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Should there be a limit on fast food places?

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      11.11.2007 13:35
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      Unfortunately I can't see it working

      The title of this topic quite honestly leaves me asking more questions instead of trying to answer it, if you see what I mean. My first thought when I wondered if there should be a limit on fast food places was what would you hope to achieve by setting a limit? Presumably the answer is a lowering of the obesity rate, but in all honesty if people really want junk food they’ll just cook it at home if they can’t get it from a take away, so I have to question if limiting the number of fast food outlets would even scratch the surface of the problem. Even if, for whatever reason, a person couldn’t get fast food at home – say they live with parents who control their diet – a limit on fast food outlets would not stop somebody who really wanted to eat fast food, they’d just queue for longer, or go further afield to find it.

      Quite frankly, I believe that addiction to junk food needs to be tackled on a much more intelligent level than simply limiting the availability of it. For a perfect example, think about Jamie Oliver’s school dinners programme. When junk food was removed from the menu at schools and replaced with healthy, filling foods some of the children simply went without food altogether whilst others had grown ups bring in unhealthy food for them and pass it through the railings at lunch time. Where the parallel falls down is that these were children who were, supposedly, under the control of adults and even then, severely limiting their access to fast food didn’t stop every one of them from obtaining and eating it. In the real world, adults who really want to eat fast food will get it and eat it, and limiting their access to it will not prevent that.

      Also, limiting fast food intake is not as straight forward as just cutting off the supply so people have to eat more healthily. Eating in itself is an extremely complex issue, as any dieter will tell you. It’s not like drinking alcohol, taking drugs, smoking or any other addiction you care to name, because you have to eat to live. You can’t just abstain like you can (and should) when trying to quit other addictions. Can you imagine how hard it would be for an alcoholic if they were told they had to cut down their alcohol intake, but to stay alive they’d need to drink half a can of warm, flat special brew three times a day? It’s the same for somebody with an addiction to unhealthy food, and it’s not an issue that can be solved that quickly or easily.

      But this is a bigger issue than even obesity, if you’ll pardon the pun. If the number of fast food outlets was limited, how would this limit be enforced? Would it even be enforceable? Also, as there are already lots of fast food places across this country at the moment, would some of these be closed down to meet the new lower limits? If that was the case, what would all of those redundant people do for work? I’m not just talking about the people who ask if you ‘want fries with that’, but the fisherman who bring in the fish and the farmers who grow the potatoes for your local chippy. The haulage company who cart kebab meat all over the country. The guys who supply trays, paper, plastic cutlery. The landlords of all these buildings that’d now be standing empty. The printers who used to print all of the menus. It just goes on and on and on, the knock on effects of limiting the number of fast food outlets in this Country are too huge to fully appreciate.

      Of course, I’m also making the mistake of looking at ‘fast food’ but actually only seeing ‘junk food’ too. If junk food outlets were to be closed down and replaced by outlets selling fast, but healthy, food would that be a better solution? If instead of popping into McDonalds or Burger King for a lard burger with fries, you could pop into a takeaway where you could pick and choose food that’s ready as quickly as a burger but without all of those calories. I’m thinking about Subway, who have some really healthy options on their menu, but the food is ready quickly (even if at a pretty high price).

      I used to visit a salad bar in London when I worked in Farringdon and they had a choice of loads of different salads and hot, filling, healthy meals for you to help yourself too. I seem to remember that you just picked up a plastic lunch container, then could choose three salads to fill it with for one price, or a greater variety for another price. I went there practically every day, and would now if there was a similar place close to me, but there isn’t. So perhaps not limiting the number of fast food places out there, but changing the unhealthier ones for healthier options would be a better solution. Perhaps even a Government initiative offering grants and concessions to outlets only offering healthy fast food would be a better idea in the long run, therefore adding to personal choice, rather than limiting it.

      This has actually been quite a short opinion for me, but in all honesty I think this discussion question, whilst an interesting idea, is a bit of a non-starter. It’s just not feasible in the real world.

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        23.10.2007 14:22
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        Unrealistic

        I think it's unrealistic to put a limit on fast food places. Limiting the amount of restaurants won't stop people eating fast food. Yes, too much fast food is unhealthy for us. But it is the indiviguals decision as to whether they should eat it or not.
        Limiting the amount of restuarants could cause alot of disagreements. How would this be enforced? It would be very unfair on businesses if they are forced to close. And some, independant places may lose all their investments

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          09.03.2007 13:42
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          Fast food debate.

          I don't see how you can impose a restriction on the number of fast food places there are in a town or particular location as surely the economy works on a relatively free market and any restriction would limit competition.


          Limiting the availability of something may only make it even more popular or sought after, certainly I do not see it reducing demand, the only way to do that is to change peoples habits and educate them about healthy eating.


          A lot of people rely on the fast food industry for their jobs and within this sector there are a lot of self employed people in burger vans and the like whose livelihood would be affected and most chip shops are small businesses and any retriction would impact on these as well and not just the big burger chains.

          While I undersatnd that such places should not be encourged the only real way to impose a retriction is to use town planning laws however while there is a demand for such places they will always exist, only by taking away that demand will you see a reduction in the number of outlets in our towns and shopping centres.

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            09.03.2007 02:42
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            No way

            As with all of my case studies I am going to give a yes section and a no section to my debate then make my own mind up based on how I can convince myself, by the way I don’t have a split personality I just like to argue with myself!

            Yes

            There should be a limit on fast food places because lets face it, it will lower obesity rates, if your nearest fast food place is a 2 min walk then you will have the option to eat it much more than if it was a 20 min drive away.

            Obesity rates are at an all time high and the ‘trend’ shows no signs of slowing down, if we limit fast food restaurants then at least we can solve a small problem, if we take small steps then eventually the problem will be sorted.

            No

            It makes no difference what so ever if you close down a few fast food places, people will find ‘substitutes’ for their food, for example I have a MacDonald’s about 10 mins away from me, if they close down the next one is 15 mins, if they limit the outlets then I will just put something in the microwave (if I don’t have time to cook) that is probably just as unhealthy as a MacDonald’s or KFC etc. The only reason I eat fast food is because it’s cheap and simple, if you take it away then people will just start getting cheap meals with as many additives and fats as the fast food places have.

            If you want to eat fast food it’s your choice, it’s like the smoking ban that’s ridiculous to, I am all for parts of the smoking ban but being a smoker myself they should have smoking and non smoking pubs not areas just entire pubs, this in my view will level things out. The government step by step is trying to level out how we live our lives they are becoming more of a dictatorship then a democracy, it’s crazy soon smoking will be made a drug and you wont be able to get fast food anywhere!

            Plus another thing, fast food restaurants have tried to bring in healthy options, they wander why most people do not buy them, have you seen the prices on this lot, it’s ridiculous I can buy a hamburger and chips for £2 or a salad for £4, I know which one I will take.

            There could be a middle level here, if fast food restaurants were to lower their prices on the ‘healthy option’ (I use that term loosely because of some of the press that the salads have got.) Then there would be a drop in sales of fatty foods, this would then solve the problem that the government is trying to sort out by closing some fast food places.

            Sometimes people just need to be left alone by the government and l I think this maybe one of them subjects where people just need to be left alone, I am against a ‘limit’ on fast food places, mostly for the fact that I enjoy the occasional MacDonald’s as it’s easy for me and taking away this right is ludicrous

            I go with my no section if you could not already tell!

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              04.12.2006 20:50
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              One more KFC, what's the difference?

              Obesity in current climates is a big topic of conversation and a real cause of concern for celeb types like Jamie Oliver. Recently he mentioned that parents who fed their children crap were indeed wankers. Of course it was fine for Jamie to say that because thanks to Sainsburys and book sales he is fortunate enough not to live in the real world.

              We’ve seen a change in trend for fast food restaurants over the past few years. What used to be a fun outlook on fast food has changed in order to offer a healthy option and keep with the times. The question this dooyoo category is raising is ‘Should There Be A Limit on Fast Food Restaurants?’. My personal answer would be don’t be so ridiculous. As with most things these days it seems that responsibility is no longer the peoples concern as the corporate guys should be taking care of things. It’s a sorry state of affairs when it appears that people aren’t able to make their own minds up about anything.

              People are told that fast food is not good for them, yet they still eat it. It’s a choice and a personal one so how is this the restaurants fault. If people suddenly got health conscience and snubbed the fast food outlets then we wouldn’t see as many of them. That’s not a victory for the likes of Jamie Oliver, it’s simple economics.

              Economics is what it boils down to at the end of the day. We are currently living in a country which we’re told is booming yet in reality a lot of people are living on the bare minimum in order to survive. If you go out in your lunch break and are short of money then what will you eat. Will it be the healthy option costing £3.99 or will it be the cheeseburger you can get for a pound? Most will eat fast food regularly because it’s cheap and they won’t pay over the odds for a healthier option.

              My grandmother made a comment recently that also summed up some of the problems. In her day, kids used to eat fatty foods and generally survived on fat. There was no concern over obesity as the majority of children would be outside and have plenty of options to keep busy, keep fit and keep the weight off. But now you have to ask what is there for kids to do that doesn’t involve the parents forking out at least £3-4 a head. A lack of sports facilities is one thing, swimming is ideal for kids and adults alike at keeping the weight down. Yet locally you’re looking at £3-4 a time and it soon adds up when you have bills and alike coming in.

              As with any social issue, the pros and cons reach far wider than just one thing. Ultimately people are responsible for their own well being, another fast food restaurant here and there won’t make the slightest bit of difference and the multi national likes of McDonalds would only build it if people come.

              Some plaudits I suppose can go to Jamie Oliver for trying to make a difference to the youth’s eating habits but unless he can come up with a way of changing the economy of the country and the pricing of certain food available to us then his efforts are slight.

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                21.11.2006 22:56
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                Yes.

                The world at the moment is obsessed with eating and especially because they are now predicting that in ten years time millions of children are going to be clinically obese. Well one of the reasons in my opinion is that bad food is so readily available to everybody including small children if they want it. Plus they will sell whatever you want and also any amount of times so these places are seriously a bad thing so why are there so many of them?

                Well I have been thinking about this and these places are actually a good thing with regards to making fast food readily available and sometimes this is just what you need. When you are at work and you only get half an hour for lunch and you want something substantial and filling then going to these places seems a great option. Plus there are so many of them and they sell quite a good range of things that there is always something you like which is great.

                The downsize comes when you realise exactly what is in the food and that they are completely just grease. Plus when it comes to things like these places you can get any amount you want and the calories intake is something that people especially many children simply do not think about. To be honest I don’t blame them for this as they shouldn’t have to but with obesity figures rising and expected to continue to rise then children should be made aware of calories which is a real shame in my opinion.

                So who are the culprits? Well we have three people in my mind who are MacDonald’s, KFC and Burger King. These are the most well known and the ones who seem to pop up everywhere you go. However lately certain ones do seem to be trying to make a difference to their reputation by trying to put healthier things on the menu but I would like to know whether the sales have increased the normal things they sell.

                Lets take MacDonald’s for an instance who is coming up with options for children to have fresh fruit in their happy meals and also healthier sandwiches. I have been trying to look around on the internet to actually see if the healthier options are overtaking sales of the junk food but I have not found anything. I am going to face it though as even I will admit the thought of having a burger and fries from there is extremely tempting.

                Then we have Burger King which has followed suit and now offers a few healthier options but not nearly as much as MacDonald’s. In fact when I walked past Burger King this morning all I could see is burger after burger and that was at 8.00 in the morning. Then KFC who to my knowledge has not really changed that much. Sure they offer salads with things but the actual food is still so bad for you as it is greasy and high in calories.

                The other problem with fast food places is that you can never really be sure on what the meat is actually like. I have known people who have worked in these places and have said that it turned them off eating there. Plus lets face it the food is that fast and takes such a short time to cook then surely it cannot be that good for you at all in terms of nutritional value.

                Staying on nutrition it is funny that any actual examination into the food at this places shows that there is not much nutritional value unless you do have salad or something like that with it. This is a bad thing for youngsters to have and adults to have if they do so regularly but it all boils down to the fact that getting food like this is a quick fix and much of the time especially when you have a short lunch hour, this food is very tempting and in the past I have succumbed to it a lot.

                All of the places mentioned are not the only ones as there are so many fast food joints popping up. Things like Subway are not that bad as they offer so much in the way of healthy choices, it is purely the so called Burger places that should have a limit put on them. I cannot even walk down a street now without seeing burger vans or doughnut vans and now you can even find them in most shopping centres and parks. It is true that we are becoming a bit of a fast food nation.

                What good would a limit do?

                Well for one we would stop the temptation in most places. If everywhere you go you see a fast food place then you are more likely to step foot in there and get something quick rather than get something of a bit more nutritional value and better for your body. Plus it is surprising how many kids can walk home from school and pass somewhere that does fast food. Everybody knows what kids are like and I admit I used to do it when I was younger.

                If you cant see a fast food joint then you will not get anything like that to eat and instead be forced to choose something a bit better for you. This is why I think there should definitely be a limit and if one thing should be done it should be to stop them being put up by leisure centres and gyms as that is just cruel.

                Of course not all fast food places are that bad as I see more smoothie and sandwich bars put up all the time. These are a much nicer option and maybe whoever is responsible for putting things up should put more of these up in places to encourage more people to buy something healthier.

                So here I am preaching about fast food places when I am sure many are thinking well surely you have eaten in those places? To be honest yes I have and I did when I was younger but in my case I had a family who tried to teach me to eat healthily so we only went as a treat. When I used to work at Phones 4 U there was a burger king opposite and we used to go a lot of the time as it was cheap and convenient food. However then I watched supersize me a couple of years back and have not touched any of those places since and don’t plan to in the near future.

                In conclusion I am going to give this subject four stars because I really do believe that if they put a limit on how many of these places are actually put up around the globe then it could help with this obesity problem. I know it is not the main reason but it plays quite a big part and if the whole country knows this then why do they keeping putting more of these places up? Honestly the whole subject just annoys me. It loses a star because there are some healthier ones being made and these should be encouraged.

                Thanks for reading.

                xxx

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                  09.11.2006 17:43
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                  Free choice is the important factor.

                  This is obviously an issue that is important to consider from a number of points of view and I will try to do so.

                  Firstly, from a political point of view:

                  Now what does politics have to do with the issue of whether we should limit the amount of fast food joints I hear you say.

                  Well this is important as I believe in a little matter called Free Will and that all people should have the ability to choose for themselves what they want to buy and where from (with the obvious restriction on anything illegal like drugs, etc).

                  Why should there be a limit on fast food places in this country. After all, should you limit them, then the same people will still buy the fast food but will just have less choice. Stopping Fast food places from opening or selling in a high street will not stop people buying from them. You have to change the attitude and thoughts in order to do that.

                  Therefore from a political point of view I would say that you should not create a limit on fast food places.

                  Secondly there is a Health point of view:

                  Now it is clear that fast food is bad for you, however so is red meat in large amounts and we do not limit the amount of red meat sold in shops.

                  Again it is the matter of people making a choice what they buy and from where and limiting the amount of places will not help.

                  Within this point you could have an argument that they should sell more healthy foods and I think that most fast food joints are beginning to do so.

                  Lastly I would say there one area to cover:

                  That area is about fast food joints in schools or near schools. This is one area where I would say that it might be sensible to place a limit on fast food places. After all here in the UK we have more overweight and fat children then anywhere in Europe. Therefore it would make sense that we limit the sale of these unhealthy foods around schools so that they cannot buy them.

                  I know that this contradicts everything I have said earlier about free will and right to buy and cannot completely explain it myself. However parents have a responsibility to their children to bring them up healthy and excess amounts of fast food for young children cannot be good and a limit might therefore be sensible.

                  All in all I love fast food and enjoy eating it. Limiting the amount of fast food joints would not stop me eating it, it would just mean I would have further to go to get the fast food.

                  Hope that this all makes sense and would appreciate comments.

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