It's generally known that fast food is bad for you. It doesn't seem like folks really want to believe it all that much because, well, it still manages to sell in droves. There's something to be said about being able to drive through a window and pick up a bomb chicken sandwich while on your way to a dinner somewhere that may or may not have food you find palatable.
We all know that fast food is typically loaded with preservatives and that hurriedly prepared items designed to have a long shelf-life can't possibly be good for you, but we still love to consume it. In fact, the market size of fast food, in spite of Morgan Spurlock and the oodles of literature out there about how unhealthy it can be to eat it regularly, is steadily increasing.
And there are reasons for that: the stuff scientifically designed to appeal to our basest flavor senses for an immediately gratifying feeling after we bite into that late-night chicken quesadilla or bag of french fries we scarf down as we try not to cause an 80-car pileup on the freeway as we speed home to catch The Masked Singer.
And while knowledge of how unhealthy it is isn't enough to stop us from eating it, sometimes a strong visual can help curb us from doing so. At least that's what TikTok user Elif Kandemir and her mom are hoping.
In a now-viral post Elif shared video clips of a pantry that her mother, a nutritionist has collected over the past two years of fast food items. In the clip a wide variety of common orders from various fast food chains show a bunch of unrefrigerated food that simply hasn't spoiled.
The plastic bins are filled with fast food french fries, pizzas, cheeseburgers, donuts, and candies that just won't spoil. How they've managed to avoid pests getting in there to eat the items is another story (maybe even rats won't touch them, but then again, how does that explain Pizza Rat?!) but there were a wide variety of comments from different TikTok users who saw the video.
Some were horrified, while others thought the clip was just a means of Elif promoting her mother's business. A few commenters stated that the dearth of mold on food items isn't indicative of whether or not they're unhealthy: it's just a testament to the lack of moisture content (i.e. how dried food items don't collect mold on them.)
The video, which features one of those annoying robotic voice-overs that are all the rage on TikTok opines over "Jalebi Baby" by Tesher & Jason Derulo about how gnarly it is to consume the fast food items.
"This is my mum’s food cupboard — full of foods that never go off!
My mum is a nutritionist helping to tackle obesity,” read another blurb. “These foods shown here are ultra-processed foods that 80% of the UK consume on a regular basis.
Still fancy that burger?"
In a follow-up clip, Elif reveals that her mother, who is a psychotherapist and nutritionist, has been collecting the meals for about two years.
The BBC special "What Are We Feeding our Kids" delves further into this subject. In the documentary, Dr. Chris Van Tulleken ate nothing but "ultra-processed foods" for four weeks straight.
Van Tulleken claims that eating nothing but junk food for a month was responsible for shaving some 10 years off of his life. He says that the shift from eating foods packed with nutritional value to ultra-processed fare caused a litany of health issues.
"My libido, piles, heartburn … everything got worse. I was anxious, depressed — and it was all self-perpetuating," the health specialist told The Telegraph.
He continued, "Things like monosodium glutamate (MSG) send a signal to your brain telling you this is nutritious. But when you digest it there is nothing [nutritious] there — so you keep eating."
Van Tulleken went on to say that he was having trouble sleeping as he felt the need to constantly eat more.
That could help explain why it feels so easy to down a 20-piece chicken McNuggets box but eating 10 ounces of grilled chicken breast feels like such a chore for some.
Van Tulleken expressed concern for the future of children in the UK: "Most children in this country begin their lives on ultra-processed food,” he said, calling out typical kid-favorites such as white bread, sugary cereals and bacon. “What is it doing to them? The astounding thing is we have no idea."
Elif cited a statistic that is featured in Van Tulleken's documentary, which states that 80% of the average UK Citizen's diet is made up of ultra-processed foods. And while they concede that indulging from time to time is hardly an awful offense, the vast majority of someone's nutritional needs shouldn't be coming from foods that aren't really packing that much nutritional content.
Drat, and I really wanted to get some Jollibee, too.