We’ve all been there. During those Saturday nights in, all tucked up by the fire, watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Say Yes to the Dress, the last thing you want to do is get up and think about cooking a healthy meal, which will most likely end up being bland and tasteless. Sometimes, all we really want is junk food to curb our appetites, which can be brought to our front door within a click of a button.
With fast food joints occupying ‘more than a quarter of all food outlets in the UK’, according to Fresh Student Living, it isn’t a surprise that many students turn to cheap fast food regularly. This calls into question why takeaway culture has taken over, and why we choose mostly unhealthy foods over nutritional meals.
Reasons for the increase in takeaway culture
In recent years, our reliance on fast food has spiralled to an unprecedented level. The BBC estimates that the number of fast-food outlets has increased by 4,000 since 2014 due to the country’s increasing demand for convenience.
There are numerous reasons for this. The availability of services like Deliveroo, which came to the UK in 2013, and Uber eats, which came at 2016, has encouraged people to get takeaway food delivered to their homes. Instead of having to walk and wait for your weekend treat, the society of convenience which we have created has taken away the pain of having to get off your sofa and face the cold.
Money is also a significant factor. Fast food is notoriously affordable, which is why students turn to it considering their often-tight budgets. The Guardian suggests that even though students appear to be more ‘healthy and sustainability-conscious’, necessity requires many to forego their health concerns in order to feed themselves.
The health cost
Like most things, this all comes at a cost, in this case to many students’ mental and physical health. Contributing to the mental health crisis that is impacting young people today, Healthline states that excess calories from fast food products can make you gain weight, while also impacting the central nervous system. People who eat takeaways on a regular basis are 51% more likely to develop depression than people who don’t. Coupled with pressure from social media and the rest of society to stay thin and toned, weight gain can often have detrimental effects on body image.
Eating healthy and staying away from temptation is a struggle for anyone, and yet we are a nation of fast-food lovers. Like everything, fast food is perfectly acceptable within moderation.