Health Canada is proposing adding an enzyme, asparaginase, to fast food which breaks down asparagine. Asparagine, is a non essential amino acid, and is one of the key ingredients in the production of acrylamide. Besides being proposed as an ingredient in making french fries, asparaginase is also used to treat leukemia by starving the cancer cells of nutrients.I see a few problems with this.While in rodents there is the potential to develop cancer, the affects of acrylamide on humans are less clear. Some studies indicate a link while others show the levels to be low enough to not be a problem. Why are we adding a chemical to something that may not be a problem?If there is the potential for the acrylamide from french fries to be carcinogenic then there really should only be one solution. Avoid french fries. It’s not rocket science. Find the negative. Eliminate the negative. Experience better health.
Fast Food – Direct and Indirect Harm
The dangers of fast food come in two types. There are the obvious dangers posed by the high fat and calorie content of fast foods. There are also some hidden dangers rarely considered.When a person is told that fast food is not good for them from a nutritional point of view, he is hardly surprised.
The relationship between fast food and the almost epidemic obesity of the American population is a fairly well known fact. Still, the factors that make fast food so popular still seem to be powerful enough to make the majority of the population ignore the obvious risks of poor nutrition and weight problems. Fast food is easily available, relatively cheap, most people find it tasty and filling and it can be purchased fast.
There are very few alternatives to the high fat and high calorie menus in the fast food restaurants. Although many seem to be making some attempt to offer low cal alternatives, they end up ruining these offerings with sauces and dressings loaded with fat content. Even though these alternatives are offered, it is still the hamburger and fried chicken that is the king of fast food, and little has been done to reduce the impact of these foods on obesity.One of the major culprits in the fast food is the cooking oil used in the preparation of so many of the foods. This oil is not normal cooking oil, which is full of enough fat, but, is generally special hydrogenated cooking oil that undergoes a process designed to increase its shelf life. This process makes it downright dangerous for human consumption as it produces high levels of trans fats. These fat compounds are barely recognizable as food by the human body and end up getting stored as fat cells or heading right to an artery to start clogging it up.
Beyond the nutritional problems are another set of problems. The fast food industry has changed the slaughter and meat packing industry. The fast food industry needs to produce tremendous amounts of chopped beef for its millions of pre-prepared hamburger patties sold each day. The methods used to produce those hamburgers are creating a situation where meat packing plants are moving away from their former areas where unionized and trained meat packers slaughtered animals in a fairly efficient and humane manner. The new plants have moved to smaller towns where underpaid workers, often immigrants, are slaughtering animals and producing meat in an unsafe manner. The dangers of contamination of this meat are getting higher and higher. The working conditions are dangerous for the employees as well.
Negative Effects Of Eating Fast Food
1. Fast food has a very high energy density. About 65 percent higher than a typical diet and twice as high as recommended healthy diets which makes us eat more than we otherwise would. Energy density refers to the amount of calories an item of food contains in relation to its weight. Foods with a high energy density confuse the brain’s control systems for appetite, which are based solely on portion size.
2. British researchers from the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Center and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have determined that repeated eating at McDonald’s or KFC or Burger King, people are more likely to gain weight and become obese. This is because fast food not only contains many more calories than traditional food, but also is more likely to undermine normal appetite control systems.
3. By eating a Big Mac and fries, the body consumes almost twice as many calories as you would if you ate the same weight of pasta and salad. Fast Food restaurants feed the obesity epidemic by getting people to eat many more calories than they need through persistent advertising.
4. McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King menu items using nutritional data from the fast food restaurants’ Web sites, found that when we eat high energy density foods, we don’t reduce the portion size so we get a lot more calories than we need. Our current society possesses a weak innate ability to recognize foods with a high energy density. Food intake is assessed by the size of the portion, yet a fast food meal contains many more calories than a similar sized portion of a healthy meal. The conclusion is we are all being fooled into eating too much food.
5. People get fat eating regular portion sizes, but since the food has a high energy density, people gain weight. In evolutionary terms, the human appetite was designed for low energy density foods. In other parts of the world where these foods are still the dietary staples, obesity is virtually non existent. Our bodies were never designed to cope with the high energy dense foods consumed in the West. That is a major reason why fast food in contributing to the major rise in obesity.
6. Another fact is that fast food may speed up people’s risk of clogged arteries that can lead to heart attacks. Researchers at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Francisco have demonstrated that a certain type of fat, called oxidized fat, can accelerate the buildup of plaque in arteries. And many types of fast food such as hamburgers, pizza and French fries are loaded with oxidized fat. The conclusion is fast food meals are high in saturated fat and low quality carbohydrates, white bread and lots of soda. Our bodies require fiber and more healthful types of fats. Fast food represents a dietary pattern that is the opposite of what is recommended for a healthy body.