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Peter Cram reported in JAMA that forty per cent of hospitals have fast food in the lobby. While you might consider this an outrage, the hospital probably considers it business as usual. Your hospital banned cigarette smoking long ago, yet still sends the message that fast food is healthy for you. In reality, fast food causes chronic disease, and a future source of new revenue for the hospital. For the hospital accounting department, this may not be a bad thing. Financial consideration, rather than the health of the community, is the over-riding factor. Untrained in medical nutrition, hospital accountants may not understand that fast food causes obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistant diabetes, hypertension and accelerated cardiovascular disease.
Fast Food Causes Chronic Disease
Michael Pollen, a journalist and author of "In Defense of Food", and "Food Rules" says in a New York Times Editorial that fast food causes chronic disease, and "there's lots of money to be made selling fast food, and then treating the diseases that fast food causes. One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry".
Fast Food, Obesity and Chronic Disease
- What is the Evidence ?
You might ask, what is the evidence that fast food causes obesity and chronic disease? For starters. a 2004 study published in Lancet found that eating at a Fast Food restaurant causes weight gain and insulin resistance. The authors say,"fast foods contain large amounts of partially hydrogenated oils, and this class of fatty acids can cause insulin resistance and increase risk of type 2 diabetes. Fast food also contains large amounts of highly refined starchy food and added sugar, carbohydrates that have been characterized as high in glycemic index. Consumption of a high glycemic index or high glycaemic load diet has been linked to risk for diabetes, independent of bodyweight changes..."
Health Risks of Sugar Consumption - HFCS
Ignoring for the moment the hydrogenated vegetable oils in fast food which are an enormous health risk, let's focus on the sweeteners, the high fructose corn syrup used in fast food and soft drinks. The evidence linking massive amounts of sugar consumption to chronic disease is overwhelming.