Fast Food: Good or Bad for our Health?

 Fast food

Who knows these?

  1.      McDonald’s Deluxe Breakfast contains total of 1,220 calories, 550 of them from fat, including 17 grams of saturated fat.

2.      The Mashed Potato Bowl with Gravy at KFC contains 690   calories and 31 grams of fat, 9 of them saturated.

3.      Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s pie at PIZZA HUT, Two slices provides 1,000 calories, 82 grams of total fat, 22 grams of it saturated.

 What are these food items? Why I am starting with the bad side of these food items? Don’t they have any usefulness to us? Why above three sentences tells specially about fat contents of the food? Do all fats harmful to us?

In the article below I am going to give you an idea about what these food items are doing to our health!

 I am sure all have already got these food items. Yes, they are ‘fast food’, about which today’s article.

Let’s see what does fast food means?

According to answer dot com fast food means inexpensive food, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, prepared and served quickly. I think it is the best suited answer. These are called fast food as they are prepared and served quickly. We have no problem with the definition but the problem is what we are taking in the form of fast food?

 Like all others food item, fast food  provides all the following:

  •  Fat
  •  Sugar
  •  Sodium
  •  Carbohydrates
  •  Proteins
  • Vitamins

 To have clear idea about the health problem of fast food, I think calories and fat portion of any food item should be discussed in brief.

 We get our calories (energy) mainly from three food ingredient;

a. Carbohydrates

b. Protein and

c. Fat

1 gram carbohydrates yield 4 kcal, 1 gram protein yield 4 Kcal and 1 gram fat provides 9 Kcal energy. So we see that fat is the greatest source of energy in comparison with other two. So to get fast energy, we generally look at fat. And the problem is when we are trying to get fast energy, we are choosing wrong item in our food menu.

 There are following forms of fat.  a. Saturated fat, b.  Trans fat,  c. unsaturated fat and d. Omega 3 fatty acid.

 Animal products like meat, egg or any dairy products and some plants oil like coconut oil, palm oil are great source of saturated fat. They mainly raise the total cholesterol and LDL(bad cholesterol) level in our blood and causes of some preventable changes within our bodies and ultimately increase morbidity and mortality. So conventional advice is to avoid them as much as possible.

Trans fat are required to raise the shelf life of processed foods like cookies, cakes, fries, donuts etc. Food items which contains hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil, most likely contains trans fat. Though they are unsaturated fat, they not only raise total and LDL(bad cholesterol) but also lower HDL(good cholesterol) levels!

Various kind of vegetables and plants products like soybean oils, olive oil, peanuts oil, canola oil, avocados, safflower oil, sesame, corn, cottonseed etc are the source of mono and poly unsaturated fats. Both are liquid at room temperature. Both lowers LDL and maintain HDL. But too much of polyunsaturated fat can reduce HDL too!

Cold water fish, flax seed, soy, walnuts etc are good source of Omega-3 fat, which includes essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids are those which are critical for our health but our body can not produced them within our body.

So, saturated and trans fat are doing harm mostly in our body. But on the other hand, rests of the fats are necessary for us. Beside high calorie value, these are necessary for growth, healthy skin, metabolism, absorption of fat soluble vitamins(A,D,E and K), adding flavor to food, satisfying us and making us feel fuller and keeping hunger at bay.

After knowing the content of fast food, sources of various forms of bad or good fats and some usefulness of fatty food, now let’s go and see what consequences may arise if we become habituated mostly on fast food?

Overweight and/or obesity:

This one is the initial and most common outcome of having fast food containing high fat. We are continuously taking fat which are depositing in various part of our body. In the same time, we are busy with sedentary work only. We don’t do any physical activities. So no way to burn that deposited fat. As a result every is becoming a huge fatty panda!

I think this is now global scenario.

Boys are becoming violent:

Fast food is devoid of Omega-3 fatty acid. This type of fat is required for mental happiness and wellness. So lacking of it in fast food lowering people’s temperament. So they are becoming violent more easily.

Susceptible to cancer:

Those who are taking fast food in high proportion are doing harm to him or her health as like as a smoker. Here is a comparison.

1 kg grilled meat = 600 cigarettes

1 grilled drumstick = 80 cigarettes

Prone to develop vascular accident:

As we are consuming high fat and we have seen that bad cholesterol (LDL) are more in those of fast food. LDL tends to mobilize from liver and gradually deposit in vascular channels, narrowing them and various form of vascular accident like hypertension, ischemic heart disease, brain stroke, peripheral vascular disease etc are frequently happening and increasing morbidity and mortality.

Development of diabetes:

There is a clean cut association between high fat intake and diabetes. A study published in the LANCET MEDICAL JOURNAL. The study reveals that who frequently eats fast food, the chance of development of diabetes is more than two time of non-fast food eater.


Though now-a-day, we are aware of such bad side of taking fast food. But we cannot resist taking fast food. Why?

We are just addicted to fast food like conventional addiction to other addictive drugs.

In this context, it is clear that it is doing harm to our health. But it is also true that fast food is also very much helpful for a good number of people who are single or don’t have enough time to cook for themselves.

So if we can modify the food contents then something different can happen. The good news is that there are some positive move to right direction. For example, McDonald’s have done some modification in their fast food. They are serving more vegetable portion in their fast food like fruits or salad, and are providing nutritional information about their product to the consumers.

In this regards, we should take some initiatives to protect us, our child and our future nation from this easily preventable disaster, health disaster!

  1. If possible, try to avoid conventional fast food as much as possible. If needed, take fast food of less fat content.
  2. Ban soft drinks and junk foods in school and college campus
  3. Motivate children for outdoor games or physical exercise.
  4. Last but not the least. Educate people the food value of fast food!!


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Hafizul Islam has written 7 posts in this blog.

I am a doctor!

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