– Fast food as we know it
(bell chimes)

began as a wholesome family
experience in the 1940s

with drive-through restaurants
and simple four-item menus,

but today it has evolved
into something different.

(upbeat rock music)

Menu items have gotten more extreme.

– The quadruple bypass burger
has 20 slices of bacon.

– [Kiana] And more people are eating

more fast food more often.

– The the Big Macs are great.

The Quarter Pounder with cheese,
I mean, it’s great stuff.

– What is about fast food
that makes it taste so good

while at the same time
making us feel so bad,

and how bad is fast food
for your body really?

In this video, we’ll be
taking you minute by minute

through your body when you eat fast food,

starting with your brain
through your stomach,

arteries and ending with total digestion.

(clock ticking)

As soon as the food touches your tongue,

a signal is sent to the brain
activating the reward system

and your body releases a surge

of feel-good endorphins and dopamine.

You may feel a sense of
euphoria, excitement, bliss,

and relaxation as your brain’s
pleasure center lights up

and gets excited by the
different sensory properties

of the food you’re eating.

Carefully engineered blends
of salt, sugar, and fat,

three food properties we
have a primal love for

thanks to our evolution,
thrill and stimulate your brain

to the point that the
dopamine response produced

can be as big as doing extreme
stunts or even watching porn.

But it’s not just the salt, sugar and fat.

It’s much much more than that.

Fast food has been designed
in a lab to be crave-able.

You see the magic of
McDonald’s french fries,

Pizza Hut’s pizzas or Wendy’s Baconator

doesn’t just come from superior
potatoes, fancy cheese,

or the best cuts of bacon,

but instead each minute detail of the food

is the work of brilliant scientists,

mathematicians and flavorists.

Mathematical modeling finds
the precise amount of sugar

needed to bring your meal
up to the bliss point

or the optimal concentration of sugar

known to maximize sensory pleasure.

That bold taste you get from a Doritos

locos taco from Taco Bell, for example,

isn’t the result of their
superior quality ingredients,

but carefully layered
natural flavor extracts.

Beef flavors, nacho
flavors, cheese flavors

all injected into the food
to give cheap ingredients

an unmatchable boost in fake flavor.

Even the colors of the
packaging and the store decor

have been carefully selected
to stimulate your brain

and to generate maximal fun and excitement

and maybe even a little
sprinkling of nostalgia

for your childhood too.

All this helps to explain why

despite our best efforts

home-cooked meals just don’t
really have the same sparkle,

and maybe that’s why
one in three Americans

now prefers to eat at least one

fast food meal every single day.

In one study rats were fed a
fast food diet for two weeks

and then switched back to normal food.

After sampling the fast food

it took an average of 14 days

before the rats became interested

in eating their normal food again

with many of the rats actually
choosing to literally starve

for several days instead of eating.

Apparently there was just no
being satisfied by normal food

once the rats had tasted

that sweet sweet taste of natural flavors.

The more fast food you eat

the less delicious more
subtle natural foods

  Who Makes The Best Fast Food Sub? Taste Test

begin to taste in comparison

and the more fast food you crave.

– [Man] Just try a little taste.

(sniffs)

(gagging)

– (coughing) I can’t, I can’t.

– [Man] Come here a minute.

(crying)
It’s okay.

– The flood of dopamine that is released

when you eat a perfectly engineered burger

is responsible for much
much more than just making

your food taste good.

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter
involved in habit,

addiction and neuroplasticity.

Dopamine’s main function isn’t pleasure.

Its learning and motivation.

Basically anytime dopamine is released,

you’re more likely to
repeat the experience

that caused that release.

In other words, regularly eating fast food

amplifies and sustains
your drive and motivation

to continue eating fast food,

and studies show that
the more often you eat it

the more frequent and powerful
your cravings can become.

(clock ticking)

Rapidly digested fast food
begins to hit your bloodstream

just 15 minutes after
swallowing your first bite

thanks to the presence of refined carbs.

This process can begin even faster

if you’ve opted to wash your
meal down with a sugary soda.

The elements that make fast food fast

also contribute to their rapid digestion.

Factory processing reduces the time needed

to cook these things,
but also the time needed

for our bodies to break them down.

Flour that has been
pulverized to a fine dust

becomes your bun,

beef ground to a paste
becomes your burger,

and potatoes that have been razor sliced

and coated in a fine chemical
sugar called dextrose

become your fries.

This refining process

along with the removal of natural fiber

allows your body to break down
and rapidly digest fast food

so that it moves from your
stomach to your lower intestine

to your bloodstream almost
in an instant (snaps).

These foods provide such an
instant boost in energy in fact

that they’re the trusted energy source

of extreme ultra marathon
runners competing in Bad Water,

one of the most difficult
runs in the entire world.

Bad Water spans 48 hours
and 135 miles of desert

and is run in sweltering 127 degrees heat.

One runner claimed that she
fills up on processed foods

like fries, Twinkies and
candy every 30 minutes

during this difficult run,

stating that simple sugars
are great fuel for a race

because “my body never really
has to work to digest it,

“and I don’t have to divert blood

“from my muscles to my GI tract.”

Because the simple sugars in fast food

hit your bloodstream so quickly

your body is flooded with an
abundance of glucose at once

and your blood sugar and
insulin levels rise rapidly.

At first you enjoy a surge of energy

like the Bad Water runners did,

but unlike the Bad Water runners

you probably aren’t in the
middle of a 48-hour run.

So the overflow of glucose in your blood

is unlikely to be used and
will be quickly turned to fat

by the hormone insulin instead.

(clock ticking)

By hour three, your sugar
high will have subsided

and you’ll start to feel hungry again

even though the typical fast
food meal contains almost

as much as an entire
day’s worth of calories.

This is thanks to the blood sugar peak

and subsequent rapid crash
caused by excess insulin.

This dip in essential blood
sugar stresses the body

and your body responds by,
well, basically panicking.

(alarm wailing)
At this point

you might start to experience cravings,

  Popular Fast-Food Restaurants In Every State

particularly toward unhealthy
easily digestible foods

like what you’ve just
eaten, as your body attempts

to restore your blood
sugars to a healthier level.

You might also be experiencing

mood swings and irritability,
shakiness, nausea

or even headaches,
depending on how extreme

the insulin response was
from your individual body.

This blood sugar rollercoaster

and these subsequent mood swings

is just one of the many
reasons a 2009 study

found that those who
eat fast food every day

are 51% more likely to be depressed.

(clock ticking)

The sugar, fat and salt you’ve consumed

are now circulating in your blood

pumping through your veins

to provide your cells with energy.

While this is happening

something very dangerous begins to occur

within your arteries.

A team of scientists wanted to
see if eating deep fried food

had any effect on our
arteries in the short-term.

They fed subjects french fries
and then four hours later

slipped their arms into
blood pressure cuffs

squeezing it to cut off the
blood flow for a few minutes.

Normally once the cuff is released

your oxygen-starved arteries open wider

so blood can come rushing back in

just like you would suck in more air

after holding your breath.

Before the french fries

the volunteers arteries dilated normally

opening 7% larger after being released,

but afterwards the volunteers
arteries barely opened at all,

less than 1%.

Restricted arteries slow your blood flow

making you feel tired and
immediately increasing your risk

of heart attack and stroke.

In fact just one fast-food
meal per week, just one,

is enough to increase your
risk of heart attack by 20%.

(clock ticking)

Though there are many
elements in fast food

that digest rapidly as we’ve discussed

there are also many that digest
very slowly or not at all.

Fatty burgers, deep-fried french
fries and creamy dressings

all come together to make
your typical fast-food meal

a delicious greasy treat,

but also to make it
difficult for your body

to fully break down and absorb.

This fat can sit in your stomach for days.

Some reports estimate that
it can take up to 36 hours

for the fattiest parts of a Big Mac

to leave your system completely.

This is some of the
reason many people report

feeling gassy, bloated or, well, worse

after eating fast food.

As for the parts of your
meal that don’t digest at all

chemical concoctions known
as additives and fillers

are added to fast and processed foods

to perform a variety of functions,

and of the 72 ingredients in a Big Mac

quite a few fit this profile.

Some like calcium chloride
are what make the pickles

in your burger taste salty

without increasing the
actual amount of sodium.

While others like dimethylpolysiloxane,

a commonly used polymer found
in shampoo, skin creams,

lubricant and famous for
giving silly putty its shape

is an obviously essential ingredient

added to prevent oil splash during frying.

Many of these compounds are
clearly not food exactly

and so your body can’t digest them.

This is an additional factor
that might help to explain

why this food tastes very good

but can make you feel very bad very fast.

Actually these compounds
are so foreign to your body

that scientists have found
that the cells in your gut

respond to fast food the same
way it might an infection.

In a 2018 study researchers put mice

on a typical fast-food diet,

  How Does FAST FOOD Affect Your HEALTH and Your MOOD

high in fat and sugar and low in fiber.

In just one month, researchers
discovered a shocking truth.

The mice had developed a
significant inflammatory response

almost as if they had come down

with a bad bacterial infection.

When they switched back
to the regular rodent chow

the inflammation calmed down

but their immune systems
remained on high alert

ready to attack.

Apparently this food had
actually caused changes

to the rodents’ DNA such
that their immune systems

were now permanently more aggressive

which sounds like a good thing,

but according to the study authors

it can result in systemic inflammation

and an increased risk of
diabetes and atherosclerosis.

I want to be clear that
the point of this video

is not to scare you into never eating

your favorite fast food again.

I’m not one of those people who believes

that everyone should just eat

like goji berries and flax seeds.

Provided you’re in good health,
the risk is extremely low

in enjoying your favorite fast
food every once in a while.

Despite the parallels
at the end of the day

it is still food, it’s not a drug,

but I think it’s totally unfair

and frankly a little bit corrupt

that this information isn’t
offered up to consumers

by the companies that
are serving this food

to billions of people every single year.

We all have the right to choose
what we put in our bodies,

but if that choice is impaired
because this information

is not readily available to us,

it’s not really the same thing.

You don’t already know,
I used to be obese.

I lost 100 pounds, and though
it wasn’t fast foods’ fault

that I was obese, it
was my fault obviously,

it certainly would have
been helpful to understand

why certain foods make us feel terrible

both physically and mentally

and yet it’s so hard to stop eating them.

I think a lot of people
want to reduce food

to just its caloric content.

If you’re not getting fat off it

or you don’t care about your body weight,

then what does it matter what you eat?

But that is just not true,

and as we go on and
nutrition science evolves

people are starting to think
about food as information,

information that tells certain
genes to turn on and turn off

and information that
influences hormone production.

So I think it’s very important
to scrutinize any food

that you’re gonna be putting in your body

with any sort of regularity.

If you enjoyed this video,
hit the thumbs up button

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science-based health,

weight loss and nutrition tips.

Also a disclaimer.

The timestamps for what times

things were happening in the body,

they’re definitely not going
to be perfectly accurate.

I checked them based on
a few different articles

regarding digestion and fast food,

but at the end of the day,

A, everybody’s body is totally different,

and, B, I’m not a
biologist or like a doctor.

So I don’t know for sure,

but, yeah, thank you so much
for watching this video.

I hope you enjoyed it.

I hope you learned something cool.

I know that this was like
some of the coolest stuff

I learned last year.

It’s crazy that you know the
food that we put in our body

can be so dramatic, but it is. (laughs)

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