What is junk food?
Junk food is defined as a finely processed food with minimal nutritional value. They have empty calories. In other words, they provide minimal macronutrients to the body. Junk food is usually high in salt, sugar, and fat. These foods range from convenience foods to fast foods. The term junk food is the broad umbrella of this unhealthy food item. It is essential to desist from consuming food items like potato chips, chocolate, biscuits, and cheese. Sparing consumption of junk food should be recommended during special functions and events. Nutritionally, junk foods are high in calories though they provide limited minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. These micronutrients are essential for maintaining healthy nutritional status and health.
Junk foods are industrially processed deliberately to attract the consumers. They are appealing and enjoyable. They have highly-palatable content to create the craving sensation among consumers. The cost of purchasing junk foods is favorably reduced to encourage and boost the consumption. Consumption of junk foods is discouraged since they contain excess bad cholesterol and sodium which are the predisposing factors to high blood pressure and convulsion. Fast foods are predominantly served in restaurants.
Women are the most affected population in consumption of junk foods. The consumption of junk foods may save time and money during working hours, however, excessive consumption of this food is harmful to the body as well as the mind. Dietitians advocate for limited intake of junk foods especially among individuals with a sedentary lifestyle. Surprisingly, the craving for junk foods has gone global. Television and social media have contributed to the widespread intake of junk food.
Why is it bad to eat junk food?
Nutritionists have discovered that junk foods are low in satiation value. There is overconsumption of junk foods because people do not feel full when eating them. Dietary fiber is essential in providing food bulkiness and a feeling of satiety. However, fast foods like potato chips and chocolate are sweet and enjoyable. There is a tendency to overeat these food items since they have little or no dietary fiber. Overeating junk foods contributes to excessive weight gain and obesity. Sparing your intake of convenience foods and adding physical exercise and an active life is recommended.
Overconsumption of junk food may replace the intake of other essential and nutritious groups. Feeling the stomach with soda or chips may reduce the intake of fiber in the gut. Food variety and nutrient adequacy are imperative for improved nutritional status.
Snacking chips most frequently is harmful since it does not promote dietary diversity. Eating of junk foods promotes hidden hunger or nutrient insecurity among the people. Despite the feeling of satiety after a heavy meal of convenient food, the body cells are physiologically starved since they do not adequate nutrient to support metabolic processes.
A prolonged fast food diet may lead to micronutrient deficiencies. Finally, eating junk food is addictive to people. The addictive behavior from junk food is unhealthy and uneconomical in the end. Purchasing of fast foods promote impulse buying in the restaurant to make the meal complete. Expectant mothers addicted to fast food are likely to have low birth weight babies. Similarly, children may deliberately fail to eat a healthy diet which is less appealing but nutrient dense. Precisely, consumption of junk foods may promote bad eating behaviors associated with eating disorders.
What are the effects of eating junk food?
Besides contributing to unhealthy body fats, junk foods are associated with various common diseases. The most common nutritional disorders and conditions associated with overconsumption of junk foods include diabetes, obesity, heart disease and chronic inflammation among others. Based on this reason, dieticians refer to junk foods as pathogenic food. However, through social media foods industries have waged massive campaigns to rebrand these foods as harmless and fit for consumption.
Despite the various disguises of fast foods, it is amazing and interesting how the media has successfully fooled even the most careful and intelligent consumer to adopt the fast food diet. According to the market feasibility study, fast food business around higher learning institution and other business premises is the most successful venture around the globe. The following are some of the health conditions caused by excessive intake of junk food.
Excessive consumption of processed sugars often leads to elevation of plasma insulin levels. Embracing a diet full of junk food contributes to chronic high insulin levels. This condition may prompt the body cells to start ignoring insulin hormone. The condition is referred to as insulin resistance. The person may suffer from obesity as well as type 2 diabetes. The condition is present in the population of teenagers who are obsessed with junk food.
Depression is a common feeling among the teenage population. This condition can be initiated by the consumption of fast foods. According to nutritionists, a healthy diet is essential in keeping hormonal levels on an even keel. However, empty calorie diets may fall short of this requirement. For instance, the a consumption of trans-fats and processed foods is associated with a nearly 60 percent rise in the risk of depression.
The high epidemic of obesity in developing countries is associated with consumption of junk food. Teenagers who predominantly consume convenience foods have less dietary fiber but excess processed sugars. The junk food contributes to gains in body weight. The unwanted increase in body weight causes obesity disorders among the population. Obesity disorders predispose individuals to cardiovascular diseases and other chronic conditions.
- Nutrient deficiency
Industrially processed food items may have empty calories. For instance, nutritionists disparage refined maize flour rather than whole grain flour. During industrial processing, vitamins, minerals, and fiber are removed from the maize. Eating refined food products may contribute to nutritional deficiency. Children deficient from one or more nutrient may have mood swings, sleep disturbance as well as retarded mental development.
How to stop eating junk food?
The consumption of fast foods should be done in moderation. A healthy diet should consist of a variety of food sources. Food diversity helps to promote nutrient adequacy and nutrient density. This contributes to a healthy lifestyle and eating behaviors. is essential to good health. However, it may be challenging to control an addiction to junk food. The following are some of the methods to control the intake of junk foods.
- Nutritional education
Conducting massive nutritional education to improve the nutritional knowledge of people about junk food is critical. The majority of consumers are illiterate on the effects of excessive consumption of junk food. Despite being informed, some consumers do not understand the nutritional profile of junk food. Nutritional education will, therefore, help to boost consumers’ awareness.
- Nutritional counseling
Nutritional counseling and meal planning by professional and registered dieticians are critical to change the consumption patterns of the society. Dieticians should assist consumers in planning healthy diets for the whole day. Counseling may also enable consumers to understand the composition of junk foods.
- Doing research and improving the cooking skills
Consumers should conduct extensive research work on the healthy diet and pathogenic diet. Consumers should be cautious with food labeling and branding before making a purchase in the supermarket. Similarly, improving cooking skills is also critical to control junk foods. Limit the number of fats and sodium added to the food during preparation.
Are you or your loved ones addicted to junk food?
What are you doing to stop eating junk food?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.