The success of mass-produced fast food results largely from changing lifestyles. The pace of life nowdays leaves little time for leisurely eating. People eat on the run and avoid having meals arround the dinner table. It is a much easier to grab a quick snack and a can of soft drink at lunchtime or to spend an evening in front of the TV set with a bag of potatoe chips and a bottle of bear. Among the many junk foods offered by fast-food outlets, which are so favoured by the young, are hamburgers, fried chicken and cookies. All this spells the end to the culinary traditions of many nations.
To meet the demand for fast food, a whole new way of processing had to be devised, introducing new techniques for preservation, canning, refrigeration and plastic wrapping. Chemical ingredients that extend the shelf life of a product and keep it stable are added. Other artificial additives provide extra flavour to improve the taste and colouring so as to make a product more attractive and more competitive on the market. Heavy advertising and smart marketing boost sales. However, sophisticated processing and storage technique have deprived the food of all its natural goodness and vitamin value.
Those who are hooked on junk food may yet pay a greater price for their culinary obsession. Fast-food diets are rich in fats, cholesterol, sugar and salts, and are responsible for a number of diet-related diseases such as tooth decay and high blod pressure which can lead to strokes. Deep frying may induce bowel cancer. Obesity, in turn, promote heart disease and diabetes. Extenders and ther additives, like saccharine, are widely known be carcinogenic. As public awareness of teh problem grows, foods labelled as natural and organic, though more expansive, are gaining new followers.