What’s Fast Food all About? Here Are All Its Secrets
Do you think you know fast food restaurants? Think again. Here are all its secrets revealed.
Let’s say it out loud, fast food is convenient, cheap, and quite tasty. We eat in fast food chains more than ever before, and there are more options available than ever. Here’s what you didn’t know about fast food.
What Is Considered As Fast Food?
Fast food is a term used for mass produced food sold at a commercial retail scale with speed, efficiency and low price in mind.
That means anything that makes food more expensive or slower to cook is not considered — that includes basically any fresh, unprocessed ingredient.
Burgers, burritos, pizza, fried chicken, Chinese takeout, they’re all fast food. And it’s not that a burger or a slice of pizza is bad, but they’re not made with fresh ingredients; in other words, this food is not cooked with love.
Some of the fastest foods are ready meals, precooked and packaged, which includes frozen meals, so you can quickly eat fast food without leaving your home. Of course, today you can order anything on the phone and have an entire three-course meal delivered to your doorstep, and that’s fast food too.
Why is fast food quick? Fast food is quick because it relies on lots of processed food. The burger patties are made in a factory, and the chicken is prepared and breaded in a production line in the same way we make cars. Fast food is cheap food.
What is the most popular fast food item? McDonald's French fries, Big Mac and Happy Meals are amongst the most popular fast foods in the world, followed closely by KFC's Original Recipe Chicken, Subway's Italian BMT, and Pizza Hut's Pepperoni Pizza. So, what’s your favorite?
The History of Fast Food
With the first restaurants, and we’re talking ancient history, came the first fast foods in the form of pre-made items to satisfy a large crowd. Military rations are fast food too, and they go back thousands of years.
The term fast food, though, first appeared in the dictionary in 1951, but the idea behind cheap and easy food goes back to the first decades of the 20th-century.
With industrialization and automation came a wide variety of innovations, including making cars in a production line. It was just a matter of time until the same principles were applied to burgers. The first McDonald’s was founded in the 1940s, and many others followed suit diversifying food options to other cuisines.
Drive through options helped make fast food even more efficient, now everything, from sourcing the food to preparing and serving it was automatized like a well-oiled machine. The rest is history.
The problem with fast food is that fast and cheap are never synonymous with quality. Processed meats, colorants, additives, preservatives, lots of cooking oil, starches, poor-quality proteins and trans-fat milkshakes are without a doubt efficient. Still, now we know they’re behind all modern disorders and chronic diseases.
Is there such a thing as healthy fast food? Read on and see why fast food is worse for you than you thought. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though!
What Is The Healthiest Fast Food?
To find healthy fast food, you must think outside the box. You can cook ‘fast’ and easy food at home with ease. Think of a tossed salad or a chicken noodle soup. That’s fast food right there, and it’s healthy. Sadly, don’t expect to find lots of healthy fast food in any chain.
Having said that, we guess the tuna sub at Subway, the Steak burrito at Chipotle, and the Veggie Burger at Burger King are not all that bad. Nothing like authentic food, but at least these are made with better ingredients.
Here’s what happens. By the time we all started to see a direct relationship between fast food consumption and obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, it was too late.
Fast food restaurants tried to be more mindful with their extensive use of processed foods and even started offering salads. This wasn’t that bad at all until research showed a salad at a burger chain had more calories than the cheeseburger.
Keep in mind fast food is not as bad if you enjoy it once or twice a month. What makes us sick is not what we eat, but how much we eat of it. A quarter pounder is a fantastic meal once in a while, but don’t expect to feel fantastic if you eat at the Big M every day. It’s all about finding balance in your life, and a cheat meal now and then is not only that bad, it’s something to look forward too.
The Future Of Fast Food
Meet the slow food movement. People behind food made artisanally with time-worn, labor-intensive processes.
Some people have woken up and are getting tired of unhealthy fast food. There’s a time in life where you start caring about what you put into your body, and that’s all about the quality of ingredients. Slow food is not necessarily more expensive than fast food, but more often than not you have to make it yourself.
Home cooking is experiencing a revival, and that’s exciting, because that means at least we know what goes into our food. People don’t add preservatives, colorings and other chemicals to their home-cooked meals, we all cook food with the best ingredients available to us.
Why is fast food bad? Because it’s made with the cheapest ingredients possible. The alternative is sourcing the finest ingredients and that could be even good for the environment. Sustainably farmed foods, organic produce, fair trade ingredients and eating locally grown fruits and veggies. That’s the future right there.
Interestingly, this bright future where fast food is nothing, but an afterthought is very similar to what we had before the arrival of fast food chains.
You are what you eat, so stay clear from fast food and eat home-cooked meals instead or visit restaurants that source quality ingredients. Who minds waiting a few more minutes for a better meal? We know we don’t.
Here are some recipes you can make that are better than fast food:
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