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Ask The Trainer

Why is America addicted to fast foods?

By Chris Antonio | Jun 29, 2013

Q: Why do you suppose Americans are addicted to unhealthy fast foods? I have done a lot of traveling in my life, and it seems this is a problem that is worse in this country than anywhere else.

A: Unhealthy eating and the American lifestyle go together like a hand and glove. Here are five reasons why I believe this to be true.

Faster

Work, family and other obligations have changed the way we live our lives, and many people no longer take the time to prepare and cook meals. Long work hours, second jobs and the busy American lifestyle have bred a faster, more convenient way of eating that fits together nicely with less nutritious foods that can be eaten quickly with little to no preparation.

One of the most common excuses I hear today is that people don’t have time to prepare meals, and statistics show very few families sit down to dinner together anymore. All of this has led to poor health and an obesity epidemic that is sweeping the nation.

Cheaper

Healthy food is much more expensive than fast food, and for many people, diet is determined by economics. People with low incomes or large families will get a lot more for their money buying prepackaged foods that are much less nutritious than fresh fruits and vegetables.

It’s a lot cheaper to have a soda and a pack of peanut butter crackers out of a vending machine than it is to have a piece of grilled fish with vegetables at your favorite restaurant.

Readily available

Trying to find a healthy choice meal can be as difficult as searching for a needle in a haystack because very few restaurants market to those of us trying to stay in shape. Healthy food is considered boring, expensive and tasteless and is not what people are looking for when going out to dinner. Therefore, choices are limited, and it becomes difficult to have a social life and eat healthy at the same time.

Addictive

Fast food is addictive because it lacks fiber and nutrition and instantly spikes insulin levels as soon as it hits the bloodstream, causing low energy, lackluster performance, weight gain and more binge eating. People who eat fast food on a daily basis will end up in a perpetual state of hunger with little to no willpower and will end up eating double portions of whatever they can get their hands on because their bodies will crave simple sugars and high-glycemic carbohydrates.

Culturally acceptable

Despite the fact that some people still rely on fresh, nutritious foods, most Americans have embraced a new way of eating that is centered around quick, cheap, less nutritious choices.

It has become so engrained in society today that it’s considered weird not to indulge with friends on high-calorie, fattening foods that can cause health conditions such as heart attack, diabetes, cancer and strokes. A great way to put this in perspective is to look at how we feed our children with foods like hotdogs, french fries, sugary treats and candy. It’s no wonder for the first time in history American children are being diagnosed with the same diseases and health conditions that normally happen to older adults with poor eating habits.

Eating healthy may be more difficult by today’s standards, but it’s certainly not impossible. Take the time to educate yourself on proper nutrition and avoid eating fast food on a regular basis.

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