Fast Food Diet is Tasty but Troubling

50By Areania Hewing

Fast food from McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell are often part of students’ daily diets. The food is quick, inexpensive and convenient. Although it is tasty, it can negatively affect academic performance.

New York University researchers found that, on average, college students eat fast food one-to-three times per week.

“Despite the significant implications of healthy eating on overall long-term health, many college students engage in poor dietary habits, such as high intake of fast foods and other foods high in fat, low intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy and erratic eating behaviors such as meal skipping,” according to NYU’s report.

That type of diet can cause many health problems.

Young adults who eat frequently at fast-food restaurants gain more weight and have a greater increase in insulin resistance in early middle age, according to a large multi-center study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

51College of Southern Nevada’s Program Director of Food and Beverage Eileen Metcalfe says she visits In-N-Out Burger a couple times a year, but she is very aware of the affects that fast food has on students.

“I believe academic performance is indirectly impacted,” Metcalfe says. “A steady diet of fast food will result in a vitamin and mineral deficiency due to a lack of fruits and vegetables. This will result in constant fatigue, which will prevent excellent academic performance.”

CSN student Lucynthia Gravely says she eats fast food but knows she shouldn’t. “It’s good in the beginning but I eventually feel extremely guilty after.” Although she eats it, she knows it’s not good for her health.

Jessica Meader, a student at CSN, says she eats fast food but only because she doesn’t want to skip breakfast. “Yes, I do. It’s hard to make breakfast and I’d rather eat fast food than not eat at all.” She only eats fast food on her school days trying to balance her diet with other nutrition on the other days.

CSN student Brittany Bedolla says that she eats fast food often and that she doesn’t think it affects her studies. “I like to believe that I do well in school.”

A balanced diet can help students increase energy levels, promote functioning immune systems, improve their abilities to cope with stress, and increase concentration and performance in school, according to NYU’s report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function, especially memory, reduced absenteeism and improved mood.

Metcalfe has some suggestions, “Menu planning and pre-preparation are the keys to avoiding fast food. College students are busy, so if they wait until they are hungry to eat they will find themselves without times to prepare a meal.”

%d bloggers like this: