Healthy Fast Food – A Changing Attitude

Healthy Fast Food – A Changing Attitude

Could America finally be turning tides when it comes to its ‘Fast Food Nation’ status? According to Michael Specter’s article in the New Yorker (11/2/15), there just may be a changing attitude by huge food corporations, such as McDonalds, in response to current customer demand. However, is it too little too late? This demand consists of more food transparency, better nutritious choices, less unhealthy fast food and more healthy choices at the same speed.

It is a type of change that could be indicative of a future that looks back with amazement at the, according to Specter, “more than two hundred million people [that] eat at least one meal at one of the hundred and sixty-thousand fast-food restaurants in the United States.” per month. A future that may subscribe to fresh local food eateries leaving fat, salt and sugar laden options off the menu for good.

It’s Addicting and They Know It

Finally, more and more consumers are realizing that themselves and their wallets, are being duped. It turns out that the high calorie fat, sugar and salt content of many fast foods could be addicting.

A study by researchers at Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of California San Francisco, published in Current Drug Abuse Reviews (9/11), reported that,

“…fast food advertisements, restaurants and menus all provide environmental cues that may trigger addictive overeating. While the concept of fast food addiction remains to be proven, these findings support the role of fast food as a potentially addictive substance that is most likely to create dependence in vulnerable populations.”

To pull an avid fast food eater out of this potentially addicting cycle could be highly difficult given that the incredibly low price of fast food is also addicting. However, more consumers are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that by breaking their fast food dependence, a better quality of health awaits them.

The Response – Fast Fine Dining

More healthy fast food chains are springing up, shunning the term ‘fast food’ and replacing it with coined phrases such as “fast fine dining”. These restaurants go by the names of Chipolte, Dig Inn, Sweetgreen and Lyfe Kitchen, a veritable group of ‘healthy food scouts’ forging the way for an improved America.

So much so that, Specter writes,

“…this year, for the first time since 1970, McDonald’s will close more locations in the U.S. than it opens.”

This just may be the result of a new consumer eating consciousness, right up there with the growing, billion dollar, alternative remedy industry.

Sign of the Times

It is an interesting sign when high ranking employees of a global conglomerate like McDonalds break rank, do an about face and start their own healthy fast food chain. This is the case with the above mentioned healthy fast food chain called Lyfe.

Michael Donahue, former CCO of McDonalds and Mike Roberts (who has since left the company) former McDonalds COO, started Lyfe in response to the growing trend of higher consciousness eaters that couldn’t find clean, wholesome fast food anywhere.

It was reports by groups like the American Medical Association and private research by McDonalds itself that prompted companies like Lyfe, Chipolte and others to step up and cater to this major gustatory transformation.

Can it be Done?

The challenges for chains of  “healthy McDonalds” to take over the fast food industry are many. For one, top companies like McDonalds, Wendys, Taco Bell and others buy millions of pounds of beef at a time (McDonalds purchases 7 million pounds per year alone). Add in the 2 billion eggs per year McDonalds buys combined with other chains and the demands of a local, fresh choice company cannot keep up with these types of enormous orders. As a result, the agricultural complex has no use for small time healthy fast food businesses.

Therefore, the saving grace could be you. As more people boycott unhealthy eating (much of it actually subsidized by your government) a shift will be inevitable. Fortunately, it is already happening and possibly, in a matter of time, it will be the sleeping giant of the masses that wake up and demand not to be poisoned anymore.

Healthy fast food. Can it be the light at the end of the tunnel for a healthier nation?