Keep Off Junk Foods

The good old nutritious food of yesteryear is fast being replaced by a host of exotic junk foods that comprise anything that is quick, tasty, convenient and fashionable. Junk foods seem to have made inroads into the food habits of every age, every race, and the worst-affected are children.

Junk food or fast food culture is taking roots against the backdrop of a complex society that is undergoing fast changes. Concepts, relationships, lifestyles are metamorphosed to accommodate the young generation who are on a fast

Wafers, colas, pizzas and burgers are suddenly the most important thing. The commonest scenario is a child who returns from school and posts himself in front of the television, faithfully accompanied by a bowl of wafers and a can of cola. Children suddenly seem to have stepped into a world of fast foods and vending machines, totally unaware of the havoc they are creating for themselves. 

Ground realities

It is a tragedy that, these days, traditional food skills are not passed on automatically from parents to child. Most people have forgotten that the primary reason for eating is nourishment. In the not-so-distant past, food was treated with reverence because of its life-sustaining quality. Enjoying a meal was sharing experience with the others. Today, family dinners are rare. In many ways, our culture is structured to promote unhealthy eating habits. Television commercials and supermarkets are propagating a wide variety of enticing junk foods, attractively packaged and often tagged with freebies. Instead of constructing an environment that protects our children, knowingly or unknowingly, we are creating a highly seductive environment that undermines healthy eating habits.

Studies reveal that, as early as the age of 30, arteries could begin clogging and setting the stage for future heart attacks. What children eat from puberty affects their risks of prostate cancer and breast cancer. Osteoporosis and hypertension are other diseases that appear to have their earliest roots in childhood when lifelong eating habits are being formed. Poor diets can slow growth, decay new teeth, promote obesity and sow the seeds of infirmity and debilitating disease that ultimately lead to incurable and fatal diseases.

Most of the times, these junk foods contain colours that are often carcinogenic and harmful to the body. These foods and their colours can affect digestive systems, the effects of it emerging after many years. Studies have found that food colouring can cause hyperactivity and lapses of concentration in children. Children suffering from learning disabilities are often advised against eating artificially coloured chocolates, colas, flavoured drinks and snack tit bits.

It has also been found in studies that poor nutritional habits can affect children’s concentration on studies and affect the strength that children need for making friends, interacting with family, and participating in sports and games. There is no better time than now to build a supportive environment for nurturing our children and endowing them with a legacy of good health. Children who eat a lot of junk foods may develop nutritional deficiencies that lead to low energy, mood swings, sleep disturbance and poor academic achievement, among other health conditions, according to a study by University of New Hampshire.

Junk food is food that is calorie-dense and nutrient-poor. In recent decades, consumption of junk food, fast food and convenience food in the United States have increased dramatically, with 25% of people now consuming predominantly junk-food diets. This trend has occurred concurrently with rising epidemics of numerous chronic diseases and accounts for a long list of reasons why eating junk food is bad.

(Read the full part of this article in the November Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)

Author: SubEditor

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