Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
November 19, 2003

Why Fast Food Makes Us Fat

..."The hidden reason fast food makes us fat: It has a very high energy density--about 65 percent higher than a typical diet and twice as high as recommended healthy diets--which makes us eat more than we otherwise would. Energy density refers to the amount of calories an item of food contains in relation to its weight. Foods with a high energy density confuse the brain's control systems for appetite, which are based solely on portion size."...

Or for that matter any high density foods...

Read "Stale Food vs Fresh Food - a banned book!" before embarking on an orgy of fast foods.

Chris Gupta

If you eat at McDonald's or KFC or Burger King regularly, you are more likely to gain weight and become obese. Why? British researchers from the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Center and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have put forth what they call a "probable" explanation: Fast food not only contains many more calories than traditional food, but also is more likely to undermine normal appetite control systems, reports The London Times.

The hidden reason fast food makes us fat: It has a very high energy density--about 65 percent higher than a typical diet and twice as high as recommended healthy diets--which makes us eat more than we otherwise would. Energy density refers to the amount of calories an item of food contains in relation to its weight. Foods with a high energy density confuse the brain's control systems for appetite, which are based solely on portion size.

Eat a Big Mac and fries and you'll consume almost twice as many calories as you would if you ate the same weight of pasta and salad. "Fast food restaurants are feeding the obesity epidemic by tricking people into eating many more calories than they mean to," writes Times science correspondent Mark Henderson.

Study leaders Andrew Prentice and Susan Jebb, who analyzed the energy density of McDonald's, KFC, and Burger King menu items using nutritional data from the fast food restaurants' Web sites, found that when we eat high energy density foods, we don't reduce the portion size so we get a lot more calories than we need. "We all possess a weak innate ability to recognize foods with a high energy density," explained Prentice. "We tend to assess food intake by the size of the portion, yet a fast food meal contains many more calories than a similar-sized portion of a healthy meal." We're being fooled into eating too much food.

Prentice blames fast food for "accidental obesity." That is, people get fat eating regular portion sizes, but since the food has a high energy density, they gain weight. In evolutionary terms, the human appetite was designed for low energy density foods. In the parts of the world where these foods are still the dietary staples, obesity is virtually non-existent. "Our bodies were never designed to cope with the very energy-dense foods consumed in the West, and this is contributing to a major rise in obesity," Prentice said.

Do you know who is most at risk from that order of super-sized fries? Kids. They haven't yet learned the dietary restraint needed to remain slim. Co-author Susan Jebb insists, "Fast food companies could play a major part in halting the rise in obesity if they adopted a more positive attitude to healthy eating such as providing meals of lower energy density."

The study findings were published in Obesity Reviews.


posted by Chris Gupta on Wednesday November 19 2003
updated on Saturday September 26 2009

URL of this article:



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Readers' Comments

i want food brochure send it to me throught this address below
c/o ayo jolayemi ark of salvation church 14414 u.i post office, ibadan oyo state nigeria

Posted by: olushola idowu on December 18, 2003 04:41 PM


please send me a sample of physical fat food through this address below
c/o lawal hussein 663 agege lagos state nigeria.

Posted by: olushola idowu on December 18, 2003 04:45 PM


i am doing a science fair project on fat would you be able to send me any information?

Thanx for your time,
kim Chuba

Shoal lake school

Posted by: on January 7, 2004 07:22 PM


Kim, see:

Posted by: Chris Gupta on January 7, 2004 10:21 PM


Have you heard of monavie?

Posted by: Edak on May 5, 2004 11:26 AM


Go watch supersize me and then try to eat at McDonalds afterwords.

Posted by: Patrick Winden on December 1, 2004 06:26 PM


can you send me some information about fast food? i am doing a report on "why fast food has negative effects on our bodies", for my Eng 101 class and i was wondering if u possibly could do that for me.

Posted by: Taryn on December 20, 2004 04:55 PM


please tell me how can i became fat and what kind of food do i need to became fat and what should i eat and what kind of fruit can i eat??????????!!!

Posted by: Loyan on December 22, 2004 01:11 PM



Posted by: tokunbo on February 26, 2005 06:57 AM


Tokumbo, Go to:

and check under tools for ingredients in your food.

Posted by: on February 27, 2005 02:51 AM


can someone please tell me how much fast food americans consume per year, and how much children do.

Posted by: kiki on March 20, 2005 05:29 PM


Have you heard of monavie?

Posted by: Chris Dickson on April 8, 2005 05:47 PM


pls send me informations on consumption patterns of fastfoods in nigeria. its my project topic.thanks

Posted by: Fortune on April 18, 2005 06:36 PM


I am a volumptious women with big boobs
Boys enjoy my volumptiousity

Posted by: on May 9, 2005 09:01 PM


i want to know more about the effect of fast food on nigerians health

Posted by: SUNBO OLATUNJI on May 16, 2005 10:57 PM


Have you heard of monavie?

Posted by: Andreea Sweet on June 28, 2005 04:26 PM


I am a slim girl that want to add up some weight. So what will i do to be fat. Am from Nigeria so what nigeria food will i be eating to grow fat.

Posted by: Lizzy uche on July 15, 2005 09:56 AM


great job! keep it up!

Posted by: please send me info. on the calorie content of common raw foods in south west nigeria, measured with on September 10, 2005 11:56 PM


I am doing my master degree thesis on the topic:EFFECTS OF FASTFOODS ON CONSUMERS pls i need relevant materials that would assist me.
Thanks for your co-operation.

Posted by: Fortune on November 2, 2006 03:13 AM


Have you heard of monavie?

Posted by: basy on March 14, 2007 05:51 AM


Have you heard of monavie?

Posted by: DEMIEN on August 12, 2007 10:27 PM


Surely by now you KNOW FAT does NOT make you fat. Our bodies NEED natural FAT in order to metabolize our foods and giveus the proper energy. The FAT MAKES YOU FAT Mentality is THE REASON WHY since the 60's when this Mentality came inot existance, there has been a serious INCREASE in Obesity, HEart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes Etc. and numerous other metabolic issues. AS an insulinf dependent Diabetic, who has been kept on a LOW/NO fat higher carb diet, I have gained 160 lbs in the past 6 years and have developed medical issues too numerous to list here. After a lot of Researching and finding studies done as far back as 1875 that PROVE a diet consisting of about 60 of calories from fat( NOT HYUFORGENIZED or TRANSFATS ) not only contributed to weight loss and healthy cardiovascular systems but also metabolically balanced the body. When I implemented a diet consisting of 80-90 caloried from natural fats. such as coconut milk, coconut oil. Olive oil. grass fed(free range) meats, my A1c dropped to 6.1 after 2 months and I can just about go without insulin injections, or just 1/ day. I also HAD to reduce my insulin use by about 90. My LDL cholesterol went down to 65 and my HDL came up 2 points. My kidney function improved and so did my Ejection Fraction of my heart improve( I had a severe heart atack 6 yrs ago.). SO 5 months after implementing this type diet regimen, the labs are still great. Also I somsume about 3500-400 caloroies a day and have had a 35lb weight loss.

Posted by: Jim on August 10, 2008 01:52 PM


"Foods with a high energy density confuse the brain's control systems for appetite, which are based solely on portion size." Please can you provide some sort of justification for this statement? Regulation of our appetite is controlled by the ventromedial hypothalamus and is responsive to a wide range of stimuli but awareness of portion size is not a significant one. Our energy needs and hunger are affected primarily by the availablity of fuel at a cellular level, so serum glucose/lipids and hormone levels. Also, fat has the highest calorific density of all the macronutrients, yet is also widely known to be the most satiating, which directly contradicts the hypothesis in this article.

Posted by: Andy Bellenie on November 3, 2008 11:16 AM


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