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 Kyra Zambino

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Approximately 9
billon broiler chickens, 113 million pigs, 33 million cows and 250 million
turkeys are raised for our consumption in terrible conditions. Two in three
farm animals in the world are now factory farmed. The farming industry strives
to maximize their most possible output with the minimal cost, of course at the
expense of the animal. Animals are crammed into windowless sheds, stuffed in
cages by the thousands. They will never get to live the life they are supposed
to live. Most of them will never even get to enjoy the sun or breathe fresh air
until the day they are loaded onto trucks for slaughterhouses. The beaks of
turkeys, chickens, and ducks are often removed in factory farms to reduce their
excessive pecking and cannibalism (Solotaroff). Undercover
animal rights groups have filmed workers punching, kicking, and prodding
animals, and even throwing them to the ground. One
investigation even found workers putting out their cigarettes on pigs’ faces. Egg laying hens are kept in small cages,
chickens and pigs are kept in jam packed sheds where they develop pressure
sores and cows are kept in filthy feedlots. When it is time for them to be
slaughtered or their bodies have clearly just had enough from producing milk or
eggs, they are transported in trucks miles away through all weathers without any
food or water. They then have their throats slit while they are still conscious
and often are still conscious when they are thrown in the boiling hot water of
defeathering or hair-removal tanks. According to the Rolling Stones article,
“In the belly of the beast”, the regulations of this is normally the duty of
the US Department of Agriculture but they are so short staffed that they
usually only get to send inspectors out to slaughterhouses. Which

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means, (Solotaroff) from the moment
that animal is born they are on their own, “spending four or five years in a
tiny crate made sick breathing their own waste while fed food packed with
growth- promoting drugs and sometimes even garbage.”  These animals are fed corn wheat and soy which
are grown through very intense industrial farming they used large amount of
pesticides, which can and do remain in their bodies and are passed on to the
consumer which creates serious health concerns.

            The
reality of processed foods is also becoming a lot more mainstream.  McDonald’s sells 75 hamburgers per second.
People just think about the calories when they think of fast food when it
reality it is so much more. There have been many concerns and questions over
the years about, what are we actually eating? What are we putting in our
systems?  You may not believe this but
Subway is actually the largest fast food supplier in the world. You may have
heard about their recent scandal in which they were using a chemical called
azodicarbonamide, which is a substance that has been used to create yoga mats. Drinks
like one can of regular Coca- Cola can slip your mind so easily but in
actuality, it contains more than 10 teaspoons of sugar which according the
World Health organization, that is more than what should be consumed in an entire
day!  Researchers have revealed that the
cheese on our hamburgers are also “fake.” Around half of the contents of most
processed cheese in fast food restaurants are chemicals, additives and fats.
Leaving that slice of cheese with less that 50% of what it is said to be! There
have also been many rumors of McDonald’s fast food hamburgers and hot dogs
containing “pink slime”, better known as ammonium hydroxide. Fast food
hamburgers and hotdogs or to be more specific “…more delicately known as
‘lean finely textured beef trimmings’ this product is made from

 

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connective tissue and fat and is
treated with ammonium hydroxide”, the USDA considers this safe enough to still
go on and current regulations don’t require that they add these ingredients on

their meat labels. And if this
information really stuck with you next time you went to a fast food restaurant,
maybe you’d tell yourself to get a salad because what can they possibly do to a
salad right? Actually, Lettuce in fast food chains are often treated with
propylene glycol which is a chemical used in anti-freeze to help keep the
lettuce fresh and some salads even have more fat and sodium in them than a Big
Mac.

            Fast
food is an affordable and convenient way to fill up your stomach while on the
go or in a hurry. Don’t feel guilty for an occasional trip to McDonalds but
regularly eating fast food is linked to
weight gain, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and all-cause
mortality, regularly eating fast food can be a dangerous thing. Many fast-food
meals have added sugar. The American Heart Association suggests eating 100 to
150 calories of added sugar per day. That is equivalent to about 6 to 9
teaspoons. A 12-ounce can of soda contains 8 teaspoons of sugar. That equals
130 calories and 39 grams of sugar. High sodium is dangerous for people with
blood pressure conditions because it can elevate blood pressure and put stress
on your heart and cardiovascular system. You are recommended to only have no
more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. One fast food meal may have you
half way to your days limit. Excess calories from fast food can result in
weight gain or even obesity. Obesity increases risk for respiratory problems
including asthma and shortness of breath. Children who eat fast food at least
three times a week were more likely to develop asthma. According to the article
“Statistics of Health Risks from Eating Fast Food” “Scientists
from the University of las Palmas de Gran Canarias and the University of
Granada examined data on 9,000 participants, tracking their diet and

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lifestyle
habits. They found a relationship between fast food and baked good consumption
and low mood. Researchers concluded that eating fast food increased the participants’
risk for

depression.
Compared to those who ate little to no fast food and baked goods, regular
consumption increased the risk of depression by 51 percent, report the
authors.” So not only is eating constant fast food giving Americans negative
health effects but can also begin affecting your everyday mood which many
people do not know. Another study performed in 2005 noted that regularly eating
fast food doubles your chance of developing insulin resistance, which heightens
risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The number of people worldwide living with
diabetes has more than doubled since 1980, from 153 million then to nearly 350
million in 2011, according to a report in “The Guardian.” In a 2004 study published in “The
Lancet,” researchers found that eating more than twice per week at fast
food restaurants is linked to significantly more weight gain over time than
occasional visits. These are some of the many important things to
consider when you go to pick up that Big Mac or that large drink.

            On the other hand, what actually drives Americans through
the drive-thru of fast food and in and out of their doors is the convenience. Many
people may not have time to cook meals after their days at work and want their
kids to have a full stomach. Rather than going to a restaurant where it will be
probably triple the price and over an hour ordeal, Americans often choose fast
food because of the prices to eat out and there is low to no waiting time to be
served and go on with your day. The long and late fast food hours accommodate
almost anyone’s crazy and hectic schedules. They are also everywhere. In office
buildings, department stores, rest stops, schools, Walmart, airports, even
hospitals which makes fast food very likely to be chosen. Also, no matter how
often experts preach about how horrible it is for you, fast food’s carefully
calibrated

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mix of salt and fat is hard
to resist. A woman interviewed for an article for The Simple Dollar explains
that, “In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food: a typical order
for a family of

four — for example, two Big
Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken Nuggets, two medium and two small fries, and
two medium and two small sodas — costs, at the McDonald’s a hundred steps from
where I write, about $28.” She then includes that she can make a much better
meal at home for far less than 28 dollars. This shows us that people will spend
more money and sacrifice things such as their health in order to maximize
convenience. In a recent survey, 67% said they eat fast food
because it’s convenient. 32% said they eat it
because it’s cheap. 31% said they just like eating fast food. 13% said they
have a lack of other options. And 6% cited other reasons for eating fast food,
such as having coupons or going to eat with friends.

            The convenience of fast food draws
people to choose it many times over healthy food. Healthy food is often less
convenient and takes much time and effort to prepare. The study published by
STFM found that the average total cost for the health-food-diet model was
$5,019 per year. The average cost of the convenient-food-diet model was more
than twice that of the health-food-model, at $10,298 per year. The average
daily cost of the healthy diet was $7.48, while the fast food diet averaged $15.30
per day. This is very eye opening considering many Americans use the cost as
their excuse for eating fast food saying that healthy foods are too expensive
when in the long run, they are much cheaper. Another experiment conducted by
the Oakton Community College, when three meals per day per person were
purchased from fast-food restaurants, the total cost was $87 per week. In
contrast, by purchasing all whole ingredients from grocery stores, the
estimated cost for three meals per day, per person came out to $43 per

 

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week. The
experiment concluded that by preparing all three meals from home, the average
person could save approximately $45 per week, when compared to eating out.

            On the other hand, Within the last
few years many American consumers have shown an interest in healthier fast food
that incorporates lower calorie ingredients and fresh products while still
being served quickly and remaining “affordable.” In the article Freedom from
Fries the author says, “Ten years ago no American would have seen a bowl of
vegetable scraps dressed with lime-cilantro or spicy pesto vinaigrette as fast
food.” This is very true and restaurants like Chipotle, Smash Burger, Shake
Shack and others are creating a ground between tablecloths and giant fast food
chains. These new ways of eating out is called casual dining and is growing
extremely quickly. Places like Sweet Green serves meals in which you can
purchase in three minutes and eat in five which is the goal of fast food. But this
restaurant serves salads and fresh soup rather than processed meat, fries and
large sodas with tons of sugar and additives. Also, some small growing
businesses that you may not have heard of but are definitely on the rise is
Salad and Go which is a drive-thru salad chain. This opens so many new doors
for people that care about what they are eating. They sell 48-ounce salads
around 6$ and soups and smoothies for about $4. They have six locations in
Arizona and plan to fully expand around the US by 2020. Another restaurant that
is pushing McDonald’s off the boards is LYFE Kitchen which is a healthy chain
backed by Oprah’s former personal chef! It already has 20 locations and
everything on the menu contains less than 600 calories and dishes are free of butter,
cream, trans-fats, high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives. And if your
vegan, you can now jump onto the fast food wagon. The veggie grill claims that
their burger tastes better than a Big Mac. They serve burgers primarily made of
pea protein. They have 28 locations already and are currently

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expanding
further across the United States. Lastly, we have a very cool modern way of
fast food. Eatsa is an automated vegetarian food chain and when you go here,
you place your order on

iPads and
pick up their food from automated cubbies. Humans prepare the food in the back
where the meals only range from 450 to 700 calories! Places like this will
start to change American’s minds who say that that Big Mac is more “convenient”
for them, because now, they can have the same convenience at the same prices
but much healthier options.

            Fast food is a very controversial
topic across America and have many debating. From the treatment of animals to
what you are putting in your bodies, these healthy new choices seem like a
score. As said before most American’s say that the reason for that large fry
and cheeseburger from McDonald’s is either because they cannot afford to feed
their whole family healthy foods claiming that they are more expensive but we
showed in this article that healthy foods are actually cheaper for their
families in the long run. Also, other American’s say that it is something they
get when they are on the go because it is fast and easy and that is not a good
excuse for them anymore either because now healthy fast food is something that
has not always been here and is expanding very rapidly. The food from home or
these healthy fast food places serve unprocessed, low calorie and even organic
foods rather than putting that McDonalds meal in your mouth with processed
cheese, or that cheeseburger also known as “lean finely textured beef
trimmings”, with a side of your large soda which contains ten teaspoons and
your sugar limit for the day! These healthy food chains may be our first step
in stopping American obesity from continuing to be on the rise and I hope many
Americans open their eyes to this new idea.

 

 

 

 

Citations-

Solotaroff, Paul. “Animal
Cruelty Is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat | Rolling Stone.” Rolling Stone Magazine, 10 Dec. 2013,
www.rollingstone.com/feature/belly-beast-meat-factory-farms-animal-activists.

 

Specter, Michael. “Can Fast
Food Get Healthy?” The New
Yorker, The New Yorker, 19 June 2017, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/02/freedom-from-fries.

 

McNight, Clay. “The Price
Difference Between Healthy Food & Fast Food.” Healthy Eating | SF Gate, SF
Gate, 2016,
healthyeating.sfgate.com/price-difference-between-healthy-food-fast-food-11002.html.

 

Sifferlin, Alexandra.
“Eating Healthy Is Cheaper Than You Think.” Time,
Time, 5 Dec. 2013, healthland.time.com/2013/12/05/eating-healthy-is-cheaper-than-you-think/.

 

 Janet Renee,
RD. “Statistics Of Health Risks From Eating Fast Food.” LIVESTRONG.COM, 2017, https://www.livestrong.com/article/383621-statistics-of-health-risks-from-eating-fast-food/.

 

Pilon, Anne. “Fast Food
Survey: Most Customers Choose Fast Food for Convenience.” AYTM, AYTM, 13 Aug. 2014, aytm.com/blog/market-pulse-research/fast-food-survey-2/.

 

Garfield, Leanna. “9
up-And-Coming healthy fast food chains that should scare McDonald’s.” Business Insider, Business
Insider, 8 Feb. 2017, www.businessinsider.com/new-healthy-fast-food-chains-better-than-mcdonalds-2017-2/#locol-a-california-eatery-where-everything-costs-6-or-less-9. 

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