You’ve had a long day at work. But, finally, it’s time to go home.
With weary bones, you drag yourself from the building and into your car. As you start driving, your mind drifts to dinner.
…There’s nothing in the fridge.
And, frankly, even if there was, the idea of cooking, eating, and then cleaning up is enough to make you lose your appetite.
That’s when you remember the McDonalds around the corner.
Before you know it you’ve whizzed through the drive-through and bagged yourself a Big Mac. You didn’t necessarily need the thick shake you decided to wash it down with.
But, heck, they’re so darn delicious- who can say no?
Job done. Hunger Satiated…With only mild feelings of guilt and nausea for afters.
We’ve all been there. Indeed, over 1 in 3 American adults eat fast food every single day! With time and will power in short supply, the convenience of fast food makes it hard to resist.
Let’s face it, though, there are advantages AND disadvantages of fast food.
It’s time to go through them.
Thinking twice about fast food? Read on for all the pros and cons of fast food worth considering.
Like reading about the advantages and/or disadvantages of different topics? You might enjoy these posts too:
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- The Advantages and Disadvantages of JUNK Food
The Advantages of Fast Food
Let’s start with the good stuff. Here are all the reasons people love fast food.
1. It’s Fast
This one’s obvious.
A primary reason fast food’s so popular is that it’s so convenient.
Like the person in my example, people live busy lives. Preparing your own food might sound nice, but it isn’t always possible when time is of the essence.
You’ve got people to meet and places to be.
Head down to the local fast food restaurant and you can be fed in a matter of minutes. That’s good news when you’re up against a jam-packed schedule.
You don’t need to be busy to appreciate the speed that fast food comes out though.
Sometimes, you just have to be hungry! When you’re belly’s rumbling and the hanger’s mounting, the prospect of cooking becomes wholly unappealing.
Getting food fast is all that counts.
2. It’s Tasty
And it normally tastes good too!
Sure, you know it’s not the best food out there. But it isn’t that bad either- especially considering the time it took to make and the price that you paid for it (more on this next).
It’s a win-win. Speed and taste, all wrapped into one.
3. It’s Cheap
Times are tough.
Millions of people, all over the world, are struggling with money at the moment. Add up your bills, food, and rent, and subtract it from your pay cheque; there isn’t always that much left over!
Eating out in fancy restaurants might sound nice. But it just isn’t possible for a lot of people.
Fast food chains offer a meal out at affordable prices though. Suddenly, you can go and grab some food without feeling the pinch too badly.
4. It’s Better Than Nothing
That’s good news for the poorest of the poor.
If you’re out on the streets, or just really struggling for cash, then having access to fast food can be an actual life-saver. At certain times and with certain offers you can spend a dollar and get a burger (or something similar).
That’s crazy! It can be the difference between eating and not eating.
The same goes for people who are better off financially but massively short on time.
All too many folks choose to skip lunch or dinner because they just don’t have time. They’re busy, in a rush, and have other things that take priority.
Do that enough and you can develop a seriously unhealthy habit.
After all, eating’s vital for energy-levels. Sure, there’s better food than fast food for living a vital, happy, and healthy life. But, surely, eating fast food’s gotta be better than no food at all.
5. It’s Cheerful (Familiar)
Fast food’s as cheerful as it is cheap.
You know what you’re getting with it.
There’s no fancy, unpronounceable names on the menu. There’s no strange concoctions and odd flavour-combinations.
It’s just good old-fashioned food served up the way most people like it.
6. It Ain’t All Bad
Likewise, more and more fast-food chains are offering healthier options.
All those government campaigns about poor diets and clever marketing campaigns about health and fitness have started to pay off:
Society’s rapidly making a move towards a healthier lifestyle.
For fast food places to stay afloat, they need to cater to an increasingly health-conscious audience. And they are!
Slowly but surely you’re finding healthy options on the fast food menus. Combine that with decreases in salt and sugar in popular options and you’re on the right path.
7. It’s What the Kids Want
Kids can be fussy.
And not everyone has the time or patience to cater to their tastes!
But fast food always goes down a treat.
When worst comes to worse, ordering in some quick and easy fast food is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. And, at the end of a long day, a lack of moaning children is worth its weight in gold.
8. It’s Transparent
You know what you’re getting with fast food in more ways than one.
These days, the chains have to tell you what you’re eating!
The nutritional content of your meals should be available at every restaurant you go to. You can sit down and work out (for better or for worse) what you’re putting into your system.
9. It’s An Economic Boost
This one isn’t really a personal advantage to think about.
However, it’s hard to deny that all those fast food restaurants contribute to the economy as well. If they upped and went, then the country would surely suffer a bit financially.
10. It’s Catering for More People
Fast food is no longer off-limits to vegans and vegetarians!
There was once a time when that would have been a ridiculous idea. Why would herbivores venture into a carnivorous establishment other than to protest against it?
These days, the advent of non-meat meat-substitutes provides ample incentive. You can literally get burgers that look and taste exactly like beef, made from plants.
It’s a crazy world, and it’s opening up our favorite fast food restaurants to everybody.
The Disadvantages of Fast Food
Onto the downsides. Here’s why you should think hard before knocking back that burger and fries (or pizza, or Chinese, or fish and chips…).
1. It’s Unhealthy
We all know it:
Fast food isn’t great for us.
In fact, many would argue that it’s actively bad. It’s getting better, but eating from fast food restaurants is still a pretty unhealthy way to go.
The saturated fat, sugar, and salt content all amount trouble.
Look no further than the famous docu-film ‘Supersize Me’ for evidence. In it, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds for 30 days straight. Among other issues, he gained 24lbs and saw his cholesterol spike to scary levels.
If you’re going to eat fast food, it’s best done in moderation. Don’t, and all sorts of serious physical health problems can ensue.
2. It Can Make You Feel Sick
Another issue is that it can make you feel nauseous after eating it!
At the end of the day, you’re giving your body exactly what it (at an animalistic, evolutionary level) wants: fat and sugar and grease and salt.
All of those things amount to energy and, in terms of natural selection, more chance of survival.
Get your hands on the Big Mac and your brain goes into overdrive. You literally can’t get enough.
After a while, though, you eat more than your body really needs and you suffer the consequences. Nausea kicks in and you might have the urge to throw it all back up.
Feeling a bit sick after a meal is never nice, but it’s not uncommon when you’ve gorged yourself on fast food!
3. It Affects Your Appearance and Mental Health
Everybody wants to look and feel their best.
…Especially in a society that puts so much value on appearance.
Unfortunately, fast food can work counter to that desire.
At the end of the day, eating lots of fatty processed foodstuffs is a sure-fire way to put on weight and get greasier hair and skin.
It can also make you feel worse about yourself.
For one thing, lots of people eat fast food and then feel instantly guilty for indulging themselves. They might feel ashamed and beat themselves up about it.
Add to that the lack of nutritional goodness to most fast foods and you’ve got a growing problem. Poor nutrition can lead to fatigue and lethargy (among other problems). Over time, people might start feeling depressed and/or struggle with self-image.
Here’s more about fast food and mental health.
4. It Contributes to Societal Health Problems
All those issues aren’t just bad at an individual level.
Society suffers too.
Problems such as diabetes and heart disease are made worse by eating unhealthy meals (like fast food). These issues have a very real social and economic impact.
5. It Ain’t Home-Cooked!
Let’s not forget what you’re missing when you eat fast-food:
A warming, nutritious, balanced, ‘old-fashioned’, home-cooked meal.
There’s just something nice about cooking a meal from scratch and eating with loved ones. Of course, it’s nice to go out and buy food as well. However, that’s only a novelty when you’re eating in for the majority of the time.
6. It’s Processed
Fast food is processed food.
In other words, some sort of process (be it cooking, canning, fortifying, preserving, etc) has gone into making it the way it is.
Generally speaking, the more processed it is, the worse the food is for you.
Again, generally speaking, there’ll be more sugar, sodium (salt), and fat than you’d otherwise find in the original foodstuffs.
7. It’s Addictive
Another trouble with fast food is how addictive it can be.
Remember, all that sugar and salt gets our juices flowing. It triggers a neurochemical response that gets us hooked on the stuff.
The more of it you eat, the harder it is to turn down.
And, like any addiction, the effects are never good. You’ll end up eating it too often, which could lead to all sorts of the health struggles we’ve talked about already.
Likewise, you might overspend on it too!
The food may be cheap, but if you’re buying it all the time the cost is going to add up.
8. It Doesn’t Fill You Up
Fast food might seem satisfying as you eat it.
But it has a nasty habit of leaving you hungry again a short time later.
Fast food tends not to have the right constituent parts to actually fill you up properly. Compare that to a balanced, home-cooked meal that’s packed with goodness.
You’ve got your greens, your good fats, your protein and a good amount of complex carbs to get you going. You’ll be full for hours!
9. It’s Environmentally Unfriendly
The popularity of fast food can come at an environmental cost too.
Think of the amount of meat you eat. If you’re like most people, it’s a lot.
For instance, the average American eats 222lbs of red meat and poultry every year. That, according to the same source, is roughly 2.4 quarter-pound burgers every day!
Aside from the animals that die, the environment suffers.
You’ve got oodles of land required for pasture (and deforestation that creates it), incredible levels of grain required to feed cattle, and masses of water going into the rearing process.
10. It’s Too Quick!
It’s a big deal in our society.
Nobody wants to wait these days! We want everything from their online shopping to the next episode on Netflix delivered ASAP.
Fast food ticks that box, and we like it all the more for it.
Yet there’s a lot to be said for waiting and working too. Generally, longer waits and extra effort for something (anything), tends to create a better outcome.
You appreciate and actively like things more.
The same goes for food. When time allows it, working hard on a home-cooked meal (especially when you’re cooking for other people) is hugely gratifying. You’ve taken a selection of ingredients and converted them into something delicious.
You lose that when you get fast food.
Now You Know the Advantages and Disadvantages of Fast Food
Looking to read about the advantages and disadvantages of fast food?
Hopefully, this post has highlighted all of the ones worth knowing about!
Got more suggestions (or any thoughts at all) for the list? Let me know in the comments below!