An easy way to counter hunger seems to be the one thing that counters good health – Junk Food. Chips, aerated waters, burgers, pizzas, frozen foods and the like are pocket-friendly foods and yet, affect health in the long run. As their name suggests, Junk Food is poor in nutritional quality and high in carbohydrates, saturated fats, sugars and low in the necessary amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Why are we unhealthy?
Moreover, because fast foods are processed and readily available, artificial colours and flavours are added to enhance appearance and taste, which works brilliantly amongst the youth. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a common taste enhancer widely used in fast food which not only affects health but also makes the food terribly addictive thereby increasing one’s daily intake.
Processed foods are high in sugar and salt making them unhealthy substitutes for fresh products. Moreover, because they taste delicious, people tend to make them a staple.
Maida (an all-purpose flour) is present in most fast foods – pizzas, burgers, samosas, etc. and does not contain dietary fibre or good fats. And because it is a pure carbohydrate, it tends to spike cholesterol levels. French fries, instant noodles and all kinds of chips – a common accompaniment to the already unhealthy burger, are extremely high in unsaturated fats likely to cause coronary artery disease.
A second accompaniment, aerated waters too are known to contain high amounts of sugar (9 grams per 100 ml) which is extremely likely to widen your waistband. And if it doesn’t show on you physically, it tends to do so internally. High sugars can lead to illnesses like diabetes, very common amongst those who regularly indulge in sugary items.
Although studies are attempting to make people more and more aware of the dangers of this lifestyle, the convenience, availability, taste and low cost compels people, especially students, to indulge. While anything in excess is bad for health, junk food should be reduced to a minimum so as to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
A balanced diet contributes best in this respect. Such a diet gives your body the necessary nutrients it requires to function effectively – fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (like oatmeal and brown rice), nuts and lean protein (the likes of eggs, almonds and chicken breast). Without good nutrition, your body tends to become more and more prone to disease, infection and fatigue, thereby, inevitably performing poorly. An unbalanced diet can even lead to a stunted growth and inadequate development amongst children.
Most people living in urban areas tend to consume empty calories like bacon, sausages, energy drinks, cookies and cakes that not only leave one wanting more but also in a worse condition than before.
Because these fast foods immediately quell hunger pangs, they become an immediate choice for people across the globe. However, once you reduce your intake of these calorie-laden products, you’ll immediately notice an improvement in mood, skin, muscle tone and sleep patterns. You’ll automatically begin to feel healthier and more alert.
The only way to combat the junk food menace is to gradually replace frozen foods with fresh food – make a patty instead of buying one, pick a fresh juice over a soft drink and try to increase your intake of fresh fruit instead of canned products, ice creams and other sugary desserts.
The choice is yours – immediate gratification or a long, fulfilling and healthy life.