How About a Junk Food a Day? | Possible

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Colourful, scrumptious and of course, the convenient snacks are surrounding us, inviting us and therefore, worth trying.

Isn’t it? Who can say no if it’s been offered by someone or is in right front of you!! But beware!! It still is Junk food and can be as threatening as poison.

Table of Contents:

What is Junk Food?

Globalisation is fastening its grip when it comes to altering common people’s lifestyle, making it more simpler, convenient and fascinating at the same time.

Fast food is one such trend, emerging at a fast pace at the global level including both developed and developing nations.

All fast foods are not unhealthy like salads but personal preference influences the choice and therefore, people do prefer another aspect of this fast food i.e. Junk food.

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But do you know that junk food is so much potential for converting your body system into a junk?

So what are these junk foods? What category do they belong to and how harmful they are to your body?

According to Andrew F. Smith, in his book, Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast food, junk foods are ‘those commercial products, including candies, bakery goods, ice cream, salty snacks and soft drinks, which have no nutritional value but plenty of calories, salts, sugars and fats’. That means

1. It can be signified by its content of ‘empty calories’

2. Have low satiety value- giving a low feeling of fullness as compared to the ethnic food, due to lack of vital nutrients like fibre and protein.

The history of Junk food

The emergence of fast food came into vicinity after the industrialization globally, especially in Europe and the United States of America.

Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michel Jacobson, was the one who invented this term “Junk food” and used it for the first time in 1972.

In India, with the beginning of 20th century, a phase ofNutrition Transition start taking shape.

People are shifting from a balanced diet with balanced nutrients to dense, calorie-rich food options with high carbohydrates and fats.

There has been an increment in junk food consumption attributing to increased commercialization and easy accessibility.

According to Euromonitor International, a market research firm, the sales of processed and packaged food has increased up to 138 per cent and up to 58 per cent for carbonated beverages.

Statistics to consider

A study was conducted by the World Health Organization and published in the Lancet, in 2017.

There has been a tenfold increment in childhood obesity from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016. On top of that, 216 million children are found to be overweight

The study also highlighted the consumption of fast food as the reason behind this alarming statistics and suggested the implementation of Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) by various countries.

The International Diabetes Federation claimed that by 2040, over 123 million people will suffer from diabetes attributing to consumption of high-calorie diet.

Health impact of Junk or Processed food

There are many adverse effects of consuming the processed foods depending upon the
1. Amount being consumed   2. Frequency of consumption

The health impacts may not reflect at that instant but in the long run, the consequences can be life-threatening. Some of the major health impacts are:

Increased risk of chronic diseases:

The consumption of ultra-processed foods rich in calories, salt, sugar and fat, is one of the major reason for the non- communicable, chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Hormonal imbalance-

The consumption of empty calories results in nutritional deficiencies that cause hormonal imbalance hindering basic metabolic functions like growth, assimilation of nutrients, synthesis of hormones and cellular functions.

It affects brain functioning:

The symptoms of lack of concentration and focus, depression, high level of stress and even memory loss. This happens due to the suppressed activity of Brain Derived Neutrophic Factor, that stimulates memory and concentration power.

Negative impact on the vital organs: The excess or long-time consumption of empty calorie foods also affect vital organs like

Kidney– Due to an imbalance of sodium in the body, the blood pressure has a tendency to fluctuate, which eventually affects kidney

Liver– Large consumption of saturated and trans fats have a tendency to gets accumulated in the vital organs, specifically, in the liver as it is the major fat metabolising organ.

High risk of cancer-

A study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2014, showed the increased rate of colorectal cancer with the increased proportion of high-calorie snack foods and drinks.

Also, the preservatives, additives and chemicals added to the processed are also carcinogenic in nature.

So What are we doing about it?

The above statistics are just a glimpse of how the junk food can affect your life quality.

In India, various initiatives are been taken by organisations to spread awareness and prohibit the promotion of junk food.

Uday Foundation: NGO, started a campaign to stop selling junk food from schools

Indian body FBIA (Food and Beverage Alliance of India) has decided to stop the advertisements regarding high-calorie foods and beverages for children

Similarly, FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), is taking an initiative to prohibit the promotion of foods with high fat, salt and sugar.

Still searching for Junk food day diet?

There should never be any excuse to take a risk against your health. The market is flooded with the variety of fast foods, processed and packaged food.

With good knowledge, awareness and conscience, you can relish the delicacies without any harm to the body.

Make wise choices-

Learn to differentiate between good or bad. Pick healthy options among the long list of menu.

For example- opt for multigrain paneer sandwich instead of aloo sandwich. Opt for grilled chicken with vegetables rather than heading for fried chicken.

Make fast food your friend-

All the fast foods are not unhealthy. With little twists and innovation, we can bring out the healthy aspect without much effort.

For example- you can add nuts and seeds to your regular salad. Similarly, opt for peanut/amaranth chikki or dark chocolate when craving for sweets.

Learn about Nutrition label-

This one factor can really help in making wise or bad choices.

Nutrition label gets true insight rather than the health and nutrition claims because of nutrient specificity.

Small changes and steps everytime are capable of making big changes. Choose wisely.

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