Which is the most exciting part of your college life? The canteen? A place where you are served with samosas and Chinese Bhels and a variety of oil-laden delicacies! Well, it is a sad reality then. In the times of oil laden delicacies in local canteens, and burgers and fries from food chains all across the globe- we are living in an age of the fad of Junk Food!
Junk food is the food served commercially which takes only a few seconds to assemble. It is the food that is of little nutritional value and often high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. These foods are palatable and affordable. But in an attempt to meet taste requirements at a low price, several nutritional compromises are made. Over the past two decades, vada pav, burgers etc. have penetrated every corner our country. These can be considered either health or junk food depending on their ingredients and preparation methods. Usually, these junk foods do not pose any health concerns and is generally safe when integrated into a well-balanced diet. Fast food may tickle our taste buds, but it harms our health in more ways than we can count.
Why is junk food so addictive?
Most junk food falls into the category of either snack food or fast food. Popular snack foods are usually commercially prepared and packaged, like chips, cookies and cakes. These snack foods contribute so much to the calories. Junk food is also readily available at restaurants. These fast food are not only unhealthy but they actually encourages gorging. They might also promote overeating. These are low in fiber, high in palatability and offer a large number of calories in a small volume.
Many fast foods have a wide variety of chemical additives, used to preserve, colour and enhance the products to ensure uniformity, taste and profitability. These may pose health risks. A rainbow of fast food dyes give colour of pink strawberry shakes, green and purple candy, and lemon-yellow soft drinks. Caffeine is also added to almost all soft drinks like colas and orange drinks.
The fat used by fast food restaurants is harmful to health. It is not metabolized by the body, causing an increase in blood cholesterol levels. Most eating places heat the same oil again and again, thereby creating several harmful substances in the food.
How junk food affects one’s body?
Fast foods and junk foods are high in fat and sugar, which can lead to obesity and a range of heart disease and arthritis. It does not contain the nutrients one’s body needs to stay healthy. It results in being fatigued and lack the energy one needs to complete daily tasks. It puts metabolism under stress. It does not contain adequate amounts of protein and good carbohydrates due to which one’s blood sugar level drops suddenly after eating. It can also leads to clogging of arteries.
Junk food also alters the brain activity in a manner similar to addictive drugs. This food is only for pleasure which affects the health severely. Females who eat junk food during pregnancy increase the likelihood of unhealthy eating habits in their offspring. They are also warned to avoid a diet rich in junk food because it is linked with an increased risk of giving birth pre maturely.
It contributes to poor performance and obesity as it contains large amounts of fat which accumulates in one’s body and leads to weight gain. The more weight one gains, the more one will be at risk for serious chronic illness. One can even have a heart attack. The high levels of fat and sodium in junk food can cause high blood pressure or hypertension. It can also lead to kidney disease. In short term consequences, this fat containing food leads to poor performance. One feels tired and has trouble in concentrating because one’s body might not be getting enough oxygen. It also affects the ability to use the insulin secreted by the body.
Teenagers are the most affected ones
Teenagers who generally indulge in junk food may be at increased risk for health complications. Junk food can be appealing for a variety of reasons, including convenience, price and taste. For children, who do not understand the health consequences of their eating habits, junk food may appear especially appetizing. However, regular consuming junk food can be addictive for children and lead to complications.
Physical activity is essential for children of all ages but regularly eating junk food does not provide the necessary nutrients which children need for sufficient energy to engage in physical activity. A lack of physical activity is harmful to physical and mental well being and may also exclude a child from critical social development. Self-esteem and confidence in oneself are especially important to growing children, and regular consuming can negatively impact this sense of self. Low self-esteem can lead to consequences like depression because junk food lacks the essential nutrients which help in maintaining the hormonal balance in teenagers.
Children are getting wrong message about the nutrition. Children need to understand that what one prepares at home is healthier than what one finds at a fast food restaurant. Eating a lot of junk food is often associated with other lifestyle problems like lack of physical activity and TV or internet addiction. This problem can be solved if one makes a palatable food at home which would tempt the children. Hopefully, this will help the one to get rid of the habit of this so-called junk food.