Fast Food Driving You Faster to Death?

by WomboCombo on April 7, 2015 - 5:08pm

      Since their creation, fast food chains have been a source of controversy especially in the media and both sides are quick to raise pros and cons to the food and overall sanitary conditions these chains provide and contain. Nowadays, our media is riddled with ads and commercials powering possible customers to go and basically spend little for a lot, a more bang for your buck kind of deal. However, despite the promise of quick, convenient, and cheap food it also sounds too good to be true and those opposed to the conditions of these fast food chains assault them with facts about how unhealthy and risky it is to depend on these companies for nutrition. The question is whether it is ethically correct to allow these chains to flood consumers with a heaping amount of advertisements, without showing the risks, nutritional information, and complete truth about the source, processing, and creation of their food.

      To give credit where credit is due fast food chains like McDonald, Burger King, KFC, and such do provide food for an incredibly low price and it is relatively fast. Furthermore, the food provided almost allows tastes decently good, taking account it's price and speedy delivery. However, that's where it ends for the pros fast food chains can boast about, the real focus is the negative aspects such as the general unhealthiness and questionable ingredients their food holds. Society has generally accepted the fact that these fast food chains are unhealthy, after the FDA and many enlightening documentaries bashed them over the years. Fast food chains are now forced to reveal the nutritional information to every item on their menus, this does not extend to when they are advertising their foods over multiple sources of the societies media, however if you went into any fast food place the odds of you finding this information is improbable as it's either hidden behind something or another or it's in an area on the menu you are unlikely to notice and is even in fine print. The only time you really have access to it is when you receive your food and at that point you have already cashed in so unless you are some health or fitness guru whose body is the purest of shrines you won't exactly be willing to refuse the food. Another problem with the media that is riddled with fast food ads is that they will depict all this tantalizing food while stating it is 100% pure Angus beef or whole chicken breast or the likes. However, there is so many concerns and questions as to what your truly consuming that at this point no one in the vast population completely knows the truth. This is followed up by the fact that even if the ads are true, the processing and sanitation becomes questionable and can be overlooked by consumers who are too busy questioning the health and ingredient aspects. Imagine having to attain quality meats and other ingredients, trying to keep it as healthy as possible, maintaining proper sanitation and processing standards, and serving it at low costs and fast. The reality is it is unimaginable to have such a seemingly perfect system and keep it running without something being at fault or without some drawback.

       Take the example of cigarettes, as they used to be widely advertised and commercialized, however because of their known risks and unhealthiness an uproar so great was created. This uproar led to any sort of ads for cigarettes to be prohibited, furthermore the box containing cigarettes is absolutely riddled with the risks of the product (I can verify it can create a fear factor even to habitual smokers). The action that cigarette companies took was proper and ethically correct so why can't fast food chain follow suit? It can't be because smoking causes more health issues than unhealthy and overall filthy food because this type of food can clearly lead to an absolute profusion of health problems. Furthermore, food is essential to survive so if you are hungry and a fast food chain is your only option, depending on your schedule and financial situation, you will most likely be forced into taking that option. However, smoking cigarettes is not a necessary action in order to survive it's, no matter what the opinions, a choice made by the individual.

        Fast food in the media isn't ethically right, however they do have the potential to become proper from an ethical perspective but doing so will obviously hurt profits. Nevertheless, the issue of obesity and all possible more severe problems stemming from it is becoming more prevalent, a perfect example being the United States of America. As these issues are very real and very worrisome it needs to be addressed at the source, where fast food is a major contributor. The media for these companies needs to be recreated with the consumers in mind and not profits, despite that idea being a utopian ideal in our capitalistic society it is simply what should happen. If they recreate the media for these chains consumers will have more control over the decision of eating at one or choosing otherwise. It will become more of a choice, like smoking is, which will benefit consumers when it comes to their health.  


Your article was very well written and very interesting. I agree with you that advertising unhealthy foods is unethical and I believe that something needs to change in order for people to realize that it is unwise to consume these foods. The tobacco industry was forced to change their commercialization approach by telling people the negative affects of smoking, perhaps the fast food chains should be required to adopt the same approach. To further your research on the topic, I found an article on the American Psychology Association that states the negative effects that food advertising can have in childhood obesity. This is a great example that proves how much media and advertising can have an influence on people.

I really liked your article specifically your comparison with the cigarettes’ ads. It is so true that fast-food companies should do the same, but like you I don’t think it will happen even if it could be the better solution to decrease obesity problems around the world. As a society, we have to find other solutions and since you seem interested by the subject I suggest you to read the following article: It shows how fast-food companies are playing with our tastes to make us addicted to their food and how they manipulate children by doing funny ads to promote their products. They also give realistic solutions that could help solve the problem such as an international code of food marketing on children, a stronger regulation of nutritional quality in schools, a tax on junk food, mandatory food labelling and subsidies for healthy food for those who can’t afford them.

While I agree that fast food should be much less prominent in the media, I think we are giving the chains too much credit. You mention that the primary driving factors to fast food are cost, advertisement and convenience. While I agree that chains like McDonalds do keep value quite high, it is a bit much to incite that the consumer has no other choice. Look, we're lazy and we're cheap, but for the most part there is no argument that justifies eating at fast food chains regularly other than pure gluttony. One could make very cost efficient prepared meals for each day of the week in as little as one hour, who I can come down to less than 1.5$ a piece. Many people, especially in the fitness community, devote a day or a small portion of one day, mostly sundays, to meal prepping, where all their lunches for the week are prepared in advance. If the people of the 21st century could muster up just a bit more effort to eat healthy, they could do it at relative ease. Cost is not a factor, especially when comparing to fast food.

In my upcoming report on obesity, I will be taking a look at the ethics, as well as the financial and health impacts of a fat tax. I will be reviewing papers from disciplines of health, psychology and economics to find out the how and why of obesity and how we can curb the economic burden it has become on our publicized spendings. You can find my report plan below!

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