4 Reasons to Avoid Fast Food

Published On July 17, 2013 | By Mira Schueler | Eating Healthy, Health

This Teen Asks: Want Some Trans Fat with Those Fries?

Just so you know, I’m a teenager and let’s face it, teenagers and fast food are fond of one another.  But I don’t often give in to the temptation of chicken nuggets and Big Macs for the simple reason that I know what I’m actually putting into my body.  Not only is it fast food huge in calories and fat, it’s also full of unnatural ingredients.  Who wants to consume chemicals and processed nastiness?  Not me.  I want to live a long healthy life.

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We have all done it one time or another; given in to the temptation of a quick, cheap and easy meal at the nearest fast food joint. Maybe a large hamburger, medium fry, and strawberry milkshake will relinquish your hunger for a couple of hours. When we make these kinds of hasty decisions, are we truly thinking of what we are putting into our bodies? Many of us know that processed foods are high in fat, sodium, and sugar, but there are many other disturbing, shocking and disgusting ingredients that are being added into our foods.  Here are just a few:

Tertiary butylhydroquinone (THBQ)

THBQ is a synthetic chemical with antioxidant properties and used in processed foods to slow the oxidation process of fats and oils, therefore slowing the molding process. Other than your take-out, you can find this chemical commonly used in cosmetics, perfumes, and pesticide products. THBQ is overall considered a harmless chemical, but some say when consuming a vast amount of THBQ, one might experience unpleasant side effects. Side effects of consuming one gram of THBQ can result in nausea, vomiting, delirium, collapse, as well as many other side effects.

Dimethylpolysiloxane

Dimethylpolysiloxane is an anti-foaming agent used to prevent oils from foaming and to preserve them for longer periods of time.  This silicone product is used in cosmetics, shampoo, and Silly Putty. Where do our fast food joints use this insane product you might ask? Well, you can commonly find it in fast food cooking oils and soft drinks.  It is a nontoxic ingredient but is known to irritate the skin and eyes, and to become a possible danger if consumed in its raw form. Even though this product is  harmless, I would rather keep silicone on the makeup counters and not on my dinner plate, thank you very much!

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

The safety of using MSG in foods has become a controversial topic over the past few years, but why is the usage of MSG such a debated argument? Monosodium Glutamate (or MSG) is a chemically altered amino acid that is used to amplify the taste in foods. MSG is commonly used in fast food chicken and beef dishes to help it taste meatier since fast food meat is typically not always %100 pure meat. U.S. Food and Drug Administration classified MSG as a “generally recognized as safe” substance but since then has been questioned by many people. MSG is thought to increase the risk of endocrinological and emotional abnormalities in young children as well as harm and damage brain tissue. These side effects cannot be confirmed nor denied but many people since then have made it a priority to keep MSG out of their diets.

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil is the most common oil used to deep fry foods and contains many unsaturated fatty acids. Fast food places will  use hydrogenation by forcing hydrogen gas into soybean oil to preserve the oil for longer.  By using hydrogenation, it leads to the creation of trans fatty acids. These types of fats can lead to heart disease and increase cholesterol levels. Since then, scientist have created soybean oils that do not require hydrogenation. Many places have accepted the fact that using trans-fat-free soybean oil is a better alternative, but hydrogenated soybean oil is still commonly used worldwide.

For more fascinating reads on fast food facts, I recommend these articles.

What’s in Fast Food? What’s in the Non-Chicken Half of the McNugget
Top 10 Most Common Ingredients in Fast Food
Fast Food Burgers Only 7% Meat, the Other 8 “Ingredients” Will Disgust You

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About The Author

I'm a high school student with aspirations of going to college. Although I'm a teenager, my world doesn't always revolve around clothes, boy bands and "Keeping Up With the Kardashians". I'm very passionate about topics such as fitness, wellness and education. I'm very much excited to be a part of Teen Recess.

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