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Fast Food, Heart Health and Impatience All Around

April 28, 2010

A new study that will be detailed in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science talks about the connection between fast food and a life of impatience. It seems a bit like the chicken and the egg, or in this case, the chicken nuggets or the Egg McMuffin.

Fast food and heart healthThe original idea behind fast food was to increase efficiency, allowing people to quickly finish a meal so they can move on with the rest of their day. Study researcher Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management says we’ve taken it a step further – to instant gratification.

Think about what other things offer instant gratification, and then evaluate if they’re really good for you. We try to teach our kids to eat their vegetables before they can have dessert, or do their homework before they can play, but we’re reducing essential components of life – like eating and exercise – to mere afterthoughts.

"Given the role that financial impatience played in the current economic crisis, we need to move beyond counting calories when we examine the consequences of fast food as it is also influencing our everyday psychology and behavior in a wider set of domains than has been previously thought," Zhong said.

If you look at studies about the health of people in countries around the world, you’ll see a decline with the arrival of fast food and modern living – like video games and computer based sedentary jobs. Instead, the incidence of obesity, stress, heart disease and cancer increases.

The environment is also suffering because of a mindset that looks only at what is wanted now, not at the consequences for the future, or sustainability.

So we really need to reset the way we think, eat and move through the world, for our own good!

What’s the answer to the fast food problem? Slow food!

More on that next time.