Hey Foodie Nation!
Hope all is well on the home front. I was walking home from good ol' Aldy today (Alden Library, natch) and noticed something I failed to recognize before. Court Street is flanked, and I mean flanked with restaurants...mainly fast-food joints. What gives, Athens? Aren't we known for our organic reputation? Well, with that said, I decided to get all newsy on yo' bad selves and write a little story for your viewing enjoyment!
She picks up a greasy, oddly shaped French fry, dips it into ketchup and puts it in her mouth. “Ahhh…delicious,” says Katie Pretzlav, a junior studying English at Ohio University.
Located on 40 South Court Street, Wendy’s is just one of the many fast food restaurants Athens offers to hungry college students in a bind.
It’s no surprise that fast food is high in fat content. However, more recently studies have shown that there is a correlation between fast-food intake, excessive weight gain leading to health complications.
“I try not to eat fast food too often,” says Pretzlav while indulging in another fry. “It’s hard, though, when you are in between classes and some place like Jimmy John’s or Chipotle is so quick and simple. I guess I don’t really look at the health risks.”
It appears efficiency is a common theme during college and here at Ohio University students main objective seems no different.
With a myriad of fast-food places just on Court Street in Athens, it’s easy to find a quick bite to eat. Places just on Court Street include:
- Jimmy John’s
- Bagel Street Deli
- Big Mamma’s
- and several other quick and easy fixes.
Fast food consumption in the United States has increased steadily in the past three decades. According to Barbara Alving, M.D. an Acting Director at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Insitute, “Obesity and diabetes are on the rise in this country.”
In 2002, investigative journalist Eric Schlosser published a book called Fast Food Nation that delves into the United States consumption of the fast food industry. In his book he places important focus on obesity and people’s body mass index.
Schlosser writes that an obese person has a body mass index of 30 or higher. He writes that 44 million American adults are now considered obese and another six million are considered super-obese which is weighing a hundred pounds more than they should.
Another similar investigation of the fast food industry was done by Morgan Spurlock in his documentary, Super Size Me. Spurlock wanted to see the health risks associated with eating nothing but McDonald’s and during one month in 2003, he ate nothing but what was on the Golden Arch’s menu.
Throughout his 30 day trial, Spurlock noticed considerable changes in his emotional, psychological and physical state. By the end, Spurlock 24 plus pounds, a cholesterol level of 230 and a 13% body mass increase. Besides the physical, Spurlock went through phases of depression, liver damage and a loss of sexual appetite.
“Now, I know what you're saying,” says Spurlock. “You're saying nobody's supposed to eat this food three times a day. No wonder all this stuff happened to you. But the scary part is: there are people who eat this food regularly. Some people even eat it every day.”
After the documentary was released, McDonald’s immediately did away with the option of having your meal “Super Size” and has generated for healthier options.
While fast food restaurants are making strides to offer fat free options such as salads and fruit, Mark Pereira, Ph.D. author and professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota thinks otherwise.
“It’s extremely difficult to eat in a healthy way at a fast-food restaurant. Despite some of their recent healthful offerings, the menus still tend to include foods high in fat, sugar and calories and low in fiber and nutrients.”
Instead of using fast food restaurants as a fall back, Pereira says, people need to reevaluate their eating habits and cut back.
“I only eat fast food up on Court Street once a month,” says Clarissa Kumor, a sophomore studying Special Education at Ohio University. “Maybe it’s because I’m still in the dorms and dining halls have healthier options, but everything just seems kind of unappetizing and high in fat.”
Darek Wilson, a junior studying Interior Architecture agrees. “A lot of the United States has an overwhelming amount of obese people. Having all these fast-food chains doesn’t make sense and it’s only perpetuating the problem.”
A problem it may be, but until consumers start to realize they are feeding in (no pun intended) to the problem, I guess America and the world will keep “having it their way.”
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Until next time fellow foodies, try an apple and milk at Subway instead of that liquid death we call pop and chips!