Now, occasionally I will still have that quarter pounder because I love fast food, but you have to keep it to a minimum.”

Aretha Franklin, Musician

Pros and Cons of Fast Food

advantages and disadvantages of fast food and junk food

Fast food has become quite popular over the past decades. Millions or even billions around the world consume fast food on a regular basis.

Even though it is quite convenient and has several other advantages, eating fast food also has its problems.

In this article, the pros and cons of fast food are examined.

Audio Lesson

Advantages of Fast Food

  1. Eating fast food is quite convenient
  2. Requires no cooking
  3. Fast way to get your meal
  4. Fast food is usually rather cheap
  5. Eating junk food is quite popular in many regions
  6. Good for your travels
  7. Helpful if you don’t have a kitchen
  8. Stable quality
  9. Food most often tastes the same
  10. Helpful for stressful days
  11. Huge variety of different fast foods
  12. You may get new ideas to cook at home
  13. High hygiene requirements
  14. Some fast food chains offer healthy alternatives
  15. Drive-through may save you even more time
  16. Good for lunch break
  17. High level of disclosure of calories
  18. Fast food industry provides job opportunities for many people

Eating fast food is quite convenient

One key advantage of fast food is that it is quite convenient. You just have to walk in the fast food chain, order your meal and a few minutes later, you are ready to go. You can also take your fast food with you. For instance, on nice sunny days, you may just want to grab some junk food and sit in the local park while enjoying the good weather.

When you are done, you can just dispose of your trash in the nearby trash bin and you don’t have to worry about washing the dishes or other things. Thus, eating fast food can be quite convenient for various different reasons and if you are a rather lazy person, getting some fast food might be the right way to go for you.

Requires no cooking

Fast food requires also no cooking from your side. You can just grab it within minutes and don’t have to spend a long time in the kitchen. Moreover, you also don’t have to go to the grocery store since you don’t need to cook and therefore, you will also don’t need the ingredients to do so. Hence, fast food provides a great opportunity for people who can’t cook or who are just not willing to spend a long time in the kitchen.

Fast way to get your meal

Like the name already suggests, fast-food is indeed a quite fast way to get your food. Many fast food chains will be able to supply you with food within just a few minutes. Even at busy times, you will most often not have to wait too long since the organization processes are quite optimized throughout those chains.

Consequently, if you are in a hurry and don’t have too much time to eat, going for fast food instead of attending a restaurant might be the right way to go for you.

Fast food is usually rather cheap

Depending on the fast food you want to eat, it can also be quite cheap to get certain junk foods. Quite often, you only have to spend a few bucks for a whole meal. However, this also depends on the specific region. While fast food is often quite cheap in many countries, it can also be rather expensive in other countries.

Therefore, you should always check out the prices for fast food in your region if the price is an important factor regarding whether you want to consume fast food or not.

Eating junk food is quite popular in many regions

While the hype around fast food is over in many countries all over the world and people rather want to go for more healthy alternatives, eating fast food is still quite popular in specific parts of the world.

Especially in countries where those fast food chains just opened a few years ago, locals are often quite keen on attending those chains since this kind of food is still considered to be rather new, interesting and hip.

Good for your travels

Fast food is also quite convenient for your travels. When you are traveling, you will often not have the opportunity to cook by yourself and therefore, you might just want to grab some junk food. By doing so, you will not only be able to avoid cooking, but you will also don’t have to do the dishes afterward.

Hence, getting fast food can be a great alternative to cooking while you are traveling since you can spend more time on excursions and getting to know the local culture.

Helpful if you don’t have a kitchen

In case you don’t have a kitchen since you just moved to a new home or due to various other reasons, getting fast food may be a convenient way to supply yourself with food since it is fast, easy and convenient. Therefore, getting some fast food may be a great alternative to just grabbing some food from the supermarket from time to time.

Stable quality

Even though the quality of fast food may not be too high in general, many fast food chains at least make sure that they still provide stable quality. This means that they often rely on the same suppliers and delivery networks in order to make sure that the quality doesn’t vary too much from one day to the other.

Food most often tastes the same

Another upside of fast food is that many fast food chains make sure that their products always taste the same. Consequently, if you go to your favorite fast food restaurant, chances are that your favorite food will taste quite as you remember it from the past.

Hence, you can be sure that you will get the taste you want, which is not always true in other restaurants since the taste of foods from conventional restaurants greatly varies over time, depending on the mood of the cook.

Helpful for stressful days

In case you work in a demanding job for long hours every day and you have many meetings on a regular basis, you might not find the time to go out to a restaurant and to spend plenty of time there. Instead, you may just want to grab some fast food, eat it and you will be ready to go back to work within a couple of minutes. Especially for stressful days, fast food may be a valid alternative in case every minute counts.

Huge variety of different fast foods

Another benefit of fast food is that you can choose from a big variety of different products. Even within a single fast food chain, there will be a huge variety of foods you can choose from. Moreover, you can also switch fast food chains on a regular basis.

Therefore, you will be able to try different foods all the time and chances are that you will never get bored since the selection of different fast foods is simply too big, especially if you live in a big city with many different fast food chains.

You may get new ideas to cook at home

Attending a fast food restaurant may also give you the opportunity to get new ideas for cooking at home. For instance, you may eat a salad which you really liked or a sandwich which you found quite interesting. In such a case, you might want to take those ideas back to your home and the next time you want to eat those products, you may want to cook them by yourself.

By doing so, you can expand your cooking knowledge over time and at one point, you may no longer want to attend fast food restaurants and cook your own meals instead.

High hygiene requirements

Fast food chains are often also quite strict when it comes to hygiene. Most often, you can be sure that food is treated in a hygienic manner so that you will not suffer from any health issues after consuming it.

In fact, many fast food chains even dispose of foods that are not sold in the garbage after just a rather short period of time in order not to risk any health issues for their customers.

Some fast food chains offer healthy alternatives

Even though fast food chains are known by the general public to produce quite unhealthy foods, some products can indeed be rather healthy. For instance, many fast food chains also offer salads or other products that are not too bad for you.

Thus, the next time you attend a fast food restaurant, you may want to try some healthier alternatives instead of your normal order.

Drive-through may save you even more time

Some fast food chains also offer you a drive-through service. This means that you don’t even have to get outside of your car, you can just stay in your car, drive to the counter, order and then take away your meal.

This may save you even more time and can also be considered to be quite convenient since you will not even have to physically move while you pick up your food.

Good for lunch break

Getting some fast food may also be quite convenient for your lunch break at work. In case you don’t want to hang out with your colleagues or only have a quite limited amount of time to get some food, fast food may be a great way to shorten your lunch break so that you can get back to work sooner.

Hence, if you don’t have too much time for your lunch break for various reasons, getting some junk food may help you save plenty of time.

High level of disclosure of calories

Fast food chains are also obliged by law to disclose the amounts of calories each fast food item has. This will be quite useful for customers since they can easily see how much calories they are eating with each product and they may change their minds and go for items with lower calories instead of products that are loaded with calories.

Fast food industry provides job opportunities for many people

Since fast food has become quite popular over the past decades, the fast food industry employs millions of people around the globe. Especially in regions where there is high unemployment and not too many other job opportunities, those fast food chains may be quite important to secure jobs so that people can earn enough money to survive.

Disadvantages of Junk Food

  1. Unhealthy ingredients
  2. Many calories
  3. Plenty of saturated fats
  4. Not recommendable to lose weight
  5. Too much of it can lead to serious health issues
  6. You may not be able to avoid certain ingredients
  7. Low-quality food
  8. May not keep you saturated long enough
  9. You may still cook cheaper at home
  10. Fast food is usually low in precious vitamins and minerals
  11. May change our social life
  12. Potential allergens
  13. Fast food addictions
  14. Even “healthy” options may have plenty of calories
  15. Bad role model for your kids
  16. Problems with your digestive system
  17. Many people don’t know how unhealthy fast food can really be
  18. Excessive waste production

Unhealthy ingredients

As we have seen before, there are many advantages of fast food. Yet, there are also some issues related to it. One problem of eating fast food is that those fast food chains often use unhealthy ingredients.

Even though there might be some healthy products, the most popular foods in fast food chains are often quite unhealthy. In turn, your fitness level as well as your overall quality of life may suffer quite a lot in the long run.

Many calories

Fast foods also often contain large amounts of calories. Quite often, if you just consume a single meal in one of your favorite fast food restaurants, chances are that you will cover your calory need for an entire day.

This means that everything else that you eat that day will actually lead to an increase in weight, at least if you don’t work in a profession that requires you to work in a physically demanding manner.

Plenty of saturated fats

Fast foods often also contain plenty of saturated fats. Those fats do not only make the food rich in calories, they are also quite unhealthy and are known to increase the risk for serious cardiovascular health issues. Thus, in order to avoid eating those fats, you may want to rely on other foods instead.

Not recommendable to lose weight

Due to the high calory counts of fast foods, they are one of the last types of food you should eat in case you want to lose weight. If you currently suffer from overweight or obesity and you want to lose weight, you should definitely go for healthier food instead.

You may also want to cook by yourself since by cooking, you can not only make sure to eat healthy food, but you will also burn calories while cooking.

Too much of it can lead to serious health issues

If you eat too much fast food on a regular basis, chances are that you will also suffer from serious health problems sooner or later. Due to the unhealthy ingredients, your body will stop working properly at one point in time.

Moreover, since you will likely gain weight, you may also suffer from serious overweight in the long run. In turn, this also implies that your chances to suffer from the serious health effects related to obesity will increase as well.

You may not be able to avoid certain ingredients

In our nowadays society, it is often quite common that people engage in specific diets. For instance, it has become quite popular to avoid eating carbs.

However, by eating in a fast food chain, chances are that you will not be able to comply with your specific diet since you may not know exactly what’s inside your food.

Hence, if you want to follow a specific diet, you may want to go to specific specialized restaurants or cook by yourself instead of attending a fast food chain.

Low-quality food

Another downside of fast food is that most fast food chains will also rely on rather low quality of their ingredients. This is due to the fact that most people do not want to spend too much money on their food and in order to provide low prices to customers, fast food chains may have to buy the cheapest products in order to stay competitive in the fierce global fast food market.

May not keep you saturated long enough

Many fast foods will also only saturate you in the short run, not in the long run. This is due to the fact that they often use white bread and those breads will contain carbs that are processed by the body quite fast.

In turn, if you eat those food products, chances are that you will feel hungry after just a few hours again and have to get additional food, which is not only bad for your finances but also for your calory count.

You may still cook cheaper at home

Even though the prices for many fast foods are rather low, you may still be able to save plenty of money by cooking at home in the long run. This is especially true if you have a big family. In such a case, you might not only be able to save plenty of money, cooking with your family can also be quite a lot of fun.

Fast food is usually low in precious vitamins and minerals

Most fast food chains are rather focused on providing tasty food at a reasonable price, not on providing food that is actually healthy for customers. For instance, the majority of fast foods are rich in fats and calories, but rather low in previous minerals and vitamins that would actually be beneficial to your body.

Hence, if you want to do your body a favor, you might want to refrain from eating fast food and go for healthier alternatives instead.

May change our social life

In the history of mankind, eating was not only a way to assure our calory intake, it has also been an opportunity to socialize and to talk to other people about what happened during the day.

However, if people rely on fast food chains too much, this important socializing opportunity is taken away from them since they will not spend enough time while eating and the socializing aspect of eating food will be lost over time.

Hence, if you want to socialize during your meals, slow food restaurants may be the better way to go for you.

Potential allergens

In many cases, you will not know exactly what’s inside your fast food meal. This can be problematic in case you suffer from certain food allergies. For instance, some people cannot process certain foods and in case they consume those foods, they may suffer from serious health issues.

In the worst case, allergy suffers may even die if they eat food they are allergic to. Hence, if you are allergic to certain ingredients, you may rather cook your own meals since only then can you be sure that you will not suffer from allergic reactions.

Fast food addictions

There are even people out there who really become addicted to fast food in the long run. Some people just love the taste of certain fast food products and can’t get enough of it. Hence, if you are a person who really loves eating fast food, you may be at great risk to become addicted to those products sooner or later.

Consequently, you may want to make not to consume too much fast food and to take breaks on a regular basis in order to avoid any kind of addiction in the long run.

Even “healthy” options may have plenty of calories

Although many people believe that salads from fast food chains are healthy, they are often not and still contain large amounts of calories most of the time. Hence, if you want to lose weight, don’t fall for the trap of eating salads in fast food chains since those salads often contain far too many calories and may not be good for your diet at all, even though they might look healthy at the first glance.

Bad role model for your kids

Always remember that you have a huge influence on the behavior of your kids. Your kids will adapt your behavior quite often and if you eat too much fast food, you will not only hurt your own health but also the health of your children since also your children will likely eat too much fast food.

Moreover, your children will also be more likely to eat excessive amounts of fast food once they turn into grownups and their risks to suffer from obesity may increase as well.

Thus, in order to protect your kids from adverse health effects related to fast food, you should be a good role model and avoid consuming fast food as often as possible.

Problems with your digestive system

Over time, many people also get problems with their digestive system when they consume too much fast food. Our body will forgive us if we consume fast food from time to time.

However, if we eat too much of it, chances are that our digestive system may no longer work properly, which in turn can lead to several additional health issues over time.

Many people don’t know how unhealthy fast food can really be

Even though the awareness regarding the importance of healthy nutrition increases in many countries, many people are still not aware of the serious negative effects that fast food can have on their health. Therefore, many people may just eat fast food without actually knowing what they are doing to their bodies.

Hence, in order to protect people from the excessive consumption of fast food, stricter regulations regarding fast foods may make sense in countries where the awareness regarding the health effects of fast food is still quite limited amongst the general public.

Excessive waste production

Consuming fast food also implies the production of plenty of unnecessary waste. For instance, if you eat fast food, you will often have plenty of plastic packaging which has to be disposed into the garbage after just a single use.

Moreover, plenty of food has to be thrown away due to strict regulatory standards and over time, large amounts of food waste are produced.

Hence, if you want to make a positive impact on our environment, you may rather want to cook by yourself instead of relying on fast food.

Top 10 Fast Food Pros & Cons – Summary List

Fast Food ProsFast Food Cons
Eating fast food can save you timeFast food can lead to overweight
Some fast foods can actually be healthyEating fast food can lower your fitness level
Fast food is pretty convenientPlenty of saturated fats
You don’t have to do the dishesMay not saturate too long
You don’t have to cookFood is often of low quality
Fast food is often rather cheapToo much of it can lead to serious health issues
High hygiene standardsMay lead to obesity
Tastes always quite similarFast food may be addictive
Disclosure of caloriesDigestive problems
New ideas to cook at homeBad role model for your kids

Should You Eat Fast Food?

From the previous analysis, it becomes clear that there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of fast food. While it may make sense to eat fast food from time to time, it should not become your main food source and you should rather go for healthier alternatives instead.

For instance, you can learn cooking at home, which may greatly benefit you in various different ways. Check out my article on the advantages and disadvantages of cooking at home for more information.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_food

https://www.livestrong.com/article/49366-definition-fast-foods/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/fast-foods

https://www.eatthis.com/most-popular-fast-food/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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