FAST food restaurants – the effi cient food establishment that has taken the world by storm.

In the age where everyone is in a rush, the concept has become a staple for working class parents and young adults. However, what are the consequences of fast food consumption on a daily basis? Does it aff ect children and adults the same way?
“In the society that we are living in; everyone is talking about deadlines, and everyone is always in a rush. Th erefore, they’re just grabbing whatever they can without thinking about the consequences,” says Dr nora Ashikin Mokhtar, the founder and chairman of Primanora Medical Centre.

“It’s sad to say because fast food is generally cheaper and easily available compared to healthier alternatives. However, excitotoxins
are commonly found in fast and processed foods.”
Excitotoxins are food additives, the most common ones being Monosodium glutamate (MSg) and aspartame. Th e additives
are used to enhance the flavour of food and stimulate your appetite thus making you eat more.
“Excitotoxins have no nutritional benefits whatsoever. We do need glutamate for our body but in very small amounts.
Excess consumption will cause your brain to be over-excited – to a certain point, the excitement will kill the brain cells,” she claims.

MSG – Hiding in plain view

According to Dr Nora, with the awareness to the dangers of MSg, manufacturers have begun to disguise the MSg ingredients under
a different alias.
“You can get additives in various form The fast growth of fast food restaurants is leading to the deterioration of health for younger generations.
Discussing the effects of fast food consumption in modern society
The chemical warfare inside us without realising it. If they include pure
MSg then the ingredient will be labelled as MSg – where it’s 99 per cent MSg.
“ But anything below that will be identified with a different name. For example, hydrolysed protein, yeast extract, chicken or beef flavouring and other names are used to trick the consumers,” she explains.
Th is is how manufacturers hide the MSg content in food, according to her.
“If you don’t look up the ingredient you’re consuming then you’re being tricked into consuming MSg. It accumulates over time and will affect you in the long run. While some people have immediate reaction to MSg, some will accumulate the MSg count in their body which will cause damage as the body grows older and weaker.”
Moreover, there are clinical studies to prove that MSg can damage the eyes, brain, nerves and various diseases that can have long term neurological implications such as Parkinson, Alzheimer’s and many more. The appetite stimulation can also lead to obesity,
high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.

Changing to a healthier habit

“It seems like people are always looking for the easier step to alleviate their busy schedule – but fast food is not the answer. While taking supplement can do wonders to the human body, a balanced diet and exercise has never failed anyone before. Compromising on a healthy meal should not be the answer.
It will only affect your body in the long run,” Dr Nora says with a warm smile. 

By Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar
Published in The Health, Novamber 15 2019