Accessibility to junk food is increased in educational institute than ever before. More than 150 million children are obese in 2019 worldwide and are at higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Teenagers with obesity have a higher rate of being fat throughout their life, because in obesity they adapt lifestyles that can never be changed without the help of experts (nutritionists). Unhealthy food not only impact physical health but also mental health and affect the developing brain in a negative way. Adolescents consume more calories dense diet (junk), as in their growing age they need more energy to satisfy their higher satiety level.
Adolescents brains are more prone to get affected due to unhealthy diet, as in this age brain growth is at its maximum, this kind of diet can have negative impact on mental health. Junk food contains high levels of sugar or fats and fewer levels of dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals. They contain high levels of non- nutritious ingredients such as sugar, oil, salt and fats and can tend to cause obesity. It has been researched that our stomach contains various microbial species which exhibit the body cell to fight against diabetes, obesity, gut problems and coronary issues but junk food executes the activity of these microbes and promote the level of occurrence of diseases mentioned above.
Processed meat used in junk food contains high levels of salts and oil, people consider it as healthy and safe as eating normally cooked meat at home but they do not know the fact that they are eating diseases. The most common fast food worldwide are burgers, pizzas, deserts, gums, candies, fries, sandwiches etc. But it is not necessary that all the above-mentioned food can never be healthy, there is an option depending upon the selection of ingredients used in these foods.
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How many times can I eat junk food?
It is the frequently asked question from doctors and nutritionists and the answer is; as fast food is not a part of healthy food it is advised to eat more than once a week and in a small portion size, but if you are trying to lose weight you can only be successful by limiting the junk intake.
Why is junk food unhealthy?
As we all know it contains a huge amount of salt, sugar, oils etc. more than our body requirement, it’s better not to eat junk very regularly.
Junk contains so much calories and can lead to overeating in terms of daily recommended calories. 35% of daily energy intake comes from junk food, and in kids 41% of their daily energy intake comes from junk food.
Which foods are considered healthy?
Fresh fruits and vegetables 3-4 servings daily, meat 2-3 servings and bread pasta and cereal 6-11, milk and yogurts 2-3 servings daily and use oils and fats sparingly.
Where to get help for healthy eating?
Visit a registered dietitian (RD) and discuss your eating habits and lifestyle and get help to improve your health. He/she will calculate your calories and will make a good and healthy eating diet plan for you.
Key to good health
- Always keep in mind these few points
- We all know how tasty junk food tastes but if they are consumed more than a safer limit, they can lead to serious health problems
- Always keep calories count in mind
- Junk food is not a part of healthy diet
Supermarkets claim that customers' health is their top priority and gain customer’s trust but in actual they are promoting junk food for their own benefit. All the junk food chains also claim to have healthy food but in actual junk can never be healthy and promotion of junk food is actually promotion of diseases and they are unhealthy. They are displaying more promotions on unhealthy food than healthy food,it is almost becoming difficult to afford organic food, unless we grow in our own garden which is not possible for everyone due to less availability of space and time. Supermarkets usually display unhealthy food such as drinks, gum, chocolates and energy drinks at the checkout counter to attract more customers at the time of waiting for the billing process.
It matters where you live
Stores located in disadvantaged areas have a higher number of unhealthy foods than healthy food (chocolates, jellies, biscuits, soft drinks, soda drinks). They have filled their greater number of shelves with junk and processed food. People of lower middle class have higher rates of getting diseases from unhealthy food than people in upper class and they are less likely to eat unhealthy food because of more available options. Super markets can promote healthy eating habits by replacing shelves of unhealthy food with the healthy ones. They should display healthy food at checkout counters to draw the customers’ attention towards healthy food. They should also offer less discounts on unhealthy food and give less space to healthy food on their shelves and they should also ensure more healthy food in the stores of disadvantaged areas to promote good health and to avoid diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity etc.
Role of social media
In all the factors causing health issues, social media is the least discussed topic. It impacts the adolescent brain in a negative way and produces cravings for junk food. As they get money for playing ads on various sites kids are unable to distinguish the difference between promotional content or entertainment content. Even if adults are able to distinguish between these contents, they are still vulnerable due to temptation. Regulators should enforce laws for the content of ad playing on channels and sites for children to avoid any health consequences later. Child’s overall exposure to junk food marketing should be reduced, this is the only way we can avoid serious health issues. Platforms use social media and other platforms to get data of the kids who are more interested in or are vulnerable to junk food. Better health of children is very essential for their better and healthy future and to protect them from miserable life.