29 Jun 2019




Good Morning and assalamualaikum to all OUM learners. My Name is Rabiatul, I am the first year student of OUM and today I would like to present a speech about the advantages and disadvantages of fast food.

But before I start please allow me to define what is fast food is. According to Wikipedia, fast food is the term given to food that is prepared and served very quickly, first popularized in the 1950s in the United States. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away. Fast food restaurants are traditionally separated by their ability to serve food via a drive-through. The term "fast food" was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951.

Over the last one decade, fast food has infiltrated every nook and cranny of Malaysian society. An industry that began with the opening of a few fast food outlets has spread to every corner of the nation, selling a broad range of foods wherever paying customers may be found. Fast food is now served at restaurants and drive-troughs, at stadiums, airports, zoos, high schools, elementary schools, and universities, on cruise ships, trains, and airplanes, at Tesco, Carrefour, gas stations, and even at hospital cafeterias. In 1990, Malaysian spent about $6 million on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 million. Malaysians now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music - combined.

Fast food is not new in Malaysia. There are more than 350 McDonald's restaurants in the Malaysia itself, and over 8000 KFCs in 80 countries, in fact the first KFC outlet open in Malaysia as early in 1973 on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Wikipedia, 2015), only goes to reflect the popularity of fast food all over the world. Food that is prepared and served quickly is termed as 'fast food'. Such type of food suits perfectly into the fast paced life of a working individual. There is nothing more than ready-made food that a hard-working professional living in the city away from family could ask for. However, those who are against fast food highlight the adverse effect that it has on our health. Despite all the debate about the advantages and disadvantages that fast food has, the industry is flourishing. Is fast food good or bad? Please allow me to elaborate.

Advantages of Fast Food.
The most evident advantage of fast food is that it saves time. In today's fast-paced life, there is nothing better than getting a ready meal. No matter how much the chefs praise the benefits of fresh food, at the end of a hard-working day, when one returns home all tired and hungry, a pizza or a burger can be godsend. Besides the time an individual has to spend in the kitchen, cooking a meal also requires one to make a trip to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for the dish. Then there is the added effort and time consumed in washing and peeling the vegetables. All this makes eating fast food score more preferably over cooking a meal for a busy individual.

Besides time, cost saving is probably the most important incentive for people to eat fast food. Fast food is usually much cheaper than homemade meals and dine-in restaurants. Because of that, it is the most common meal choice of lower class folks in our societies.
Having said that, fast food is eaten by almost everyone. Some of the most popular athletes in the world eat fast food. Even our Minister eats fast food here and there. It is definitely not limited to poor people, despite the way the media portrays it.

Fast food does raise health concerns. However, if careful, you can find some options on the menu of a fast food restaurant that could be healthier. Salads are a smart choice. Go for bread products that are made from wheat bread. Opt for lean meat. If you could choose between the fried and boiled options, order the boiled preparation. Avoid ordering carbonic drinks when you are thirsty. Go for fruit juices, low-fat milk, diet soda. Is there anything better than plain water to quench your thirst? These days, nutrition information of the food served (and ingredients used) is displayed in the menu card. You could always resort to the 'make to order' option that certain fast food outlets offer, where you could restrict the use of ingredients that are not healthy. As dessert does not play an important role in the fast food meal menu, you can keep yourself away from delicious and tempting sugary dishes.

Although fast food has a reputation for being high in calories and fat, that is slowly changing with the rise of the health-conscious population, which is increasing the demand for healthy food options.

Just about every fast food restaurant offers some kind of healthy alternatives today. Whether it’s grilled chicken sandwiches, wraps, or salads, there is usually something for everyone.

One thing to keep in mind is that healthier options generally tend to be a little more expensive. But because it is fast food, you are still going to save money over homemade foods.

Disadvantages of Fast Food.
The greatest disadvantage of fast food is the adverse effect that it has on one's health. It is a fact that fast food is more unhealthy than home-cooked meals, as they contain higher amounts of unwanted nutrients like salt, fat and various types of additives (artificial chemicals). It may contain harmful bacteria too. Frying destroys most of the essential nutrients from the food. Very small amounts of vegetables and fruits are normally present in fast food. Moreover, 'serving larger portions' when most people don't need extra portions has led to several health problems. We require a small amount of salt to maintain the health of the cells and tissues. Fast food being rich in salt, adversely affects the heart health and the overall health of an individual. When customers consumed too much fast food they might become obese and develop diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart related symptoms due to high cholesterol from excessive fat. Obesity is on the rise, and a direct link is being cited between fast food and obesity in children. With obesity come other problems like high blood pressure and diseases of the joints. Beside that, because of the standardized menu and consistent quality, only minimal time need to be spent obtaining product information then consumer did not know what ingredients contain inside fast food.

Even though, fast food is the fastest way to feed our hunger, it is not healthy at all. It is full of saturated and unsaturated fat. Moreover, it is a major source of calories and most of these calories are from fat. Unsaturated fats are good fat. Which means someone can burn this fat overtime through exercise. On the other side, saturated fats are bad fat which cannot be burned and stay in our body. French fries, deep fried chicken and other deep fried foods are the major source of Trans fats. Furthermore, it is one of the reasons behind people getting over weight these days. Fast food is full of sodium. If we look at the nutrients facts on one of our favorite fast food, we will see the highest percentage of sodium in it. Moreover, sugar is one of the major ingredients of fast food as we can see in desserts like apple pie and apple with caramel at MacDonald's.

A further effect is on the economy for us or country. Although fast food is not very expensive, it is more expensive than cooking properly for you. The greater the number of people at a meal in a fast food restaurant, the larger is the bill. Eating at fast food outlets is economical only for a single person. Going out to a fast food eating joint with family once in a while won't matter much. However, frequent visits to such restaurants with one's family can become quite an expensive affair, besides being unhealthy. Besides that, many of the fast food companies are franchisees of foreign corporations, so profits leave the country.

Another effect of fast food is the loss of the family tradition of eating together. Eating fast food encourages people to eat on the go. Diners are encouraged to eat quickly and then leave the premises or eat while doing something else.

Fast food joints are being seen as a factor that is making a number of families spend less and less time together. Family meal time is something that is considered as an opportunity for all the members to come together and share their experiences. However, the fast food centers are quickly eating into this quality time. This is especially true about youngsters for whom a fast food center is a good place to hang out with friends and peers where the day's experiences are shared with other members of the family. Additionally, many children from present time prefer eating in fast food branches with friends of their age rather than with their parents, this could also decrease the amount of time where the whole family actually gathers. Besides that, people who eat quickly tend to consume calories mindlessly. This can easily lead to overeating.

Fast food is certainly an occasional fun treat, and there are healthy menu choices. Sadly, too many people visit too often, with unwholesome results and bad habits setting the stage for health disasters for our young people. Everyone should think twice before deciding to eat fast food. The health risks aren't worth your life, and animals that live in slaughter houses aren't treated properly or hygienically before their death, which can cause many food-borne illnesses to inhabit food. Although it is easy to buy and cheap, risking a life for something that isn't good for any person in the first place could cost thousands of dollars in hospital bills. It is important to eat healthy and make good choices when deciding what to put in your body. Don't be lazy and pick up fast food on your way home from work. Make the right choice and eat some vegetables.

In conclusion, fast food although it is convenient and a tasty addition to a diet, can have serious health, increase economy and social effects. People should learn to choose fast food carefully and remember the pleasure of eating good food in good company. It is not necessary to boycott all fast food restaurants, but it's important to limit how often we eat at them.

Fast food is an invention of the modern times. Ready-made food being served fast and right in front of us is like a blessing after a hard day's work. However, like everything, it has its own pros and cons. Citing a few points about the advantages of fast food does not mean that I am denying its drawbacks. It is a fact that high amounts of fats and salt in fast food are raising concerns about their adverse effect on health. However, by making some smart choices while placing the order and also resorting to an active lifestyle, we can definitely minimize the drawbacks of fast food.

KFC From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2015, October 8). Retrieved October 8, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KFC

McDonald's From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2015, October 8). Retrieved October 8, 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald's

Penfold, S. (2012). Fast Food. Oxford Handbooks Online.

Warsi, K., & Nisa, S. (n.d.). Food Retailing: Fast Food Industry. SSRN Electronic
Journal SSRN Journal.

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