extensive and often hard to locate pamphlets.

Fast food can also be expensive. If a family is on a tight budget and gets into the habit of eating out at fast food restaurants more often than not it can create a strain on the budget that is hard to overcome.

While these reasons are valid signs to carefully plan the consumption of fast food there are many reasons that the fast food industry is beneficial to the American way of life.

"The concept of fast food isn't new. Early in the 19th century, at the start of the Industrial Age when people had to work 12 to 14 hours a day, there was scarcely any time for long breaks for eating. The first snack bars and kiosks arose in front of factories. Today, quick meals outside the home have become an essential part of our lifestyle (Fast food as a sign of the times The success of fast foods arose from the changes in our living conditions:

Many women or both parents now work

There are increased numbers of single-parent households

Long distances to school and work are common

Usually, lunch times are short (Fast food as a sign of the times

The nation is at an ever increasing speed when it comes to things that must be done. Children must be driven to various activities, parents both work more often than not and night school is squeezed in among the other family duties. All of the things that families do today create a bottle neck crunch when it comes to eating. There is no time to shop for groceries, cooking and clean up. Often times it is impossible to get home long enough to prepare a meal even if the food is there.

In addition, families are often not home at the same time anymore. There was a…

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"Fast Food" (2004, December 13) Retrieved January 16, 2018, from

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"Fast Food", 13 December 2004, Accessed.16 January. 2018,