Nutritional Issues

Many fast foods are fried (which facilitates quick preparation), high in fat and sodium, and low in fiber, vitamins, and some minerals. The "added value" option, whereby customers can order larger sizes for a minimal additional charge, adds to the total calorie and fat intake. Many of these eateries now offer salads, low-calorie or fat-free dressings, low-fat ice cream, and plain, broiled chicken sandwiches or other foods low in fat and/or calories. Menu options will probably continue to increase in response to health concerns and changing demographics. see also Convenience Foods; Dietary Trends, American; Dietary Trends, International.

Judith C. Rodriguez fast food: food requiring minimal preparation before eating, or food delivered very quickly after ordering in a restaurant

Americanized: having adopted more American habits or characteristics fat: type of food molecule rich in carbon and hydrogen, with high energy content fiber: indigestible plant material that aids digestion by providing bulk vitamin: necessary complex nutrient used to aid enzymes or other metabolic processes in the cell mineral: an inorganic (non-carbon-containing) element, ion, or compound calorie: unit of food energy

Extra-large portions of fast food may seem like a bargain, but such items add excessive empty calories to the diet. A "supersized combo meal" may provide a person's entire daily recommended intake of calories, but will probably include very few essential nutrients. [Photograph by Steve Prezant. Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]

Extra-large portions of fast food may seem like a bargain, but such items add excessive empty calories to the diet. A "supersized combo meal" may provide a person's entire daily recommended intake of calories, but will probably include very few essential nutrients. [Photograph by Steve Prezant. Corbis. Reproduced by permission.]

Bibliography

Price, Charlene (1996). "The U.S. Foodservice Industry Looks Abroad." Food Review 19(2):13—17.

Schlosser, Eric (2001). Fast Food Nation: The Darker Side of the All-American Meal. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

eating disorder: behavioral disorder involving excess consumption, avoidance of consumption, self-induced vomiting, or other food-related aberrant behavior proscription: prohibitions, rules against ketones: chemicals produced by fat breakdown; molecule containing a double-bonded oxygen linked to two carbons carbohydrate: food molecule made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, including sugars and starches

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