Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Fast Food Bad For You?



Short answer

Yes, fast food is bad for you. Due to the staggering combination of detrimental ingredients in fast food, it is safe to assume that this toxic food is risky to consume even in the smallest quantities.



Long answer

Lacking time, many people find themselves eating fast food a few times a week. Americans especially, have been under the spell of fast food for far too long. Not only is fast food much more expensive than buying and cooking your own meals, it is extremely unhealthy.

Fast food is full loaded with chemical preservatives and sugars.  The many contents of numerous fast food establishments have been disclosed to the public. Among these hazardous chemicals are substances such as aspartame, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), bromated vegetable oil (BVO), high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), Olestra, sodium nitrate/nitrite and sodium chloride.  

Together, these food additives deliver a toxic blow to the human body. These fast food ingredients thought to be responsible for illnesses ranging from high blood pressure and ADHD to cancer and cell mutations.   

One of the biggest unknown and underreported risks of fast food is the dangerous type of fat that it contains. People often blame the dangers of fast food on high levels of “saturated” fats, as if “saturated”. However, fast foods actually contain much higher percentages of polyunsaturated fats than saturated ones.

In chemistry, a fat is saturated when it contains a full complement of hydrogen atoms that connect to the string of carbon atoms that form the waxy base substance of the fat. When a fat is unsaturated, it means that there are carbon atoms that are not connected to hydrogen atoms. When a fat is polyunsaturated, it means that there are multiple hydrogen atoms unconnected to carbon atoms.

The carbon atoms of fat serve to protect the hydrogen atoms from combining with oxygen in a process called ‘oxidation.’ When oxidation occurs in the human body, the health is damaged by a variety of mechanisms. This is precisely why health experts everywhere recommend a high dietary intake of antioxidants, to protect against excess oxidation.

In moderation, the polyunsaturated fats are fine for health. They are found naturally in nuts, meats, and, to a lesser extent, in vegetables. At the present time, these fats are most commonly found in vegetable cooking oils, like corn oil, cottonseed oil, and even margarine. In excess, these oils can be harmful to health.

You may notice that when you enter a fast food restaurant, there is always a distinct and mildly unpleasant odor. Since the 1980s, most fast food chains have switched from frying their foods in lard or coconut oil to using vegetable oils.  Since they are made up almost entirely of polyunsaturated fats, these vegetable oils become rancid and chemically unstable at the high temperatures used for frying.

If you look at the nutrition information for fast food French fries, you will see that a regular serving, depending on the size, and the company, can have over 20 grams of polyunsaturated fats. Since these fats are coming from unnatural, chemical-laden sources such as cooking oils, they are very likely going to oxidize in the high-temperature environment of your stomach after being eaten. Unfortunately, antioxidant consumption can only protect against a certain level of oxidation, and fast food burdens the individual with far too much random oxidation. This oxidation process is extremely dangerous. As it is happening, it gives off huge quantities of free radicals, things that can damage tissues at all levels.

Many health-conscious people are now aware that fast food has unusually high levels of sodium, which can put you at risk for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.  Unfortunately, high salt levels are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fast food.  Try checking out the website of your favorite fast food joint to see their “nutritional information”.  You will be shocked at the calories in small items, such as dipping sauces, in addition to main courses. If the site does not have the nutritional information listed—you can rest assure it is a terrible choice. Do not be fooled by “healthy” menu items. There is always a give and take with processed foods.  You trade in fat for sugar or sugar for more chemicals.  Instead, spend a weekend making bags of ready to make crockpot meals and put them in the freezer. You will be surprised how much you will save in money and health! The best way to avoid fast food, it be during your lunch break or a late family meal, is planning ahead.

Possible short-term side effects

  • allergies
  • fatigue
  • skin rashes
  • hyperactivity
  • headaches

Possible long-term side effects

  • asthma
  • rna disorder
  • thyroid disorder
  • cancer
  • hormone disorder
  • liver damage
  • heart damage
  • kidney damage
  • metabolic alterations
  • diabetes
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • gastrointestinal disorders

Ingredients to be aware of


  • convenience

Healthier alternatives

  • organic short order restaurants/fast food shops
  • meals at organic store cafés (whole foods)
  • home cooked meal with hearty organic ingredients

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-17-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-17-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

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