Junk Food: Understanding What It’s All About

Junk food is the most potential element which is closely studied due to it’s high demand and consumption among all age group.

Most of them have become ‘enslaved’ to junk foods since these are convenient, lip smacking foods, reduces cooking time and have a greater shelf life hence our efforts to limit the use of junk foods are going in vain.

Children and adults are widely exposed to these foods which are nothing but street food, chaats, chips, soft drinks, ice creams, bakery products, chocolates, sweets, and packed foods which have been tagged as ‘junks’. ALSO READ: Ultra-Processed Food Flagged For Diabetes

Kids eating processed foods
Kids eating processed foods

Reasons To Refrain From Them

  • They are high in salt, sugar, bad fats , chemical additives and energy (calories)
  • Contain little or no healthy nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, or minerals.
  • According to recent research data eating such bad quality food is increasing the disease and death rate at a higher speed than smoking!
  • Junk food is linked with Non-Communicable Diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and few types of cancers. It increases the risk of being overweight which predisposes other diseases.
  • You are prone to nutritional deficiencies and this impacts your immune system.
  • It leads to poor concentration and impacts the overall development in growing children.
  • Addictive: they stimulate receptors in the brain that make you feel good due to increased dopamine level and makes one get addicted to them which is similar to the use of alcohol/tobacco.

How Should We Tackle This?

Different cultures or regions have their own perception about junk food – what may be junk food in one culture, may be considered nutritional food for another.

However, the following should be considered;

  • Educating children about the harmful effects of junk food by schools.
  • Reading food labels of packed foods / drinks to look for hidden jargons such as sodium, sucrose, glucose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maple syrup, additives, trans fat and saturated fat.
  • Replace aerated drinks with healthy drinks and plain water to prevent dehydration.
  • Try choosing baked or air fried snacks made out of millets / quinoa /peas/unpolished grains which are rich in protein, iron, fiber, calcium rather than just white rice/ white flour based preparation.
  • Switch to homemade preparation and limit processed /packaged foods though claimed as healthy.

Food industry must prioritize health and contribute in the supply of healthy products more than the unhealthy products. The more you reach out to junk or processed food, the more there is a decrease in your lifespan.

Hence switch to natural and home made preparations which is key to a healthy lifestyle.

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