Fast Food Nutrition: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


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It would not be a surprise that television, internet, and any other kinds of ads of big fast food companies such as McDonalds® or Subway® have successfully advance their ideas of healthy foods in many of Americans. Yet all of these wealthy corporations, along with many other smaller companies, have many ways to sell their products. These methods could be underhanded loaded with jargon. Information of simple knowledge overfilled with confusing and sometimes random information that otherwise will be too insignificant for people to put an effort to learning about. There are also times where information is overly simplified and have no real background to make a worthy judgment. Amidst all of the fallacies in the fast food industry, there exist reliable sources of information.
In recent years, there has been an increase of connecting ideas of the transformation of fasts foods. Although some arguments claim the reason is one clause over the other, some will divert and stray off topic. They exert random facts to either make the claim reasonable or by overflowing them with sources that seems reliable from authoritative figures. Rabin article “Proximity to Fast Food a Factor in Student Obesity” goes to say:
Ninth graders whose schools are within a block of a fast-food outlet are more likely to be obese than students whose schools are a quarter of a mile or more away, according to a study of millions of schoolchildren by economists at the University of California and Columbia University. (Rabin)
The basis of proximity and obesity are non sequitur ideas. The field of study was limited and difficult to draw a conclusion because there is no reliable comprehensive connection. Researching related concepts such as types of foods, productions, and manufacture, connect with fast food resulting in student obesity are better. Although there is relevance to the idea of proximity with fast food which results in obesity, production concepts offer better connective experimental data. The study was done on ninth graders and on schools that are a quarter of a mile or more away. This creates weak rationalization. The study, also, could have easily added variety of data than just ninth graders because if they extended to elementary schools, high schools, and even college students, in addition with different distances, it gives a reliable and diverse scope. Broadening to different people, race, age groups offers a more detailed conclusion.

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This study, furthermore, has hasty generalizations. In the article it says:
Another arm of the study analyzed data on millions of pregnant women who gave birth in New Jersey, Michigan and Texas over the course of 15 years. After adjusting for a number of variables, the researchers determined that women who lived within a half-mile of a fast-food restaurant were at increased risk of gaining more than 44 pounds during a pregnancy, compared with those living father away. (Rabin)
The aggressive theoretical conclusion concerning pregnant women and the relating larger obesity dilemma over the proximity of fast food chains is an excellent point of hasty generalization. It hastily says “44 pounds”. This vague conclusion has two claims: millions of pregnant women in various states in fifteen years and living within a half-mile of a fast-food restaurant. There should be comprehensive data, more than just pregnant women and within a half-mile, to support the weight gain. The quote also mentioned New Jersey, Michigan, and Texas, states that have large populations. Gathering data from states that have huge populations screws up experimental results. These attributes to logos in having too specific examples to answer something that is broad. In conclusion, Rabin’s argument offers incomplete deductions for the effects of fast food that are supported by hasty generalizations, non sequitur claims, and weak rationalizations.
Within certain fast food chain’s menu, nutrition facts could be seen to give customers information about their meals. It usually states calories, proteins, sodium, fats, etc. In Sharon Labi’s article “Do you want salad with that?” it goes to tell:
Nutritionists say fast-food outlets would be better off reformulating their entire menus, making small changes in salt and fat content and adding more vegetables rather than just offering some token healthier alternatives. The barbecue chicken and mushroom ciabatta pizza is healthier than a supreme, but it's still packed with 5.5 grams of saturated fat. (Labi)
In molecular biology, there exist multiple types of fats (Lipids). These include saturated fats, unsaturated fats, trans-fat, and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fats and trans-fats are the biggest dietary cause of bad cholesterol (LDL). Butter, cheese, fatty meats, and fried foods contain these fats. The article is begging the question only fats are needed to be eliminated. It assumes that a menu should change because of fats. Although Labi stated the barbecue chicken has five and a half grams of saturated fats, she was not inclusive of the other kinds. Omission of fats in menus, in conclusion, makes customers confused to either eat at a particular fast food joint or not at all. The menu would only create an unreliable source of information.
Besides the negative effects of only fast foods causing obesity, however, there should be more than just food that causes the problem. They can be either too simple or too much, in addition, diverting the attention. In Felicia Bymes’s article “Causes of Obesity In America”, “Genetics and family history do play an important role in growth of obesity. Nonetheless even this factor, with the help of guidance and effort, can be conquered.” Although she states there are other factors, the description of genetics and family history is a red herring. From the length of the description she gives, it seems that she dodged the matter. Although she did not divert too much from topic of obesity, compared earlier in the article, she did not have much to say about genetics. In the middle section it says:
There is also the dominance of fast food in the American society. As indicated by studies, consumption of fast food meals has quadrupled, if not more, from 1977 to 1996 and it's growing with the passing of each year. This brings to the fore conclusion that more people don't have the time or fondness to cook meals from scratch at home. What are the most preferred fast foods? Well, they include big burgers, large fries, chicken nuggets, pizza with lots of toppings, stuffed to the brim tacos, heavy milkshakes and sugary soft drinks. In these foods there is the high presence of fatty cheese and sauces that lead to corpulence. It should be accepted that these foods taste great and are okay to eat in moderation. Nevertheless there is a greater danger. Americans are substituting these foods for meals on a daily basis. (Bymes)
This section is a stark contrast of information because her argument mainly talks about fast food and how it relates to the obesity problem. These two quotes, furthermore, creates a contrast of rhetoric jargon and oversimplification. The quote explaining fast food has too much information (long quote). It talks about consumption quadrupling, no time to cook meals, and high presence of fatty ingredients. Although each point about fast food offers examples of causes of obesity, there should only be sufficient data. The claim on “no time to cook meals” is not needed. She stated claims about fast food and there relating effects, no need to address about whether people have time to cook. The other quote about genetics and family history has too little information (short quote). The claim on genetics and family history does not have sufficient data. The inclusion of experimental data on race can offer more evidence about genetics. Felicia Bymes’s argument, in conclusion, does explain more than one factor about obesity, but no concise evidence about these factors. The information then becomes confusing.
A positive effect of fast food comes from Subway®. Jared S. Fogle, nicknamed “The Subway Guy”, was 425 pounds. In a matter of a year, he lost 245 pounds from just eating subway. His weight lose is an excellent testimony for fast food being a positive effect. In The Subway Diet, it describes:
“He started skipping breakfast, and ate just two subs a day, a small turkey and a large veggie, along with some baked potato chips, and diet soda. Soon, he cut his daily consumption from 10,000 calories a day to just 2,000. Everywhere Jared goes, he carries a constant reminder of who he was, and what he used to be: his old pants with a 60-inch waist. “These are probably the single best visual I could ever have, and ever have had,” says Jared, who says the thought of gaining weight again frightens him. “It scares me. I know the weight possibly could come back on, and I want to do everything I can to avoid that.” (Leung)
This strong emotional appeal persuades people, those having weight problems, that not all fast foods are limited to burgers and fries. To repeat the emotional appeal, Jared remarked, “This was a major change. I mean, not to make a pun, but I dieted cold turkey.”(Leung) Because he was first person who publicized subway being a healthy fast food restaurant, it presented firsthand evidence. The impression of a man, who battle obesity problems, express a fast food restaurant can also have healthy benefits. Commercials of Subway frequently show Jared’s success story by having him show his old size sixty pants next to him. The commercial, therefore, demonstrate a visual argument of subway’s weight reducing subs compare to other fast foods. In addition to Jared’s testimony, Subway also offers nutritional facts on their napkins. In it states, “Six inch Roast Beef, five grams of fats, twenty milligrams of cholesterol, and 296 calories. The napkin offers the main criteria of nutritional facts consumers would be concern about. Although stating only three facts, it is not full of lengthy jargon. The facts are short, simple, quickly obtainable, and straight to the point. Subway, in conclusion, gives people a positive appeal that fast foods are not just labeled junk food.
It would not be a surprise when an unhealthy meal surfaces in a fast food menu in such big companies like Wendy’s, McDonalds, or Burger King. When considering which reliable source of information about health effects, one should be very wary about the many fallacies within the source. Despite all the misleading jargon, there exist reliable sources like in the case about Jared and Subway. So fast foods, in conclusions, would not be hastily called unhealthy.


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