Essay On Fast Food Nation

The United States is a fast food nation. According to Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser, “Fast food is now served at more than 25,000 restaurants in the United States” (Schlosser 1). That number has likely grown in the years since the book was published. And it’s not just the sheer number of fast food restaurants that makes the United States a fast food nation. Fast food is also a way of life for many Americans.

There are a number of reasons why fast food has become so popular in the United States. One reason is that it’s convenient. Fast food restaurants are everywhere and they’re open late. They’re also quick and easy. You can go through the drive-thru and be in and out in a matter of minutes.

Another reason fast food is popular is because it’s affordable. Fast food meals are usually cheaper than meals from sit-down restaurants. And with the economy the way it is, people are looking for ways to save money.

Fast food is also marketed heavily to children. Fast food companies use cartoon characters and other marketing techniques to appeal to kids. And it works. According to Fast Food Nation, “children between the ages of two and eighteen now consume one-third of their daily calories from snacks and meals eaten outside the home” (Schlosser 1).

There are some negative aspects to the fast food industry as well. One is that the food isn’t always healthy. Fast food is often high in calories, fat, and sodium. And it’s not always easy to find healthy options at fast food restaurants.

Another negative aspect of the fast food industry is that it has been linked to a number of health problems, including obesity and heart disease. Fast food is also believed to be a contributing factor to the rising rates of type 2 diabetes.

So, there are both positive and negative aspects to the fast food industry. But one thing is for sure: fast food is here to stay. It’s up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to eat it.

In Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2002), Eric Schlosser argues that fast food is at least partially responsible for several social problems in the United States, such as obesity and income inequality. He analyzes this conflict by juxtaposing the positive and negative effects of the industry’s rapid growth. Using evidence and facts, he seeks to prove the dangers associated with an increased reliance on fast food.

Schlosser uses numbers and percentages to give the reader a shocking visual of how big this problem has become in American society, as well as incorporating first-hand experiences to draw the reader in on a personal level. Although some of his claims are unsubstantiated, Schlosser persuades the reader that the modern fast food industry is extremely harmful to both Americans and foreigners, and provides convincing solutions that could help diminish these problems.

The fast food industry has taken over America in more ways than one. It all started with car culture booming in the post-war years. This new found freedom led to more families eating out and less time cooking at home (Schlosser 12). Fast food restaurants were “quick, cheap, and convenient” (Schlosser 12). This new dining experience became very popular, especially with the younger generations. Fast food began to slowly weasel its way into everyday life, until it became a staple in most American diets.

Nowadays, fast food is consumed more than ever. In fact, “…more than one-quarter of all meals eaten by Americans are now eaten in the car” (Schlosser 15). Fast food has even become a symbol of America and our way of life, whether it is positive or negative. It is no wonder that the industry has grown so much in such a short amount of time; the fast food industry raked in $110 billion in 2002 alone (Schlosser 18).

Every day, hundreds of people mindlessly purchase fast food without being aware of the consequences it could have on their health. As Schlosser states, “too much fast food can cause serious risks” (65).

Fast food is a type of “food that is prepared and served very quickly” (9), it can be found almost anywhere in America, and has become increasingly popular due to the on-the-go lifestyles of many people. Fast food restaurants are usually “part of a chain, owned by a corporation”(9) such as McDonalds or Burger King. These types of restaurants are commonly known for their drive-thrus, low prices, and most importantly, their speed. Fast food has infiltrated every aspect of American culture, from movies to television shows, to even toys given out with children’s meals.

The first fast food restaurant was White Castle, which opened in 1921.(10) This restaurant was built on the principles of cleanliness and speed, which were very new concepts at the time. Fast food began to gain in popularity during the Great Depression, as people were looking for cheap meals that they could get quickly. During World War II, fast food became even more popular as soldiers returning from war were looking for the same type of quick, convenient meals that they had become used to while in the military.

The fast food industry has continued to grow exponentially in the United States, and is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Fast food restaurants can be found in every state, in small towns and big cities alike. According to Schlosser, there are approximately “three hundred thousand fast food restaurants in America” (10).

Over the past 50 years, not only has the number of fast food chain restaurants grown exponentially, but so have the concerns for public safety in regards to their cooking methods and hygiene. Popular opinion about how these meals are prepared is often inaccurate. For example, many Americans would be shocked to know that hamburger meat from fast food joints contain various bacteria and infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a quarter of American suffer from some form of food poisoning each year.

Fast food is a common source of these infections. The CDC estimates that each year, there are about 48 million cases of food poisoning in the United States alone” (Witt). Fast food has played a role in these numbers because many do not know how the food is handled or what goes into their meals. Along with this, the consumption of fast food has also risen throughout the years.

It is now an epidemic in America where one out of every three children eat fast food on a daily basis (Murphy). America has turned to this unhealthy way of life and it is only getting worse as time goes on. With the lack of knowledge on what goes into our meals and how they are prepared, we have become ignorant to the fact that we are slowly poisoning ourselves.

Fast food has had a long history, all the way back to White Castle in 1921. In today’s society, it is a common part of life for many Americans. It is so common that one out of every four Americans eat some type of fast food every day (Murphy). With the number of people eating fast food on the rise, so are the number of health risks associated with it. Fast food is now being linked to obesity, heart disease, and even cancer.

The American Heart Association states that “eating at fast-food restaurants more than twice a week can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes” (“Fast Food Facts”). Fast food is also to blame for the rising rates of obesity in America. In 2010, “more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults were obese” (“Adult Obesity Facts”). This is a serious problem that is only getting worse as time goes on and more and more people turn to fast food as a way of life.

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