Risks of Fast Food Diet

Jr fast foodBy Joaquin Lomeli Jr.

College students rely on fast food especially when they are busy with school and work. The convenience is great but the risks are not.

“College students eat a lot of fast food,” said Denise Signorelli, nutrition professor at the College of Southern Nevada. “It’s something they enjoy doing with their peers since it’s accessible and affordable.”

“I find myself going to fast food restaurants at least once or twice a week because it’s convenient,” said Vincent Pratt, CSN student. “My daily workout routines have reduced since school started because I’ve been tired lately trying to prioritize work and school’s high demands.” With his busy schedule, he doesn’t have much time to eat; fast food is a quick fix.

“I’m always in a rush to eat when I’m in school and have no time to make home-cooked meals,” said Mary Bolanos, CSN student. “I eat fast food three times a week because it’s something quick to fill me up and gets me through the rest of the day. I gained about five pounds since school started because all I eat is unhealthy foods.”

Although fast food is convenient for students, there are many health effects from eating it, both short and long term.

Signorelli stated that many students in their early 20s have developed Type 1 diabetes, known as insulin-dependent diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, a condition with increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Excessive weight around the midsection is associated with higher risks of diseases and can be directly correlated to a diet of high saturated fats, Signorelli said.

A study from the American College Health Association, dated 2008, stated that approximately 65 percent of Americans are overweight and nearly 35 percent of college students fall in that category.

According to a Journal of Food Distribution Research, college students spend approximately $58 a week on food. Students spend approximately 40 percent of their money on fast food and restaurants.

Instead of eating fast food, Signorelli suggests other healthful alternatives including: carry a bottle of water for hydration; eat whole foods for snacks throughout the day like carrots, dried fruit, nuts and seeds instead of chips; and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole-wheat bread.

“If you don’t plan to go to campus prepared to eat healthy, you will fail at eating healthy,” Signorelli said.

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