Has Fast Food become Worse For Our Health In The Past 30 Years?

by Alfreda23 October, 2019


Fast food increases the risk of obesity and cancer. This is largely due to the fact that they contain empty calories and are ultra-processed. Most people believe that fast food is a healthy option which is not true. Moreover, a new study proves that fast food is dangerous for health.


The research was conducted at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was concluded that 36.6 percent of adults ate fast food on a daily basis. This is an alarming situation. Fast food is dangerous for a healthy lifestyle.

Another study was conducted at the University of Connecticut in 2018. This is a study showed that 74 percent of parents purchase unhealthy food for their children. This study is proof that parents consider fast food as healthy food.

Most fast-food chains promised to provide healthy options in children’s menu in 2013. This promise seems to be far from being fulfilled. The condition looks far from satisfactory. If this is not controlled with immediate effect we will have a generation of unhealthy people. A few fast-food restaurants seem to have implied this. However, their menu cannot be considered healthy.

The team analyzed ten of the most popular fast-food chain in the U.S.A. The research included variety, portion size, and nutrition of entrees, sides, and desserts included in the menu. The menu that was available in 1986, 1991 and 2016 were compared. The team analyzed menus from Arby’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Dairy Queen, Hardee’s, Jack in the Box, KFC, Long John Silver’s, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s. These restaurants were considered because the data for each of the three years was available. The study concluded that the increase in obesity and related chronic conditions is due to the change in the food environment. This was also the main cause of death in the United States.


The researchers studied the change of menus in these three years. They looked at how entrées, sides, and desserts changed in these fast-food restaurants. There was a vast change in the menus over a span of thirty years. The main concerns of researchers were the change in caloric content, portion size, energy density, and sodium, iron, and calcium contents.

The data for research was taken from ‘Fast Food Guide’. The data for the years 1986 and 1991 was taken from this magazine. However, the data for 2016 was taken from the website. The variety of food increased at a high rate of 226 percent. This means the customers are now capable to choose between a wide varieties of items. The calorific content of the food increased as well as their portion size. Calories saw a sharp increase in entrées, sides, and desserts. The desert category was on the top in the increase of calories followed by entrees. An increase of 62 kilo-calories per ten years was noted in the dessert category.

An increase of 30 kilo-calories per ten years was noted in the entrees category. The research team found a relation between the calorific content and portion size. The portion size increased with the calorific content. The portion size increased by 13 grams for entrees and by 24 grams for desert per decade. The sodium salt content also went up in the food over the period. The increase in salt content and portion size is considered bad for a healthy lifestyle. These increases lead to a variety of different diseases. Some of these diseases often cause death and render a person paralyzed.

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The research also concluded some extra information. They found out that four of ten fast-food chains provide information on the calcium and iron contents of items over the past three decades. With this information, researchers found a positive aspect of the research. The researchers admitted that there are positive sides to the increase in fast food as well. Iron and calcium content also increased as the portion size increased. It must be noted that iron and calcium play a vital role in bone and blood health. Calcium is found abundantly in both desserts and entrees. Iron is more abundant in desserts.

But these advantages can still not overshadow the disadvantages of eating fast food. The researchers believe that fast food should not be the first priority for food. Even the people looking to increase iron and calcium quantity in their body shouldn’t consider fast food as their primary option. Calcium and iron are abundantly available in minimally processed food such as seeds, dairy products, and fish. The researchers believe that this food should be considered as a primary option to increase these nutrients.

The analysts advised that fast food restaurants should add a calorie option in their menu. This will help the consumer to control their calorie intake. The researchers still believe that this will be only a start and that there will still be a long way to go. The researchers want to see more basic changes at these levels. One of these changes that they suggest is offering smaller proportions at proportional prices. Despite the efforts of fast food companies to make the food healthy, it can be said that there is not much to offer.

Over the past three decades, the food quality has gotten from bad to worse. Although there have been a few positives to it. The fast-food supply undoubtedly saves time which is an important factor in the modern world. But these advantages cannot overshadow the facts that people’s health has gone down dramatically over the past three decades. Eating unhealthy is the main factor of an unhealthy lifestyle. Vegetables, fruits, and meat can be added to the diet to make it healthy. However, a person should not completely leave eating fast food. It is advised not to make eating fast food a habit. The pieces of advice from the analysts can be taken into account to overcome this problem. The help from the popular fast-food chains will also be highly appreciated.