Are Fast Foods Bad for You?

Updated on December 9, 2017
Ken Burgess profile image

Grew up on Cape Cod, Mass. Army Vet., Fmr. Director of Energy Conservation programs, RE Agent. Current residence: the Space Coast, FL.

At a time when a third of the country is overweight or obese, it comes as no surprise that fast foods and junk foods are the largest source of calories in the American diet.

In comparison to 40 years ago, the average American family now spends half their food budget on restaurant food. In 1977, just over 35% of family food budgets were spent eating outside the home. And of that, more Americans spend their money on fast food than ever before.

Fast foods are largely the products of seven crops and mass processed livestock: corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, milk, chicken and beef, all of which are heavily subsidized by the federal government, ensuring that such foods are plentiful and often cheap.

The government subsidizes the products that large agribusinesses produce, which use Monsanto GMO seed, and its Roundup pesticides. Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) is an international corporation that sponsors oversight agencies, and has ties to senior officials within the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and other regulatory departments within the Federal Government.

These products are then purchased at a lowered cost (thanks to the subsidies) by the biggest fast food chains in the nation.

Between 1995 and 2010, the government doled out $170 billion in agricultural subsidies to finance the production of these foods. Commodity crops that are processed into many of the foods that are linked to the obesity crisis, heart conditions, and cancer by various studies.

“The subsidies damage our country’s health and increase the medical costs that will ultimately need to be paid to treat the effects of the obesity epidemic,” a 2012 report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (see sources below), concluded. “Taxpayers are paying for the privilege of making our country sick.”

The Food and Chemical Toxicology journal published a study in November 2012 linking a strict diet of genetically modified corn treated with Roundup herbicides with the development of tumors in rats. This two-year study, by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini had a normal thorough review process applied to it. The paper was objectively and anonymously peer reviewed, before being published, however after significant pressure was put on the publishing journal it was retracted a year later on November 2013.

Rats fed GMO corn their entire lifetime grow horrifying tumors

In addition to GMO corn reaching our plates, livestock is fed genetically modified food, which in turn is fed to us, along with all the hormones, carcinogens, antibiotics and pesticides that may be built up in the meat as well .

And the FDA not only does not warn us of it, it shields these food industry practices, and removes the necessity for them to label or warn consumers on their packaging.

The current FDA Deputy Commissioner Michael R. Taylor, is a lawyer who has spent most of his career working for the FDA, but prior to that he spent a couple years representing Monsanto.

Prior to that, he was a practicing lawyer who lead the way to dismantling the Delaney clause, a law that protected US food from having chemicals added, known as the Food Additives Amendment of 1958. It was written specifically to keep food safe, as studies had revealed that certain carcinogens in food, even at levels less than one part per million, were a serious risk to human health.

Then Taylor began representing Monsanto and putting forth arguments to counter food safety concerns. Early in the 1990s Taylor left his law firm and the employ of Monsanto and took the FDA post of Deputy Commissioner for Policy. There he was able to influence such things as the removal of warnings that were put on milk coming from cows treated with the artificial hormones known as rBGH. He oversaw GMO restrictions being removed, thereby permanently removing any government oversight of Biotech safety with “burdensome regulations.”

Since then genetically engineered corn and soy containing the genes of pesticide has become staple within the food industry, with up to 90% of all foods produced in the U.S.A. today of GMO seed and treated with Roundup.

So what impact do these heavily modified and processed foods have on you?

Well lets say you head down to your favorite fast food burger joint and sit down and have one of those juicy double patty double cheese burgers with fries. What happens?

Your body's blood sugar is raised and some other pretty standard things occur. But the specific chemicals in the sauce, burger, cheese is also designed to release a certain set of 'feel good' chemicals which studies compare to taking a drug like cocaine.

After 20 minutes, your body is craving more of the fructose corn syrup found in the burger bun and sauce, as well as your drink. And also partly because some of the chemicals used to process the foods block your body's identifiers so that they can't recognize that you just ate a 2,000 calorie meal. Essentially you stomach is full, but your body doesn't recognize the food as food.

In addition to that, as quickly as 30 minutes after consuming the meal, if you ate the full combo meal with the overly salty fries, that sodium (salt) could help to dehydrate you. This thirst also can be easily mistaken for hunger, making the consumer of the meal think they want another burger all over again.

Further along after that, any sugar rush will have worn off, and the body has likely lost control over its blood sugar regulation making the fast food craving for another meal even more intense.

Then the best part comes, it could take your body up to three days to fully digest a fast food burger meal in comparison to the usual 24 hour digestion route.

Because hamburgers are a fattier food, it can take up to three days to fully digest, according to various research studies.

Cheeseburger in Hydrochloric Acid (simulating the Stomach)

Hydrochloric acid is a strong mineral acid naturally produced in your stomach designed to break down food, this acid is strong enough to eat through wood if you dropped it into a concentrated vat. It is used in many industrial fields as a chemical to remove steel, process leathers, etc. The stomach wall is designed (epithelial cells) to resist the acid, and the stomach works to avoid the overproduction of acid.

Despite that, as you can see in the video above, after three and a half hours sitting in the concentrated hydrochloric acid, the part of the burger sitting in the acid was not fully broken down.

It has become almost an Internet fad, people taking fast food burgers and experimenting with them, some showing how resilient these food items can be.

The fat inside the burger patty and cheese helps preserve the food, but its more than that as well, its chemicals and preservatives within, that help make this a super food when it comes to resisting digestion, and decomposition when left in a regular environment.

What exactly are they putting into these foods that preserves them so long?

While you see the buns eventually decompose, I can only imagine how long the burger patties themselves would have lasted, or the cheese.

What are we putting into our bodies when we ingest this?

Are we giving ourselves and our children poison?

Why is it that the FDA has gone out of its way to protect Biotech foods (GMOs) and have warning labels removed and regulations undone?

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


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    • Ken Burgess profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken Burgess 

      2 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Finn,

      The chemicals are one thing, the GMOs could very well be the cause of a great deal more health problems than anyone imagines.

    • wpcooper profile image


      2 years ago from Barstow

      Well a bit frightening but honestly the chemicals in foods have been around for so long they are becoming a natural part of humanity.

      But the connection between big corporations and the law making process is something that's a great concern too.

      Some things to think about and some good videos.

    • sarahspradlin profile image

      Sarah Spradlin 

      2 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      Very informative. Thanks.


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