Health problems, obesity, food safety hazards and pink slime are just a few of the resasons you should skip that drive-thru and, you know, eat a carrot instead. Check out our list, rent Super Size Me and head to your nearest farmers market, we BEG you.
You've seen those horrible movies about how poorly animals are kept when they're being led to slaughter, and they aren't just showing you those heart-wrenching photos for the ratings. Many of these factory-farmed animals are kept in such a small space they are forced to stand in their own feces, have osteoporosis and joint pain because of their confinement and some chickens get their beaks cut off so they don't go nuts and attack each other because of the small corridors. To keep the animals from getting sick in these conditions, they are pumped full of antibiotics, which often end up in our food. That's not only making us want to stop eating fast food, it's making us want to be vegan.
I'm sorry, what is in my food? According to the Matador Network, some fast food's chicken nuggets contain a chemical preservative called tertiary butylhydroquinone, which is derived from a petroleum. Yep, the stuff you put into your car. That's not all, either. Some chicken products are mechanically separated, which means those scraps that would normally go to waste are ending up in your nuggets. Plus, if you were even to study the ingredients in your favorite meals, you'd be shocked to see how many of them are chemical preservatives, artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate and more.
It doesn't take an expert to see that most fast food chains don't use the highest quality of ingredients. You can tell by the rubbery patty, the wilted lettuce leaves and the extra-chewy chicken. They use the cheapest parts to make the products so when you're eating your hamburger you have no darn clue what part of the cow it came from, and, heck, if it's even cow you're eating! Here's an idea, spend the extra few bucks and make your own burger from meat you bought yourself.
Sad to say, many of the employees hired on to do the cooking, food handling and prep don't have the necessary training or food safety education they need to do it right. Not their fault, the companies often don't offer training because these restaurants have such a high turnover rate. On any given day, you could have someone preparing your hambuger who didn't wash their hands or was playing with frozen raw meat right before they manhandled your bun. Save yourself the food poisioning.
It's called fast food for a reason, friends. Most of the meals you get aren't cooked with thought or love; they actually aren't even cooked on a stove. Many are unwrapped from their frozen containers and thrown into a dirty microwave. This saves the managers the time and money it would take to teach the cooks how to prepare the food properly and not worry about cross contamination. It saves their butts but doesn't make yours look any prettier.
You haven't heard that word in a while, probably because it was banned from a few restaurants. Why? It can raise your LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, leading to a heart attack or cardiac arrest. However, not all fast food restaurants are required to list trans fat content on menus, so it's possible the food you're eating may still have it, and lots of it. Fast food items particularly high in trans fats include French fries, fried fish filet sandwiches and fried chicken, for example.
Now, you've heard all about the pink slime, and, thankfully, it's not something many of the restaurants use anymore to preserve their meats. But, that's not the only slime you may find at these fast food joints. In fact, a few fast food restaurants in Wrigley Field were shut down because they had black slime on their ice machines! Before you take a slurp of that diet Coke, make sure you aren't drinking bacteria-infested slime instead.
Fast food isn't just hurting your ability to fit into skinny jeans, it's actually killing the environment. According to the Matador Network, there have been so many pollutants added to the Mississippi River from factory farms that there is a "dead" zone the size of New Jersey, meaning no fish or creature can live there. Oh, but that's not all. Methane, a gas produced by factory-herded cows, is 23 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, which is a large factor of global warming. Each time you buy a Big Mac, you're not only killing yourself, you're killing the polar bears too. Hard to take that first bite knowing that, right?
This one's a no-brainer, clearly. The food is loaded with preservatives, the preferred cooking method is deep fried and even the "healthy" options aren't all that good for you. In fact, the McDonald's crispy chicken salad has more than 18 grams of fat. Add the dressing and you're at 36 grams. Many of the desserts contain fake sweeteners, which have been linked to obesity. Plus, the chicken, which is one of the leanest cuts of protein you can have, is breaded and deep fried, which takes away almost all of the redeeming qualities it had going for it, not to mention gets rid of its health benefits.
Fast food isn't the cause of obesity, certainly not, but it's not helping our nation fight it either. In fact, a study published by CBS News found that children who regularly eat fast food gain up to 6 pounds more a year than those who don't. With the obestiy rate so high and only growing (more than 15 percent of American children are obese), those 6 pounds are quickly adding up. Luckily, due to many lawsuits, many fast food restaurants are required to offer apple slices and milk with their kids meals. If you still don't believe us, watch Super Size Me.
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