America’s love for fast food products is already a fact. As true as the one that you can never escape taxes or death. However, recent studies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the famous CDC) have shown that there is a shift in demographics when it comes to fast food consumers.

Age and Sex Statistics

The study, released by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that currently, one-third of Americans are avid consumers of fast food. What do we mean by avid: they’ve had fast food in the past 24 hours.

Based on government-led studies conducted between 2013 and 2016, the study shows the following concerning facts:

  • 36.6% of adults have consumed fast food daily.
  • There is a significant decreasing linear trend with age. 20-39: 44.9%, 40-59: 37.7%, 60 and over: 24.1%
  • Men have higher percentages in almost all categories: 36.9% compared to 34.8%
  • Unexpectedly, fast food intake increases with income, as compared to the general belief that low income leads to improper food choices – 32% in low-income categories vs. 42% in higher-income categories.

Racial Fast Food Intake Statistics

Diet education seem to, unfortunately, affect Non-Hispanic Black communities, as they have higher percentages of fast food intake with differences of up to 10% compared to their peers, as follows:

  • Non-Hispanic Black: 42.4%
  • Non-Hispanic White: 37.6%
  • Hispanic: 35.5%
  • Non-Hispanic Asian: 30.6%

The fact that on any given day, 1 in 3 Americans is eating pizza, tacos or burgers, should give us a sense of the impact that fast food companies have on our lives. What used to be a Sunday out family dinner has slowly, but surely, turned into a habit.

The consequences? Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol rates, and Heart Disease. There are more victims of any of the conditions above then we have of shark, snakes, and alligators combined. However, we do not get frightened when we see the picture of a BigMac or the new Dunkin Donuts Donut Fries.

The fact that low-income families have shifted from making poor diet choices should also open our eyes to the fact that there are, indeed, affordable alternatives. As Melanie Boehmer, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City says, upon reading the report,

“If we can offer healthier options that are just as convenient and just as affordable and just as delicious, then it’s a win for everybody”.

This study demonstrated just that. She also adds:

“There is no reason to completely avoid fast food, but it shouldn’t be consumed regularly,” she said. “You may want to ask yourself how often you’re currently eating it and then cut that number in half if it’s more than once a week.”

Fast Food  – Guilty Pleasure, not Habit

Our conclusion and the common sense one, as we believe, is that we should not give up on fast food. We should return it to the glory of what it used to be: the trade-off of time spent in the kitchen with a family night out.

If we could get our heads out of our smart devices and spend time again with the ones we love, then serotonin should not come from our meals, but from those around.

The full study can be found on the CDC’s website, or by clicking here.