03/06/2014 12:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

11 Signs Fast Food Has Completely Taken Over America

It seems like someone somewhere is announcing a new fast food creation every day, whether it's a new burger at Wendy's, new seasonal items at McDonald's or breakfast at Taco Bell. And the marketing for all of these items makes fast food establishments seem very enticing. Between Taco Bell's cleverly crafted tweets and Carl's Jr. ads featuring sexy models, these companies know how to entice people to experience their newest cheesy, crunchy, gooey whatever for themselves.

At this point, it shouldn't come as a surprise if you feel like fast food is trying to control you. Here are 11 signs that fast food has seeped into every crevice of our lives today.

1. Fast food restaurants have added a new meal: brunch.


Today, we don't have to spend the time and money to get a real eggs Benedict meal at a restaurant, because Dunkin' Donuts now provides the option of getting the whole deal in cheap sandwich form. There is one major issue though: The sandwich doesn't have real Hollandaise sauce on it. Instead, the company tops the sandwich creation with a "creamy, lemony flavor of Hollandaise." While real Hollandaise sauce is a liquid emulsion of egg yolks and clarified butter, Dunkin' Donuts' "flavor" will be more of a cream cheese situation.

2. Our country celebrates "National Drive-Thru Day" on July 24th .


It's true: Our more than 211,000 drive-thru restaurants are so popular in the U.S. that we've designated a whole day to honor them. In his book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma," Michael Pollan estimated that about 20 percent of American meals are eaten in a car. Think about it: fast food was designed to be easily eaten with one hand. Also, 50-60 percent of McDonalds' sales are made at the drive-thru.

3. Some of our favorite snack foods have been turned into their own fast food meals.


Instead of grabbing a bag of Doritos, we can just head over to Taco Bell and munch on the fusion that is the Doritos Locos taco. Then, instead of snacking on a few Oreos for dessert, we can just go to McDonald's and get an Oreo McFlurry. Why not get Oreos and ice cream all in one convenient cup?

4. Our daily serving of vegetables always comes from potatoes -- specifically French fries.

In her book, "What To Eat," nutritionist Marion Nestle reports that "one third of all vegetables consumed in the United States come from just three sources: French fries, potato chips and iceberg lettuce." McDonald's goes through 3.4 billion potatoes a year, and Americans, on average, consume 30 pounds of fries a year.

5. We can now eat every single meal at Taco Bell.


Just a few weeks ago, Taco Bell unleashed a beast of a breakfast menu. It includes the hyped-up waffle taco: A breakfast sandwich that includes sausage and eggs wedged into a waffle and topped with maple syrup. Now we can start our days with a Taco Bell breakfast and end the day with a Taco Bell "fourth meal." What a beautiful cycle.

6. We never have to go hungry because there is a fast food establishment on almost every corner.

This is actually a map of England -- but the story is the same in America as it is there.

Whether we're craving a sandwich from Subway, a frappuccino from Starbucks or a burger from McDonald's, we don't have to go far to get the hookup. In America, there are more than 14,000 McDonald's. And as of 2012, there were 25,549 Subways and 18,000 Starbucks nationwide.

7. Instead of just getting coffee, we order full meals at Starbucks.


We used to go to Starbucks just to grab some coffee in a rush and that was it. Not anymore. Now Starbucks is a glorified food destination. The coffee chain has quite the varied menu, including paninis, "bistro boxes," salads and baked goods. They have even partnered up with a fancy bakery in San Francisco called La Boulange to provide their customers with "wholesome" scones, croissants and muffins. In fact, last year, one brave woman decided to eat every single one of her meals at Starbucks for the entire year. She spent $500 to $600 a month.

8. We've even discovered innovative ways to transform our fast food leftovers.

A "Waffle McDonald's Double Cheeseburger"

The folks over at FoodBeast are really into fast food -- so much that they thought up of crazy ways to re-imagine McDonald's cheeseburgers and Gorditas from Taco Bell. They claim that reheating these products in a waffle iron creates some delicious results.

9. Kids between the ages of 6 and 14 in America eat fast food 157,000,000 times each month.


According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, kids in the United States are eating fast food at alarming rates. Also, 96 percent of kids can recognize the image of Ronald McDonald. In another study done at Cornell University, which focused on the calories in Happy Meals, researchers found that in June, July and August of 2011 and 2012, 234,424 transactions in 30 McDonalds included the purchase of a Happy Meal.

10. We've even thought about wearing fast food logos.


During Paris Fashion Week this year, Jeremy Scott, the creative director for Moschino, took inspiration from the fast food establishments many Americans eat at daily. He debuted bright red and yellow sweaters with a huge "M" emblazoned on them. They looked strikingly similar to the McDonald's logo. However, McDonald's employees have found the clothing highly offensive. As one former McDonald's worker said:

"One knowing how it is to work at McDonald’s knows there is nothing fashionable about it. Knowing someone will pay $1,000 for clothing inspired by McDonald’s workers who earn minimum wage is a mockery."

11. We celebrate national holidays with special fast food.


If we want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with fast food, Dunkin' Donuts just released Mint Oreo and Mint Oreo Creme donuts. It's also that time of year again: Lent. So when we are really craving our fast food on Fridays, but can't chow down on that Big Mac, we don't have to worry. Our favorite fast food restaurants are serving up some tasty fish options. We've got the Filet-O-Fish at McDonald's, the Premium Alaskan Fish Sandwich at Burger King, Dippin' Fish Strips at Long John Silver's and even a Lobster and Seafood Sub at Quiznos (We would advise that you eat this at your own risk).


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Taco Bell's New Breakfast Menu