Fast food: unfriendly and unhealthy

Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Jun;31(6):887-90. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803616. Epub 2007 Apr 24.


Although nutrition experts might be able to navigate the menus of fast-food restaurant chains, and based on the nutritional information, compose apparently 'healthy' meals, there are still many reasons why frequent fast-food consumption at most chains is unhealthy and contributes to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Fast food generally has a high-energy density, which, together with large portion sizes, induces over consumption of calories. In addition, we have found it to be a myth that the typical fast-food meal is the same worldwide. Chemical analyses of 74 samples of fast-food menus consisting of French fries and fried chicken (nuggets/hot wings) bought in McDonalds and KFC outlets in 35 countries in 2005-2006 showed that the total fat content of the same menu varies from 41 to 65 g at McDonalds and from 42 to 74 g at KFC. In addition, fast food from major chains in most countries still contains unacceptably high levels of industrially produced trans-fatty acids (IP-TFA). IP-TFA have powerful biological effects and may contribute to increased weight gain, abdominal obesity, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. The food quality and portion size need to be improved before it is safe to eat frequently at most fast-food chains.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Food Analysis
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Trans Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Weight Gain / physiology


  • Trans Fatty Acids