Adapting American Fast Food Consumption Will Make Africa Poor

Let us explore how food choices can make Africans poor. We are living through a changing food culture, and there are health-wealth implications ahead! Today, we dive deep into how our changing food culture affects not just our health but also our wallets. First, a quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice but rather my observations and research.

Remember the food pyramid we learned about in school?

You know the one—where fats were lumped together with sweets at the very tip of the pyramid? It turns out, this model is more than just a guide to balanced eating; it’s also a cash cow for big industries. The more unhealthy we are, the more we need the health industry. If we’re broke, we need the financial industry. It’s a vicious cycle. Visualize this: medical professionals administering injections, and hands counting cash, then pouring meat into sugar and butter. The sounds of these activities are almost sinister.

The Number One Culprit: Sugary Drinks

Let’s talk about sugary drinks. They’re fizzy, they taste good, they’re everywhere, and some even claim to give you energy. But here’s the kicker—they’re loaded with empty calories and offer little to no nutritional value. Sugar is arguably the strongest drug, and food giants know it. 

Research on sugary beverage taxation in South Africa highlights a severe and growing obesity epidemic linked to the heavy consumption of these drinks. The sugar tax was introduced to curb this trend, and while it did reduce consumption, it also cost jobs in the beverage industry. 

In a 2021 Baker McKenzie report, it was noted that the sugar industry suffered an overall job loss of 16 621 employees. Itis said that the proposed extension of the sugar tax to pure juice will result in an estimated 5 000 additional job losses. Global Compliance News

This scenario underscores the need for innovative solutions to create sustainable jobs—jobs that don’t rely on making us unhealthy to thrive.

The Fast Food Frenzy

Next up, let’s examine about another major player in our changing food culture—fast food. This is an American import that has taken the world by storm. Consider these facts first:

  1. Most Americans eat fast food 1-3 times a week.
  2. People aged 20-39 eat the most fast food on any given day.
  3. Men consume more fast food than women.

Why is fast food consumption rising in Africa? Studies have shown that regular consumption of fast food increases risks for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even depression. Yes, depression! This culture is also booming in Europe, but many Western European countries have robust healthcare systems. Do we have that in Nigeria? Now remember that these fast food have addictive flavours artificially injected into them and engineered to make us overconsume them and crave more. 

The Economics of Fast Food Consumption

Interestingly, people who earn more money tend to eat more fast food than those with lower incomes. Why is this the case? Fast food is engineered to combine flavours, textures, and smells that stimulate your brain’s reward centres. Thistriggers cravings and leads to overconsumption. The combination of fat, sugar, and salt activates dopamine receptors, giving you feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. 

Moreover, the advertising around fast food is so skilled that it normalizes consumption, and our adult minds can barely resist it, let alone our kids. Fast food often contains additives and flavor enhancers such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors, and preservatives, making the food more appealing and addictive.

The Financial Toll of Fast Food

If you decide to follow the American trend and eat fast food twice a week, you’re looking at spending around 25K Naira weekly. That’s 100K a month—three times the minimum wage! Now add the costs of battling obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. Medications are expensive, and managing these conditions drains the energy you need to build your business. Health should come before wealth!

Balancing Health and Wealth

Remember, it’s all about balance and making choices that nourish both our bodies and our bank accounts. Now that you’re informed, you can make healthier food choices. Visit your favorite Amala joint or cook if you can. Speaking of which, what’s your favorite Amala joint in Lagos?

The Takeaway

As an African proverb says, “A snake that you can see does not bite.” Being aware of the dangers of adopting an unhealthy food culture is the first step to avoiding its pitfalls. Let’s make conscious choices that promote our health and economic well-being. By understanding and addressing the root causes of our changing food culture, we can prevent a future where poor health and financial instability are the norms. Let’s prioritize health over convenience and make decisions that will benefit us in the long run.

And we have news! 

We are working on our new project called PactBuddy. 

PactBuddy is a dynamic platform designed to foster mutual support and collaboration between micro businesses in Africa(the “Pactees”) and members of the African Diaspora and their allies (the “Buddies”). At its core, PactBuddy revolves around forming pacts to achieve shared business goals and providing mutual support. Unlock the potential of Microbusinesses in Africa with PactBuddy! Invest, mentor, and receive unique rewards. Join us today and make a real impact. Visit now!

Connect with us, and get our app.

We hope you got value out of this article. Let us know how we can support you and share your results with the TRIBE. Follow us on our social media – InstagramFacebookTikTokLinkedinTwitter, and YouTube.  Sign up for our newsletter here for our monthly mail. If you wish to contact us, use our contact form or the contact menu in the TRIBE app. 

Thank you for reading to the end. 



Joadre Editorial
Joadre Editorial
Joadre Editorial team is an international mix of experts in the field of human rights, entrepreneurship and global politics. We are passionate to educate and create equity for Africans and the Africa continent.

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