“Ya wanna side of chemicals with that?” The downsides of fast-food binging have been known for decades now. Fast Food Nation, the seminal book by Eric Schlosser, was written in 2001.

“Schlosser spent nearly three years researching the fast-food industry, from the slaughterhouses and packing plants that turn out the burgers to the minimum-wage workers who cook them to the television commercials that entice children to eat them with the lure of cheap toys and colorful playgrounds. The experience enraged and appalled him.” (Wikipedia)

Physical and psychological well-being

It got worse. In 2004 the negative effects of fast food on the US nation’s health came under the spotlight with Supersize Me: a popular documentary where the maker, Morgan Spurlock, followed a 30-day period where he ate only McDonald’s food. The film documents the drastic effect on Spurlock’s physical and psychological well-being and explores how the fast-food industry encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.

Arguably, it should have been obvious that eating nothing but large portions of burgers and fries for a protracted period would be detrimental to your health without the need to make a documentary! McDonalds was shown in a poor light, but logically, on the health side of things, Spurlock would probably have experienced the same effects if he had prepared the burgers, fries and milkshakes himself with no input from McDonalds whatsoever.

A long-term fast food diet invites obesity

Eating an unbalanced diet, which is high in fat and carbohydrates and low in just about everything else is never going to be a formula for peak fitness, which is why few Olympic athletes and their trainers recommend it. In terms of fertility, a consistent problem with a long-term fast food diet is simply that it invites obesity. Obese women have high levels of a hormone called leptin, which the body makes in fatty tissue. This can disrupt the hormone balance and lead to reduced fertility. Simply put; the more excess weight and the more abdominal fat, the greater the risk of infertility.

Unfortunately, this is not the only potentially problematic aspect of fast-food munching on fertility.

Fast food, slow poison

Now a new study has found plasticiser chemicals in samples of common fast foods. These chemicals, as the name suggests, originate in plastics, so they are now found throughout the environment. However, you definitely doesn’t want them in your food!

  • The research team tested burgers and pizza from six of the top fast-food chains in the US
  • They found plasticiser chemicals that have been linked to infertility in more than 80% of the samples.

The problem here is that these chemicals have been found to interfere with hormones, which can lead to a host of problems with fertility and baby development in the womb. The other problem is that these chemicals are cumulative poisons, which means they slowly build up in the body. So, although the amount of them in a burger is too small to have much of an effect on its own, it can build on levels in the body from previous exposure for instance, from cosmetics and cleaning products. And it all adds up: hence cumulative poison.

The researchers, talking to Business Insider magazine, feel that regulators should be doing more to keep these chemicals out of food and cosmetics. They said, “Maybe you want to eat less fast food, but that’s not always an option for everybody. Fast food is a convenient alternative to having to cook at home, so it should not be full of chemicals.”