Excess calories shorten lifespan, and junk foods contain a very high number of calories. Unnecessary food lacking essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc., and containing large amounts of calories, fat, and sugar is known as Junk food or Discretionary food. For example, Pizza, burgers, carbonated drinks, chocolates, etc. Nowadays, access to fast food is becoming easier. There are approximately 1.5 million restaurants in the world which is a scary amount. Even that food can now also be ordered online if you don’t want to go outside to buy it. This kind of availability of junk food has increased the risk of several disorders among the population, especially teenagers who really need to eat nutritious food.
What changes occur to your body on eating junk food?
Changes occur to the body even before eating the food as sight also plays an important role in sending nerve impulses to the brain to run different mechanisms. These mechanisms help the body to modulate its hormonal levels in response to food cues. These responses are called cephalic responses. The more you like food, the more hormones are released. Junk foods with low nutritional content and high sugar level can affect cephalic responses . The efficacy of glucose deposition is also affected by the influence of visual stimulation before a meal . Within one hour of eating junk food, the blood sugar and glucose levels start to decrease. The dopamine hormone is also released when you see, touch, smell, chew, and ultimately swallow your favorite food and it activates the reward center of your brain which in turn increases the urge to eat more. High glycemic white flour product with high sugar and acrylamides content floods the bloodstream with glucose without nutrients and fiber, and further increases glycoproteins in body tissues. Furthermore, the oil content in junk food contains a large number of calories that are absorbed rapidly by the body, thus increasing the risk of obesity and premature aging. Detoxification of the toxic content starts in the catabolic phase, the phase that starts after eating. More junk food consumption can cause uncomfortable feelings during this phase.
Disorders caused by eating junk food
Junk food availability can increase BMI and obesity . Furthermore, the combination of a sedentary lifestyle with junk food causes a large number of diseases some of which are listed below:
- Diabetes Type I and II
- Metabolic syndrome
- Neurological & Psychological issues
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Non-alcoholic Fatty liver disease
- Hypertension and Migraines
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Autoimmune disorders
More sweet dishes and dessert consumption causes a decline in intelligence and the brain cells start to degenerate. While heart diseases are more likely to get promoted by increased animal products, saturated fats, refined-carbohydrate, maple syrup, white rice, white bread, and sugar.
How often can you eat junk food?
Well, I will not compel you to completely leave it because I too eat fast food but to a limited extent. So, you can eat junk food occasionally but keep in mind that it must not exceed 10 percent of an individual’s daily energy intake as it is not nutritious. Perhaps two burgers per week or one small chocolate per day are enough to fulfill your desire. The more you eat the more you move nearer to the edge of chaos.
How to stop eating Junk food?
Follow the following points to get rid of excessive junk food consumption:
- Eradicate any source around you that stimulates the desire to eat junk food.
- Start taking a nutritarian diet enriched with the vital and essential nutrients needed by the body.
- Start doing gym
- Increase the intake of phytochemicals and antioxidants.
- Avoid going to the restaurant with friends in order to stay away from junk food.
- Check the calendar daily at night and ask yourself how many days you skipped without eating junk food.
- Spread awareness among others also to not eat junk food.
Effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on junk food consumption
The combination of online food services and the covid-19 pandemic has greatly increased junk food consumption. Mandatory stay-at-home orders have greatly affected dietary habits. Increased screen time and unstructured work time have been closely associated with overeating. Furthermore, irregular eating patterns during the quarantine proved very unhealthy. Consumption of carbonated drinks also increased during the lockdown. An international online survey was also conducted in several languages among the population of Europe, Western Asia, North Africa, and the Americas. The questionnaire revealed that most people used to eat fast food late at night.
Influence of TV advertisements on junk food consumption
Everyone is influenced by Television and social media advertisements, especially children. Advertisements about nutritious foods promote positive attitudes among children. Similarly, the ads about junk food have a negative impact on them. A survey was taken in which 919 students of grades 5th and 6th from schools in Australia were involved. According to the survey, television advertisements for junk food increased the consumption of fast foods. Besides television advertisements, excessive usage of television to watch cartoons, dramas, and news must also be avoided as it can lead to poor dietary practices. Between 1967 and 1970, US federal government promoted anti-smoking ads which resulted in a decreased smoking consumption. Similarly, the anti-junk food campaign must also be started on television and social media to reduce junk food consumption.
Role of parents & government to reduce junk food consumption
Parents and government, both of these can play an effective role in the development of a good society. Parents play a primary role while government plays a secondary role. See how both of these can play a significant role in reducing junk food consumption:
Role of parents in reducing junk food consumption:
- Parents should train their kids from a young age to eat healthily
- They must limit the outing of their children
- Engage kids in cooking stuff
- Parents must take care of the nutrition of their children
- Parents must provide proper knowledge of health & wellness to their kids
- They should explore the choices of their kids to determine the best food for them
- A nutritious lunch box must be given to kids so that they don’t eat any junk food
- Parents must spend time with children so that they don’t spend more time outside
- They should keep check and balance of children’s diet outside the home
Role of government in reducing junk food consumption:
- Government must run anti-junk food campaigns
- Government must run advertisements about awareness of health & nutrition on social media
- The educational system must be improved to provide healthy foods in institutions
- Must provide a healthy environment for the public in which healthy food is obtainable
- Restricting access to sugar-sweetened drinks for students
- Junk food or discretionary food lacks nutrients and is harmful if eaten excessively.
- An individual can eat junk food occasionally
- Junk food can disturb several mechanisms in the body
- Junk food can cause several harmful and fatal diseases
- If you are addicted to junk food then follow the points mentioned above to get rid of this thing
- Parents, government, TV ads, and institutions play a significant role in influencing junk food consumption
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