(Mike Barrett) It is no secret that the average American diet is in completely in the slumps. Consuming packaged foods, fast food, artificially enhanced products, and especially low quality cheap food is the norm, but is it any wonder that being overweight while also falling victim to a host of illnesses is also the norm. Being raised in this era of poor health makes it difficult to know what is truly healthy and unhealthy. Food has drastically changed since decades ago, and so parents often aren’t aware of the severe decline in food quality. Fast food in particular is one of the primary reasons for the drastic health decline seen today.
If you haven’t already, take a couple of hours to watch the documentaries Super Size Me or Fast Food Nation. After watching these films, you can see first hand how fast food causes severe damage to your body – even if you don’t consume it for every meal of every day like in one of the films. Fast food is nothing but a concoction of harmful and health-damaging chemicals which can easily be understood if you were to think for a moment how any restaurant could offer a double cheeseburger for only $1.
Most recently it was uncovered that these $1 cheeseburgers, along with the rest of McDonald’s’ beef and chicken, were actually harnessing ‘pink slime’ scrap meat covered with ammonium hydroxide. Not only does this fake meat provide no nutritional value at all, but it is chemically contaminated from ammonia, the toxic cleaning agent found under the sink. The meat is actually fat trimmings and connective tissue that are separated from the bone – scrap meat that is not fit for human consumption. The ammonia treatment is in response to the danger of contamination from salmonella or E. coli, but the scrap meats themselves are more likely to contain pathogens. Despite the chemical treatment, the meat is still in the line of fire for contamination.
Additionally, McDonald’s McNuggets contain 7 different ingredients making up the ‘meat’, many of which contain sub-ingredients. Instead of using real meat, the ingredient list utilizes sodium phosphate, safflower oil, wheat starch, dextrose, and autolyzed yeast extract – a particularly dangerous substance very similar to the toxic MSG. Along side with these ingredients comes the use of dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicon substance used as an anti-foaming agent and often found in breast implants and silly putty.
Of course the use of these ingredients is not limited only to McDonald’s. In fact, all of the fast food restaurants are guilty of using them. The worst part? They are aware of the destructive nature behind these ingredients, but truly couldn’t care any less. The truth behind such a statement can be exemplified by Taco Bell’s attempt to create a drive-thru diet where individuals would supposed to lose weight by eating fast food. It was only a few years ago when Taco Bell announced the “Drive-Thru Diet”, where they showcased their foods low in fat. But what they don’t tell you is that even if their food has 9 grams of fat, it is still made up of numerous ingredients contributing to the global health decline.
While the reasons for the influx of fast food consumption are many, one primary one is the usage of psychological advertising. Being one of the most powerful tools to reach both the conscious and subconscious, advertising plays a huge role in how society is ran today, and that includes which foods we eat. What’s more, children are much more influenced by what they see and hear, and research proves it. A study conduced late in 2011 showed that 71 percent of children will choose junk food like french fries over apple slices when given coupons for each of them. The number dropped only to 55 percent when parents encouraged children to choose the apple slices. But the desired reach does not stop at direct advertising and influence.
A new children’s educational book has recently been launched by the Council for Biotechnology Information, educating young children on the ‘numerous benefits’ of genetically modified food. Of course genetically modified food has time and time again been shown to cause human and environmental harm, but still the attempt to brainwash young children is carelessly made. The advertising for such food is also heavily tied in with fast food, as virtually all fast food is constructed with genetically modified food and ingredients.