“We are what we eat” is a common phrase I’m sure you’ve heard before. However, how accurate is this statement really? Does it really matter whether you eat healthy food or fast food? After all, isn’t food just food?
It’s true, your body does need food to function properly. A human being can go about three weeks without food before the body eventually gives out completely. However, a deprived body will operate at a much lower level of efficacy than a well-nourished one.
These days in most modern societies, food is in abundance. Every corner sells some sort of edible or beverage meaning there is no longer a scarcity of food. With choice no longer being a problem, our attention diverts to quality and thus the great debate on healthy vs fast food commences.
Nourishment vs Mass
Your body is a perfect machine working around the clock to sustain your life. Providing your body with optimal nourishment will allow it to operate at peak performance. However, just like a car…if you use subpar maintenance, you’ll shorten the lifespan of the vehicle.
Similarly, your body operates under the same principle. While there is the option to eat fast foods, it tends not to be as nourishing as eating healthy foods. Your body does utilize the food to keep on running, however the ‘machine’ eventually begins to wear down.
Most fast food options are filled with saturated fats, they tend to use mass produced ingredients or in some cases genetically altered ones. There’s usually a lot of cholesterol in fast foods as well. While your body does process most of the things you eat, some foods have ingredients that are harder to process.
Cholesterol can accumulate over time, clogging up arteries and creating cardiovascular health problems. In the United States, the number one killer is heart disease. Additionally, the US is the largest consumer of fast foods in the world. The connection between the two is palatable.
When you eat healthy, you eat balanced. Meaning, while you do need cholesterol to survive, limiting your intake to suit your biological needs will not create excess. Every bit of the food is being used within the system, keeping it well maintained and prolonging the lifespan.
Convenience vs Care
While we know that fast foods aren’t the healthiest things for our bodies, making a healthy diet requires a lot of time and preparation. This is where many people fail within their attempts to eat healthier. With our busy schedules, we hardly have time to make our own food. We live in a society that values productivity, meaning we try to spend most of our time on staying productive.
Where making a healthy well-balanced meal might take you an hour to prepare, buying a McDonald’s burger will take minutes.
You can eat and get back to work before you even finish preparing your healthy meal.
Of course, even though you might get back to the office quicker, odds are you’ll run out of energy quicker too. Since the food you’re eating lacks the nourishment your body needs to operate, it will burn through the food at a quicker pace.
Additionally, with all the additives and hormones within the food, it could even hinder your body from functioning properly.
Thus, while you do save time…you might be making your body less productive in the long run.
Another factor why people consume fast foods is because it’s generally cheaper than organics and similar products. A burger could set you back a dollar or two, however getting organic vegetables will cost considerably more. You can even find fast food coupons to lower the price of your meal even more! It’s no surprise that fast food is so popular with prices like that!
This is partly the reason why there is an influx of fast food restaurants in low-economic neighborhoods. They choose mass over nourishment not because of the ingredients, but are limited to how much they can spend on food. There are ways around these dilemmas, for example if you want to order pizza rather than make one from scratch, you can choose local pizzerias such as slicelife who use healthier, authentic ingredients for affordable prices.
Within these neighborhoods, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes are often common ailments. It’s a real life example what happens to the body over a prolonged exposure of unhealthy eating habits. Furthermore, fast food is addicting.
The high sugar that is virtually within all fast foods, act similar to cocaine in the brain. It triggers the same pleasure centers and starts forming a habit. In fact, sugar is one of the most addictive drugs on the planet.
As you eat more fast foods, your body starts craving more fast foods. Over time, your health declines yet you still continue to consume the food that is essentially causing your problems… either because you don’t have the economic security to commit to a healthy lifestyle, or your body is simply addicted.
It is infinitely better to eat healthy than to eat fast foods. Science has already proven this. The problem is that other socioeconomic factors force people to eat unhealthy foods. Nonetheless, there are inexpensive ways to ‘eat healthier’ even within a fast paced productivity-oriented society. It just takes thinking outside of the box.
About writer: Terry Qin is a 27-year-old R&D engineer from Shenzhen currently living in the USA. He is fond of programming, new trends, blogging and writing interesting essays for DoMyEssay.net writing company.