The fast food epidemic
I recently stumbled upon Robert Lustig's lecture entitled Sugar: The Bitter Truth. I recommend it highly -- at least the first half, after which it becomes a bit too technical -- for understanding exactly why fast food is killing us. As Lustig explains, there are two killer elements in fast food. One, fast foods contain lots of bad sugars like fructose and sucrose (most of all in the biggie sized sweetened sodas that accompany each value meal), which cause the body to do a poor job of knowing when it doesn't need any more food. (Contrast this with glucose, the good sugar that is present in maple syrup or honey.) Two, fast foods remove the fiber so that the food will cook faster. The reduction in fiber causes the body to absorb more sugar and do an even poorer job of knowing when it doesn't need any more food. So, fast foods offer a double whammy -- extra sugar combined with little or no fiber. Similarly, fruit juice is worse than fruit, because (you guessed it) it has the sugar but not the fiber.