Why Fast Food Is Not Your Family's Best Friend

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 11/19/2013 | 12:15 PM EST

There’s more than meets the eye in a burger and fries

For decades, the fast food industry has come under fire for its imminent health dangers. From threatening chemicals to high risks of various health diseases like high-blood pressure and high cholesterol, there’s more than meets the eye in a burger and fries combo.

More alarming is fast food’s stronghold on our children. Not only do kids innocently gravitate to the sugary and tasty meals, but they’re actively lured in by fast food marketing and advertising. While Ronald McDonald and those endearing TV commercials may seem harmless, there’s nothing harmless about the food our families are consuming.

For one, fast foods are extremely high in calories, fat and sodium. One burger can have as much as 540 calories and 29 grams of fat. You pay a high price when eating fast food, including putting you and your family at risk for heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, types of cancer and diabetes, among other things.

Not to mention, many fast food restaurants are found in poor conditions. For years, restaurants have been blasted for horrendous occurrences like rats and rodent droppings being found in the workspace, poor employee sanitation and food-borne illnesses. Who can forget the family that sued McDonald’s for finding a rat in their salad? Such bizarre incidents are more than enough reason to think twice before you step foot inside a fast food chain. If you need more reason, watch the film Food Inc., or read the book.

Sadly, many American families do not take heed to the risks of fast food restaurants, particularly in the Black community. According to the Center for Disease Control, Blacks have the highest fast food consumption rate.

While fast food may appear to be the easy route to feeding your family, especially when considering the difficulty in balancing work and your home life, taking that ride through your neighboring drive-thru will undoubtedly have dire consequences. So the next time your children beg you for a Happy Meal, consider taking a trip to the grocery store and getting fresh produce and food you can cook at home. Your family’s health depends on it.

 (Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

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