Frontiers for Young Minds
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The Impacts of Junk Food on Health
Energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, otherwise known as junk foods, have never been more accessible and available. Young people are bombarded with unhealthy junk-food choices daily, and this can lead to life-long dietary habits that are difficult to undo. In this article, we explore the scientific evidence behind both the short-term and long-term impacts of junk food consumption on our health.
The world is currently facing an obesity epidemic, which puts people at risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Junk food can contribute to obesity and yet it is becoming a part of our everyday lives because of our fast-paced lifestyles. Life can be jam-packed when you are juggling school, sport, and hanging with friends and family! Junk food companies make food convenient, tasty, and affordable, so it has largely replaced preparing and eating healthy homemade meals. Junk foods include foods like burgers, fried chicken, and pizza from fast-food restaurants, as well as packaged foods like chips, biscuits, and ice-cream, sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, fatty meats like bacon, sugary cereals, and frozen ready meals like lasagne. These are typically highly processed foods , meaning several steps were involved in making the food, with a focus on making them tasty and thus easy to overeat. Unfortunately, junk foods provide lots of calories and energy, but little of the vital nutrients our bodies need to grow and be healthy, like proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Australian teenagers aged 14–18 years get more than 40% of their daily energy from these types of foods, which is concerning [ 1 ]. Junk foods are also known as discretionary foods , which means they are “not needed to meet nutrient requirements and do not belong to the five food groups” [ 2 ]. According to the dietary guidelines of Australian and many other countries, these five food groups are grains and cereals, vegetables and legumes, fruits, dairy and dairy alternatives, and meat and meat alternatives.
Young people are often the targets of sneaky advertising tactics by junk food companies, which show our heroes and icons promoting junk foods. In Australia, cricket, one of our favorite sports, is sponsored by a big fast-food brand. Elite athletes like cricket players are not fuelling their bodies with fried chicken, burgers, and fries! A study showed that adolescents aged 12–17 years view over 14.4 million food advertisements in a single year on popular websites, with cakes, cookies, and ice cream being the most frequently advertised products [ 3 ]. Another study examining YouTube videos popular amongst children reported that 38% of all ads involved a food or beverage and 56% of those food ads were for junk foods [ 4 ].
What Happens to Our Bodies Shortly After We Eat Junk Foods?
Food is made up of three major nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. There are also vitamins and minerals in food that support good health, growth, and development. Getting the proper nutrition is very important during our teenage years. However, when we eat junk foods, we are consuming high amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which are quickly absorbed by the body.
Let us take the example of eating a hamburger. A burger typically contains carbohydrates from the bun, proteins and fats from the beef patty, and fats from the cheese and sauce. On average, a burger from a fast-food chain contains 36–40% of your daily energy needs and this does not account for any chips or drinks consumed with it ( Figure 1 ). This is a large amount of food for the body to digest—not good if you are about to hit the cricket pitch!
- Figure 1 - The nutritional composition of a popular burger from a famous fast-food restaurant, detailing the average quantity per serving and per 100 g.
- The carbohydrates of a burger are mainly from the bun, while the protein comes from the beef patty. Large amounts of fat come from the cheese and sauce. Based on the Australian dietary guidelines, just one burger can be 36% of the recommended daily energy intake for teenage boys aged 12–15 years and 40% of the recommendations for teenage girls 12–15 years.
A few hours to a few days after eating rich, heavy foods such as a burger, unpleasant symptoms like tiredness, poor sleep, and even hunger can result ( Figure 2 ). Rather than providing an energy boost, junk foods can lead to a lack of energy. For a short time, sugar (a type of carbohydrate) makes people feel energized, happy, and upbeat as it is used by the body for energy. However, refined sugar , which is the type of sugar commonly found in junk foods, leads to a quick drop in blood sugar levels because it is digested quickly by the body. This can lead tiredness and cravings [ 5 ].
- Figure 2 - The short- and long-term impacts of junk food consumption.
- In the short-term, junk foods can make you feel tired, bloated, and unable to concentrate. Long-term, junk foods can lead to tooth decay and poor bowel habits. Junk foods can also lead to obesity and associated diseases such as heart disease. When junk foods are regularly consumed over long periods of time, the damages and complications to health are increasingly costly.
Fiber is a good carbohydrate commonly found in vegetables, fruits, barley, legumes, nuts, and seeds—foods from the five food groups. Fiber not only keeps the digestive system healthy, but also slows the stomach’s emptying process, keeping us feeling full for longer. Junk foods tend to lack fiber, so when we eat them, we notice decreasing energy and increasing hunger sooner.
Foods such as walnuts, berries, tuna, and green veggies can boost concentration levels. This is particularly important for young minds who are doing lots of schoolwork. These foods are what most elite athletes are eating! On the other hand, eating junk foods can lead to poor concentration. Eating junk foods can lead to swelling in the part of the brain that has a major role in memory. A study performed in humans showed that eating an unhealthy breakfast high in fat and sugar for 4 days in a row caused disruptions to the learning and memory parts of the brain [ 6 ].
Long-Term Impacts of Junk Foods
If we eat mostly junk foods over many weeks, months, or years, there can be several long-term impacts on health ( Figure 2 ). For example, high saturated fat intake is strongly linked with high levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, which can be a sign of heart disease. Respected research studies found that young people who eat only small amounts of saturated fat have lower total cholesterol levels [ 7 ].
Frequent consumption of junk foods can also increase the risk of diseases such as hypertension and stroke. Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure and a stroke is damage to the brain from reduced blood supply, which prevents the brain from receiving the oxygen and nutrients it needs to survive. Hypertension and stroke can occur because of the high amounts of cholesterol and salt in junk foods.
Furthermore, junk foods can trigger the “happy hormone,” dopamine , to be released in the brain, making us feel good when we eat these foods. This can lead us to wanting more junk food to get that same happy feeling again [ 8 ]. Other long-term effects of eating too much junk food include tooth decay and constipation. Soft drinks, for instance, can cause tooth decay due to high amounts of sugar and acid that can wear down the protective tooth enamel. Junk foods are typically low in fiber too, which has negative consequences for gut health in the long term. Fiber forms the bulk of our poop and without it, it can be hard to poop!
Tips for Being Healthy
One way to figure out whether a food is a junk food is to think about how processed it is. When we think of foods in their whole and original forms, like a fresh tomato, a grain of rice, or milk squeezed from a cow, we can then start to imagine how many steps are involved to transform that whole food into something that is ready-to-eat, tasty, convenient, and has a long shelf life.
For teenagers 13–14 years old, the recommended daily energy intake is 8,200–9,900 kJ/day or 1,960 kcal-2,370 kcal/day for boys and 7,400–8,200 kJ/day or 1,770–1,960 kcal for girls, according to the Australian dietary guidelines. Of course, the more physically active you are, the higher your energy needs. Remember that junk foods are okay to eat occasionally, but they should not make up more than 10% of your daily energy intake. In a day, this may be a simple treat such as a small muffin or a few squares of chocolate. On a weekly basis, this might mean no more than two fast-food meals per week. The remaining 90% of food eaten should be from the five food groups.
In conclusion, we know that junk foods are tasty, affordable, and convenient. This makes it hard to limit the amount of junk food we eat. However, if junk foods become a staple of our diets, there can be negative impacts on our health. We should aim for high-fiber foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits; meals that have moderate amounts of sugar and salt; and calcium-rich and iron-rich foods. Healthy foods help to build strong bodies and brains. Limiting junk food intake can happen on an individual level, based on our food choices, or through government policies and health-promotion strategies. We need governments to stop junk food companies from advertising to young people, and we need their help to replace junk food restaurants with more healthy options. Researchers can focus on education and health promotion around healthy food options and can work with young people to develop solutions. If we all work together, we can help young people across the world to make food choices that will improve their short and long-term health.
Obesity : ↑ A disorder where too much body fat increases the risk of health problems.
Processed Food : ↑ A raw agricultural food that has undergone processes to be washed, ground, cleaned and/or cooked further.
Discretionary Food : ↑ Foods and drinks not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs but that may add variety to a person’s diet (according to the Australian dietary guidelines).
Refined Sugar : ↑ Sugar that has been processed from raw sources such as sugar cane, sugar beets or corn.
Saturated Fat : ↑ A type of fat commonly eaten from animal sources such as beef, chicken and pork, which typically promotes the production of “bad” cholesterol in the body.
Dopamine : ↑ A hormone that is released when the brain is expecting a reward and is associated with activities that generate pleasure, such as eating or shopping.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
 ↑ Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2013. 4324.0.55.002 - Microdata: Australian Health Survey: Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2011-12 . Australian Bureau of Statistics. Available online at: http://bit.ly/2jkRRZO (accessed December 13, 2019).
 ↑ National Health and Medical Research Council. 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary . Canberra, ACT: National Health and Medical Research Council.
 ↑ Potvin Kent, M., and Pauzé, E. 2018. The frequency and healthfulness of food and beverages advertised on adolescents’ preferred web sites in Canada. J. Adolesc. Health. 63:102–7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.01.007
 ↑ Tan, L., Ng, S. H., Omar, A., and Karupaiah, T. 2018. What’s on YouTube? A case study on food and beverage advertising in videos targeted at children on social media. Child Obes. 14:280–90. doi: 10.1089/chi.2018.0037
 ↑ Gómez-Pinilla, F. 2008. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 9, 568–78. doi: 10.1038/nrn2421
 ↑ Attuquayefio, T., Stevenson, R. J., Oaten, M. J., and Francis, H. M. 2017. A four-day western-style dietary intervention causes reductions in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory and interoceptive sensitivity. PLoS ONE . 12:e0172645. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172645
 ↑ Te Morenga, L., and Montez, J. 2017. Health effects of saturated and trans-fatty acid intake in children and adolescents: systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 12:e0186672. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186672
 ↑ Reichelt, A. C. 2016. Adolescent maturational transitions in the prefrontal cortex and dopamine signaling as a risk factor for the development of obesity and high fat/high sugar diet induced cognitive deficits. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 10. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00189
Effects of junk food.
Junk food has become an important part of our everyday diet. From fast food chains to convenience stores, it's easy to find and tempting to eat. However, the effects of junk food on our health are not to be taken lightly. Here are some of the most significant ways that junk food can negatively impact our bodies.
Obesity: One of the most significant effects of junk food is that it can lead to obesity. Junk food is often high in calories, fat, and sugar, which can quickly add up and lead to weight gain. This excess weight can put a strain on the heart, joints, and other organs, increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Junk food often lacks essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These nutrients are critical for maintaining a healthy body and supporting vital functions such as digestion, immune function, and growth and development. When we rely on junk food for our nutrition, we miss out on these important nutrients, which can lead to deficiencies and health problems.
Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases
As mentioned earlier, junk food consumption can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Junk food is often high in saturated and trans fats, which can contribute to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, leading to an increased risk of heart disease. Additionally, consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to insulin resistance, a condition that can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes.
Poor Mental Health
Studies have shown that a diet high in junk food can negatively impact mental health, including depression, anxiety, and poor memory. The lack of essential nutrients in junk food can contribute to poor brain function, while the excess sugar can lead to fluctuations in mood and energy levels.
Poor Dental health
Junk food, which is high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, can have a negative impact on dental health. It can cause problems like tooth decay, gum bleeding, eventual tooth loss, bad breath, gingivitis, sensitive teeth, and an increased risk of cavities. Instead, eat more lean protein, vegetables, fruits, calcium and nuts that strengthen the teeth and practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
What is junk food addiction?
Junk food can be addictive, and many people find it challenging to stop consuming it once they start. The high levels of sugar and fat in junk food can trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This can lead to cravings and compulsive eating behaviors, making it challenging to maintain a healthy diet. Junk food is available everywhere we go. We know that Junk food is bad for our health, but still, we can’t resist. If you want to reduce the risk of your health issues, then take a pledge to stop eating junk food.
Taking the ‘Junk’ out of Junk Food
There are many healthy and delicious alternatives to junk foods that can provide essential nutrients and energy without the negative effects. Here are some ideas for a healthy snack and meal alternatives:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great alternative to junk food snacks. They are low in calories, high in fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, and are a great way to satisfy a sweet or savory craving.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, making them a great snack option. They can be eaten on their own, added to salads or smoothies, or used as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal.
Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread are great alternatives to refined grains found in junk food. They provide sustained energy and essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, and tofu are a great alternative to processed meats in junk food. They provide essential amino acids and are important for building and repairing muscle tissue.
Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts are an important part of a healthy diet. They provide sustained energy, support brain function, and help keep you full and satisfied.
By incorporating these healthy alternatives into your diet, you can reduce your consumption of junk food and improve your overall health and well-being.
In conclusion, while the occasional indulgence in junk food may not be harmful, regular consumption can have severe negative effects on our health. The best way to maintain a healthy diet is to focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. By making small changes to our eating habits, we can improve our overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
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Make an appointment just in few minutes - call us now, 040-68334455, frequently asked questions, 1. what are the harmful effects of junk food.
The harmful effects of junk food are:
- Heart Disease and Stroke
- Blood Sugar Spike
- Dental Problems
- Skin Issues
- High Blood Pressure
- Bloating and Puffiness
- Increase in Anxiety
2. How does junk food affect memory?
Junk food alters the brain in many ways including impair thinking, learning, and memory. It can also make controlling impulsive behaviors more difficult.
3. Can junk food cause diabetes?
Regular consumption of junk food can increase the risk of developing obesity and diabetes.
Junk Food Essay
Junk food is a type of meal which is unhealthy and can negatively affect an individual’s health if consumed excessively. It is usually prepared, cooked, and served quickly. In the past, people used to eat healthy and home cooked meals. However, nowadays changes have occurred. People, especially young adults, prefer to eat junk food which causes a lot of harmful diseases. If the number of individuals eating fast food started to increase rapidly, it will lead to many serious disadvantages. This essay will mention the various causes and effects of eating a lot junk food on our lives. First of all, our recent lifestyle is the main reason why people nowadays consume such vast amounts of junk food. In this generation, media and advertisement, such as television and radio commercials, are the main reasons behind people eating too much junk food as media hypnotizes and brain washes people into buying what seems to be delicious and cheap. According to a new report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, in 2012, $4.6 billion was spent by junk food industry solely on advertising to support everyday visits by young people to fast food restaurants, mainly focusing on young children (Orciari, 2013).Since people are busy with their work and are always on the go, they have no time to cook, and are obligated to eat outside. Therefore, they spend less quality time together as a family. According to a survey, in some days, 55% of the UAE parents who have jobs mention that they do not even have one meal a day (Staff, 2014). These days, almost all women work full time jobs to gain income; therefore, they barely have time to cook for their families. If they do have time, they would be too tired to cook a proper balanced meal at the end of ... ... middle of paper ... ...e owner by paying the rent. According to Business Insider, last year, nearly 1000 restaurants opened in New York City. The next 5 years, 800 of them will go out of business due to many reasons such as poor service, horrible décor and so on (LAYA, 2011). The owner will be forced to close the business due to the negative impact to the profit. In conclusion, junk food is a type of meal that is very cheap, enjoyable, and delicious. However, some causes of eating too much junk food are current lifestyle and spending extra money, and some effects would be health diseases and financial influence. Reduce eating fast food and start eating healthier food such as salad. If people eat fast food everyday or continuously, it can lead to many serious drawbacks such as health problems. Therefore, it is advised for individuals to look after their health and beware of what they eat.
In this essay, the author
- Explains that junk food is unhealthy and can negatively affect an individual's health if consumed excessively.
- Explains that media and advertisement, such as television and radio commercials, are the main reasons behind people eating too much junk food.
- Explains that eating junk food forces people to spend additional unnecessary money, which leads to overtime at a noticeable loss financially and materialistically.
- Explains that eating too much junk food results in health problems, such as obesity, which causes 300,000 deaths and $100 billion for health care costs.
- Explains that eating junk food causes health problems and financial problems, and that it's wiser to spend money on healthier alternatives.
- Concludes that junk food is a cheap, enjoyable, and delicious meal, but some causes of eating too much are current lifestyle and spending extra money. reduce eating fast food and start eating healthier food such as salad.
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Why So Many People Eat Junk Food
Junk food has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and one must wonder why, considering that most people know, to a certain extent, that it possesses some unhealthy qualities. One key reason that people eat junk food is because of the advertisements that continue to make it progressively popular. They lurk in the corners of every store and on nearly every main road. Another reason for the large scale consumption of junk food is simply because of its taste. Its flavor appeals to the taste buds and makes one want to keep eating it. Also, at costs as low as three dollars, one can easily purchase the food at any store or gas station. Finally, there is the ease of preparation that junk food allows. All one must do is open the package and, viola, breakfast, lunch, dinner, or mid-day snack is served. After seeing only a few of the reasons for the popularity of junk food, does it come as any surprise that so many people eat it?
Fast Food Obesity Essay
Is fast food to blame for more obese Americans? Fast food restaurants advertise all their ingredients in plain sight. They provide healthy options to their more popular foods such as grilled items, skinless options, low calorie/no calorie beverages, and small portion orders. Most obese Americans are overweight because they are uneducated about the dangers of fast food. Once they learn about eating healthy, managing overweight issues becomes more elementary. Fast food restaurants should not be blamed for America 's obesity issue because there are healthier options, self-discipline, and self responsibility for each individual.
What Is Junk Food Essay
Junk food is any food that is perceived to be unhealthy and of low nutritional value.Since the schools were acquainted with garbage nourishments, children began to buy and consume uncontrolled.poor eating habits developed at an early age lead to health consequences.school is where children's spend most of their time and it is where we lay the foundation of healthy habits.Junk food is bad and not good for our health.America is facing the crisis because of our eating habits, Majority of the people die of obese and remaining have problems associated with overweights.Infants are likely to be more attracted towards unhygienic food like chips, candies, beverages. What we eat is what is going to show on our body.According to the health foundation,
Salt Sugar Fat Summary
Nowdays, junk food doesn’t need to introduce itself. Everyone enjoys how junk food taste because is the most popular fast food, tasty, and most important, affordable. Consuming fast food is tasty and you might think is healthy just because it said on the labels “healthy” but for your information, There is no healthy involved in junk food whatsoever. Junk food is all good tasting, except the fact that it is not nutritionally balanced. Michael Moss’s article The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food he talks about the extraordinary science behind what we consider tasty food and fast food for addiction, and how big food companies struggle to maintain healthy food with any preservatives that will affect our society’s health, especially in
Throughout the United States, concern of rising health issues is a popular topic. Over a progression of many years, American fast food chains and junk food companies have risen as a common means for food replacing homemade family meals. This quick and easy habit of buying cheaply made and sold foods that lack real nutritional value has been reason for increasing health issues. This habit is seen in children just the same as adults. Children eat the quickest meal with the most sugar and fat (among other unhealthy ingredients). This habit needs to be broken to take better care of the children today. Children are eating snack cakes and other junk foods at school instead of the breakfast/lunch that is offered causing bad habits and a poor diet. The children of America are suffering from the effects of malnutrition and yet, society does not help them to better understand or give higher grade options for them to choose from. Therefore, junk food should not be allowed in schools as it imposes health risks on children, lacks requirements for the nutrition contained in them, and without offering them, children would learn many morals/lessons.
Junk Food: The Negative Effects Of Fast Food
Fast food companies have caused a massive negative impact to society over the last couple of years despite the companies promise to produce healthy and nutritious meals. Many people have already been affected by the damages caused by eating junk food. During the 1950s, the United States Of America had an obesity rate of under 10 percent and as the fast food chain increased in 1975, the obesity rate rose up to a whopping 32 percent and has only kept growing. As the obesity rate increased so had the other forms of diseases that have and will continue to affect people until it has been known that the junk food is the primary cause and to stop or minimise the junk food intake.150 billion dollars (and still increasing) has been spent on obesity related diseases while a 174 billion dollars has been spent for treatment for diabetes and as more people consume junk food so has been the rate for treatment. In order to reduce medical expenses and self harm from junk food one must first switch to a healthy and proactive lifestyle.If the adults do not stop this bad habit children will follow and be affected in the near future. Foreign countries whom have been developing over the last decade had been impacted as well due to the lack of knowledge of the harm of the product. In 2013, the World Health Organisation declared that 42 million
Nutrition Mission and Heathy Living
Junk food can be very appealing because of taste, price and convenience, but most children do not understand the health risks they are indulging in. Junk food is bad for many reasons the most significant is the risk of obesity and obesity related illnesses; a study published in Pediatrics in 2004 that “children eating junk food was linked with many dangerous risk for obesity.” According to this study, kids who ate junk food were more likely to consume a large amount of carbohydrates, fats, and sugar when eating junk food. The children were also less likely to eat as much dairy, fiber, and fruits and vegetables as children who did not eat junk food. Another, reason junk food should be avoided by young children would be that it causes chronic illness. According to the Prevention Institute, researchers fault junk food for the growing rates of high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. Chronic illness rates are sky rocketing for children who eat junk food regularly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts if this trend of unhealthy eating continues; “…one in three U.S. adults will have diabetes by the year 2050.” I...
Fast Food: A Revolutionary Force In American Society
Scientists claim that the consumption of fast food leads to rapid weight gain, heart attacks, diabetes, reduced immunity, irreversible changes in the liver, raising the level of cholesterol in the blood. The fat contained in fast food, mainly consists of saturated fatty acids, which are deposited on the walls of blood vessels.
Fast Food Is Killing America
Many people all around the world and especially in the United States are paying money to poison their own bodies. Fast food is a major problem in the United States. Many people are attracted to fast food restaurants because of their low prices, but fast food is the cause of many health issues and is the main reason for the growing population of obese individuals in America. Although fast food can be a good option for a quick and cheap meal, fast food is very bad for the human body because it is full of questionable ingredients and can cause obesity, heart disease and raise cholesterol.
The Negative Effects Of Junk Food
Our society nowadays is rather different from the society that existed previously. Throughout the history, the habits of people have dramatically changed as well as the lifestyle did. The development of new technologies that we are able to witness in our days is changing how we live and how we perceive the environment around us. With regards to this, it would not be a surprise that our eating habits and how we view the food have also changed with the flow of the time and that the junk food is gaining larger popularity. With the growth of the junk food consumption, people become concerned with the quality of the food they eat and with the effects that it has on their health. Speaking about the influence of junk food on the health, many researchers
Don T Blame The Eater By David Zinzenko
We are facing a big problem that will make our life more miserable. We are eating junk food constantly that is bad for our health. Many people eat junk food because they think it’s cheap and faster or some people do not like to cook their own food. “Don’t Blame the Eater” by David Zinczenko. This article is talking about how fast food is making us eat bad because of their fast service and cheap prices. People tends to choose fast food instead of cooking a healthy meal. It is easy for teenagers to gain weight by eating fast food meals. Zinczenko also argues about the absence of nutrition information about the food. I agree with Zinczenko. However, Zinczenko could also have examined the issue of fast food advertisements, mention some benefits
Since industrialization in early America, the food industry has been growing, and with the development of prepackaged foods and fast-food chains, having snacks at your fingertips is a luxury that seems convenient and beneficial… until one considers the effects of junk food on the body and brain. Generally, junk food is characterized as food with high fat and sugar content and minimal nutritional value (Karimi-Shahanjarini et al., 2012). In modern day America, it is common to arrive home from a long day at school or work and grab a conveniently prepackaged snack to quiet your munchies and calm your nerves. Although this seems like a harmless act, eating these snack foods can have negative effects on the body and brain.
Argumentative Essay On Junk Food
It became so clear that junk foods lead to a punch of catastrophic diseases like obesity, type two diabetes, vascular diseases and cardiac disorders. Those kinds of diseases cost more than $150 billion annually, just to diagnose, treat people who suffer from them. That disease is chronic and leads to many health-related issues, for example, obesity considers a risk factor for type two diabetes, and high blood pressure, joint disorders and many others (The Denver Post 2012). The key of preventing many chronic problems is nutrition. Low income plays an important role of limiting most people to buy and eat a healthy diet and in the other hand, it is easy for people budgets to purchase junk foods. So controlling the prices of healthy foods to be suitable for all people make good nutrition available for everyone. Adequate diets mean decreasing the epidemic of those serious diseases, and stopping the spread and break the bad sequences that may happen. Long-term exposure to junk foods that are full with chemicals like additives, preservatives have led to chronic illnesses difficult to treat. Also, the chemical added to junk foods are tasted unique and made millions of people becoming addicted to them and are available everywhere for example in restaurants, cafes, lunchrooms (The Denver Post
The Perils of Regular Consumption of Fast Food
As of today, fast food has become an essential element in daily life and as something people depend on. Among the common excuse given as of why people consume fast food regularly is that it is convenient to get hold of fast food because fast food chains are just everywhere and also because their service is quick and efficient, especially for those who are always in a rush and do not want to have to wait hours for their meal like students. Another common reason why people go for fast food is because of the cheap price. The average price for a meal set at various fast food chains in the States could be as low as 4 USD excluding tax and it is undeniably a bargain, if only consuming fast food regularly would not affect your health. Everyone is not ignorant of the fact that regular consumption of fast food could bring harmful effects to our wellbeing but somehow, people often look past this. Fast food really should not be consumed regularly due to its effects to health despite how easy it is to get them. This essay will discuss the reason why fast food is harmful to health as it can cause heart diseases, diabetes and obesity.
The Bad Effects Of Junk Food And Health
Junk food contains a high amount of unhealthy ingredients that affects our body in a bad way. Junk food also affects our brain negatively and obesity is also one of the effects of fast food on the humans body. In order to let young people and children stop eating fast food parents should help them with that. Eating junk food should be one day every week or also one day every month not more than that. There are many other reasons why junk food is bad but these three reasons are the most important one’s that people should be afraid of. Stop eating fast food from today and start a new healthy life. Our body needs to be clean and
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- Junk Food Essay
Essay on Junk Food For Students
Any form of food items that have a high level of calorie content and saturated fats are referred to as junk food. They are unhealthy foods and have low nutritional value for our bodies. Most of the restaurant foods and fast foods are highly processed and are often regarded as junk. It has gained popularity among the young generations who consume it on a regular basis.
Here, we have provided a long essay and a short paragraph on junk food discussing the harmful effects of consuming junk food and how we can deal with it. The two junk food essays provided by us will thus help the students to be familiar with the topic and get key ideas for writing their own essay during their exam preparation.
Such essays are usually asked in exams. Here we have provided a sample of a long and short essay each on the topic along with its conclusion. This provides the students with an idea about how to form perfect essays on any given topic. The information mentioned in these essays will also be useful for students to think about.
Long Essay on Junk Food
This 500 words junk food essay has been provided as a reference for the students to jot down their own essay for exams. This has been written addressing the students of all age groups in a simple language.
With the growing chains of fast-food restaurants and street foods, the young generation today has become more addicted to eating outside and are dependent on these junk foods. This has become a new trend in modern culture. Also, the marketing of various food brands such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s and McDonald’s have attracted more youngsters to go and consume such food items. Although these items taste good but are not at all considered healthy for our bodies. With their higher level of proteins, sugar and saturated fats, they tend to increase the cholesterol level in our body. They do not contribute to providing nutritional values required for the immune system and lack essential vitamins and minerals.
Due to the busy day-to-day life, we often prefer ordering food from outside or munching on some snacks to satisfy our hunger. As a result, this has increased our addiction to eating junk every day. We often enjoy eating food that satisfies our taste buds and is less time-consuming. Since these junk foods are easily found nowadays with just a click on our phone, we tend to eat more of them. But we should keep in mind that these create a harmful impact on our body later and give rise to several health problems.
As per reports, the increase in the number of obesity cases has resulted due to the regular consumption of junk food items. Some of the severe health issues include cardiovascular diseases, a higher risk of obesity, PCOD/PCOS in females and several other chronic diseases which have a greater impact on our body and mental health.
Some of the commonly eaten junk foods include pizzas, burgers, deep-fries, food items made of processed cheese and high protein meat. Even some of the breakfast items and cereals tend to contain high amounts of sugar content.
Since the risk of obesity and heart disease has become a major concern today, we should avoid the consumption of junk foods and sugary items. Replacing highly processed food items with a bowl of green salads and fruits can reduce the risk of high cholesterol in our bodies. Although we can consume junk food on some occasions, it must be followed by some physical activity to burn the calories consumed.
To conclude, the health of an individual is an important part of their life and must be taken care of. It is, therefore, essential to make a habit of healthy eating instead of relying on these highly processed junk foods. This junk food essay in English is thus provided as a reference for the students to give them an idea about the harmful effects of junk foods.
Short Essay on Junk Food in English for Students
This short paragraph on junk food is provided for the students to be familiar with the health risks of consuming junk foods. This short essay will provide all the key information on this topic to help the students prepare for their examination.
Any food item which contains a higher level of saturated fats, sugars and proteins which can increase our cholesterol level is regarded as junk food. These can either be highly processed meat, a pizza or a burger and can even be breakfast cereals that have high sugar content. These junk foods tend to satisfy our taste buds but leave a harmful effect on our bodies in the long run. Regular consumption of junk foods has resulted in several health issues such as a higher risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, liver problems and other chronic health diseases.
Consumption of junk foods has become more common these days due to their easy availability in the market. All the fast-food chains and food brands tend to promote the consumption of these foods and as such people get more attracted towards them. Most of the time, we often order food from outside and many snacks while studying/working, and thus we end up consuming it regularly. These junk foods are unhealthy and reduce our immunity as they do not contain any nutritional elements or vitamins. Before these junks take a high toll on our health, we should cut down the consumption of this highly processed food and switch to healthier food options. Parents are also advised to teach their children to develop a habit of healthy eating and try some healthy alternatives for junk food. A habit of regular consumption of fruits and green vegetables must be inculcated in the children.
To conclude, regular consumption of fruits and vegetables will help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is advisable to avoid regular consumption of junk foods as they do not add any nutritional value to our body and thus, makes us inactive.
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FAQs on Junk Food Essay
1. Is Consumption of Junk Food in a Smaller Amount Harmful?
No, consumption of a very small amount of junk food on rare occasions doesn’t cause any harm. But after consumption, one must continue eating healthy food and perform some sort of physical exercise to burn the amount of high calorie that is being consumed. One must incorporate a healthy lifestyle. In addition to eating healthy and nutritious food, one must avoid a sedentary lifestyle and stay physically active. With such a healthy lifestyle, eating small amounts of junk food can be enjoyable and harmless.
2. Why are Breakfast Cereals Considered Under Junk Foods?
Most of the cereals that we consume for breakfast have high sugar content in them which is not good for our health. Also, most of them are produced from refined wheat and refined sugars which add up the cholesterol and diabetes level in our body. Thus, they are regarded as junk foods. Also, they are more dangerous because people usually eat them thinking that they are healthier alternatives to other breakfast items and thus end up eating them more.
3. How can one make better food choices?
There are several things that we can do to adopt a healthy overall lifestyle and also make better food choices. Here are a few of them:
Always check labels before buying prepackaged items. Avoid items that are high in sugar and trans fats.
Avoid eating outside regularly.
Prepare fresh home-cooked meals every day.
Include foods rich in fiber like fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
Maintain a well-balanced diet.
Avoid buying prepackaged items that claim to be healthier alternatives.
Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Get healthy snacks like peanuts, dates, makhanas etc to munch on when hungry.
4. Why do students end up eating more junk food than any other age group?
Students of today live very hectic and stressful lives. This is true in particular for students who are driven and aim to have a competitive edge. With the extensive syllabus and tight schedules, care is rarely taken to eat healthily. Students, therefore, end up going on long hours without eating anything and then end up munching on unhealthy junk food as a quick reprieve. Social media and exposure to various global food chains is another reason why students end up eating more junk food than others.
5. What are some components of writing a good essay?
A good essay has a captivating heading and an introduction that draws the reader to read the entire essay with interest. The body of the essay is also extremely important. It should be such that it conveys the message to the reader without including unnecessary technical details. If you are writing for the exam, then the word count should be kept in mind while writing the essay. Vedantu provides several sample essays on its website to help the students. In addition, students can refer to Essay Writing tips by Vedantu's experts to further excel in writing essays.
Essay on Junk Food
Students are often asked to write an essay on Junk Food in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.
Let’s take a look…
100 Words Essay on Junk Food
The allure of junk food.
Junk food is popular for its taste, convenience, and affordability. It’s everywhere – in school cafeterias, at the cinema, and on our home tables.
The Downside of Junk Food
Despite its appeal, junk food can harm our health. It’s often high in sugars, fats, and salts, which can lead to obesity and heart diseases.
Instead of reaching for junk food, we should opt for healthier choices like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are not only tasty but also good for our health.
While junk food might be tempting, we must remember the importance of a balanced diet for our well-being.
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250 Words Essay on Junk Food
Junk food, a term popularized in the latter half of the 20th century, refers to food that is high in calories but low in nutritional value. It is a pervasive element in modern societies, often associated with convenience, taste, and immediate gratification.
The appeal of junk food is multifaceted. It is typically easy to prepare, inexpensive, and designed to satisfy our innate preference for fat, sugar, and salt. Moreover, it’s often marketed with persuasive advertising strategies, making it an omnipresent temptation.
Despite its allure, junk food’s low nutritional value poses serious health risks. Its high sugar content can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. High sodium levels can contribute to hypertension, and a dearth of essential nutrients can trigger a range of deficiencies.
The ubiquity of junk food has significant societal implications. Its consumption is linked to a rise in chronic diseases, escalating healthcare costs, and decreased productivity. Moreover, it’s often more accessible in low-income communities, contributing to health disparities.
While junk food offers convenience and immediate satisfaction, its long-term effects on individual health and society are detrimental. It is crucial to promote healthier alternatives, regulate advertising, and improve nutritional education to mitigate these impacts. The challenge is not just a personal one, but a collective one that requires concerted effort and policy intervention.
Packed in 152 Informative Pages
500 Words Essay on Junk Food
Junk food, a term popularized in the latter half of the 20th century, refers to food items that are high in calories, sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, but lack essential nutrients. These foods, while alluring due to their taste and convenience, can have detrimental effects on health when consumed excessively.
Junk food’s popularity stems primarily from its convenience and addictive taste. Fast-paced modern lifestyles often leave little time for cooking or preparing nutritious meals. Junk food, easily accessible and ready-to-eat, fills this gap. Additionally, the high sugar, salt, and fat content in these foods stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers, creating a sense of satisfaction that encourages repeated consumption.
Despite their high calorie content, junk foods lack essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Regular consumption of such foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies. For instance, a diet rich in junk food but devoid of fruits and vegetables can result in Vitamin C and fiber deficiencies, leading to health issues like scurvy and constipation respectively.
Excessive intake of junk food can lead to various health problems. The high sugar content can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, while the high salt content can lead to hypertension. Furthermore, the unhealthy fats can lead to obesity and heart diseases. Research has also linked junk food consumption to mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
The Role of Marketing
The marketing strategies employed by junk food companies play a significant role in promoting their products. These companies often target young audiences, using appealing packaging, catchy jingles, and celebrity endorsements. The influence of such marketing strategies can shape dietary habits from a young age, making it challenging to adopt healthier eating habits later in life.
Addressing the Issue
Addressing the junk food epidemic requires a multi-faceted approach. Education about the harmful effects of junk food and the benefits of a balanced diet is crucial. Schools and colleges should promote healthier food choices in their cafeterias. Governments can play a role by implementing policies such as taxing junk food, restricting their advertising, and mandating clear nutritional labeling. Individuals also have a responsibility to make conscious choices about their diet and lifestyle.
In conclusion, junk food, while convenient and tasty, poses significant health risks. It is essential to understand the allure of these foods, their nutritional deficiencies, and their health implications. Through education, policy changes, and personal responsibility, we can mitigate the impact of junk food on our health and society. The challenge lies not in completely eliminating junk food from our lives, but in striking a balance and making informed decisions about our dietary choices.
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Junk food-induced obesity- a growing threat to youngsters during the pandemic
Obesity has been declared an epidemic that does not discriminate based on age, gender, or ethnicity and thus needs urgent containment and management. Since the third wave of COVID-19 is expected to affect children the most, these children and adolescents should be more cautious while having junk foods, during covid situations due to the compromise of Immunity in the individuals and further exacerbating the organ damage.
A PAN India survey organized by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) among 13,274 children between the ages 9–14 years reported that 93% of the children ate packed food and 68% consumed packaged sweetened beverages more than once a week, and 53% ate these products at least once in a day. Almost 25% of the School going children take ultra-processed food with high levels of sugar, salt, fat, such as pizza and burgers, from fast food outlets more than once a week. Children and adolescents who consume more junk food or addicted to such consumption might be even more vulnerable during the third wave, which will significantly affect the younger category.
There is an urgent need to spread awareness among children and young adults about these adverse effects of junk food. There is no better time than now to build a supportive environment nurturing children and young adults in society and promising good health.
Obesity has been declared as epidemic that does not discriminate based on age, gender, or ethnicity and thus needs urgent containment and management. Cardiovascular complications are a global threat with the rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity; by 2025, it is expected to reachupto 18% in men and 21% in women by forbidding heavy burden upon individuals, societies, and health care systems. Heart attack survivors with excess fat around their waist are at increased risk of another cardiac arrest, according to the journal of the European Society of Cardiology (Mohammadi H et al., 2020).
In the modern era, obesity is linked with various factors enhancing the production of cortisol, such as Food consumption with a high glycaemic index, chronic stress, and change in sleep patterns ( Knutson et al., 2010 ; Cohen and Janicki-Deverts, 2012 ). The burden of non-communicable disease has become a major threat globally, attributing to physical inactivity, unhealthy dietary habits, unhealthy lifestyle, and smoking. It is also observed that food with high levels of fat content is preferred to non-fat food by people ( Visschers and Siegrist, 2010 ). Based on the reports, more than one-third of the adults eat junk food several times a week ( Bauer et al., 2009 ). Studies have proven that Junk food tends to cause obesity (central adiposity), a primary concern of heart diseases and other non-communicable diseases ( Rouhani et al., 2012 ; Musaiger, 2014 ). Poor nutrition could result in reduced Immunity, susceptibility to several oral and systemic diseases, impaired physical and mental growth, and reduced efficiency (Bhattacharya, P. T et al., 2016).
Greater than 60% of the overweight child population seem to have at least one added risk factor of cardiovascular disease (Raised blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, hyperinsulinemia), and more than 20% of the obese children have two or more risk factors. The United States National Centre for Health Statistics suggests that nearly 15% of adolescents are overweight or obese, and treatment is harder in adults than children ( International Life Sciences Institutes, 2000 ). It is observed that an adolescent is often negligible to his health due to improper awareness and a busy work schedule. With more than 14.4 million obese children, India has the second-largest obese child population in the world. By 2025 it is anticipated to reach a stunning 17 million.
Since the third wave of COVID-19 is expected to affect children the mostly, it is, therefore, advisable for these children and adolescents who eat Junk foods to be more cautious during Covid situations due to the compromise of Immunity in the individuals and further exacerbating the organ damage.
2. Junk foods overview
Children find themselves amidst a way of living that has been metamorphized to suit the new jet-setting age and the food is no exception to this. Over the last two decades, the variability of healthy eating advice has become a cliché, leading to an alarming increase in the trend of consumption of fast food and sweetened beverages in Indian children. On average, the fast-food industry is growing 40% per year ( Joseph et al., 2015 ). A PAN India survey organized by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) among 13,274 children between the ages 9–14 years reported that 93% of the children ate packed food and 68% consumed packaged sweetened beverages more than once a week, and 53% ate these products at least once in a day. Almost 25% of the School going children take ultra-processed food with high levels of sugar, salt, fat, such as pizza and burgers, from fast food outlets more than once a week ( Bhushan et al., 2017 ). The most commonly consumed junk food items are bakery products, beverages, burgers, caffeinated drinks, chips, chocolates, noodles, pizza, soft drinks, and sugar-sweetened drinks. Harmful effects of Junk foods include Overweight/Obesity, Cardiometabolic risk, High blood pressure, Behavioural symptoms and Dental caries.
3. Highly consumed junk foods
Habitual physically inactive lifestyle, advertisements, media, and consumption of junk food have contributed significantly towards causing obesity in children and adolescents. Various list of Junk foods and their associated components showing the impact on health is mentioned in Table 1 .
List of Junk foods and its associated components showing impact on health.
4. Impact of junk foods on body weight
The rates of overweight and obesity have increased tremendously over the past few decades as a health epidemic in most parts of the world ( Mancino and Kinsey, 2008 ; LaCaille et al., 2011 ; Allom and Mullan, 2014 ). High consumption of Junk Foods contributes to the overweight among School-aged children in India from 9.7% to 13.9% over a decade ( Ranjani et al., 2016 ). The potential adverse effects on weight status in younger population include Physical inactivity and unhealthy dietary habits and, consequently, the future health of adults ( Hutchesson et al., 2015 ; Allom and Mullan, 2014 ). High intake of fried foods and artificially sweetened drinks are found to be directly linked with high body mass index and obesity in children. Additionally, diets with elevated amounts of Junk food have very little quantity of nutrients ( Goel et al., 2013 ; Harnack et al., 1999 ).
5. Preclinical evidences of junk food and its effect
The preclinical data is essential in collecting the safety of drug, iterative testing, and the feasibility of experiment which is given in Table 2 . In a study conducted in 1991, brown and white adipose tissue in high fat and junk diet and chow-fed rats with dorsomedial hypothalamic lesion rats ( Bernardis and Bellinger, 1991 ). The animals were grouped as high fat and control rats as group 1 and 3, whereas chow diet and control were grouped as group 2 and 4. He found that obesity is not only linked to calories but rather the sort of calories consumed, brown adipose tissue weight, lipid content, protein and turnover of NE are indicators of metabolic activity and thermogenesis that are unreliable. Oginsky et al. (2016) proposed that intake of junk food shows a rapid and long-lasting increase in NAc CP-AMPA receptors for food addiction. In general, mesolimbic circuits responsiveness is intensified in rats that are vulnerable to diet-induced obesity.
Pre-clinical and clinical evidence of Junk food and its effect.
Additionally, junk food was found to increase NAc CP-AMPAR function in obesity-susceptible rats. AMPA upregulation occurred more promptly in obesity-susceptible rats and preceded the development of obesity. Cocaine-induced locomotion was seen, and post-junk-food deprivation, cocaine-induced movement was enhanced in Junk-Food-Gainers than in the Non-Gainers, i.e., Junk-Food gainers were more sensitized when compared to non-gainers. He concluded that it will be significant to determine the extent to which these food-induced changes occurring in the striatal function could be part of normal, adaptive processes vs maladaptive, ‘addictive-like behaviors. A study conducted on 2010 by StephanieA stated in a study that a junk food diet in pregnancy and lactation promotes Non-alcoholic fatty liver in the rat offspring. It was observed that those junk food-fed mothers moved to an exclusive chow diet from weaning which resulted in the increase of triglyceride compared to the CCC group at the end of adolescence. The histological analysis did not disclose any signs of fibrosis or inflammation confirmed by unaffected TNF-alpha, IL-6, Collagen, and keratin expressions, suggesting that although they showed NAFLD signs, they did not suffer from NASH. He also mentioned that exacerbated steatosis in those offsprings did not coexist with an increase in carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (Cpt1a) mRNA expression, which might be an indicator of mitochondrial Beta-oxidation saturation leading to further lipid accumulation in the liver. In 2008 an observation was made on off springs of Junk food-fed mothers in pregnancy and lactation exhibited aggravated adiposity, which is highly found in females ( Bayol et al., 2008 ).
The perirenal fat pad mass linked to body weight was greater in the offsprings fed with junk food throughout the study than those fed with junk food diet postweaning. The increase in adiposity is associated with the weight gain previously reported in the same animals. The study on gene expression and changes in adipose tissue cellularity showed that an increase in IGF-1 transcription indicated higher proliferation of pre-adipocyte in females fed with junk food diet after weaning compared to males. Gugusheff et al., 2013 studied extensively the effects of prenatal junk food exposure on food preferences of offspring and how fat deposition can be alleviated by enhanced nutrition during lactation ( Gugusheff et al., 2013 ). He found that habitual cafeteria diet during the suckling period, independent of dietary exposure before birth, led to the development of diet-induced obesity in females and an increase in preference for appetizing foods in male offspring in young adulthood. The animals were given free access to the cafeteria diet. Female offspring suckled by JF dams had increased fat mass compared to those offspring suckled by control dams independent of the diet consumed by the mother during pregnancy. It is to be noted that it took place in the absence of high food consumption, suggesting that these animals had an enhanced propensity to accumulate fat in the body.
6. Clinical evidence of junk food and its effect
The clinical data collection is very much helped by the quality of information generated, which plays a significant part in yielding the study results whose clinical data are given in Table 2 .
Zahedi et al. (2014) studied the relationship between junk food consumption and mental health in a Sample of Iranian Children and Adolescents ( Zahedi et al., 2014 ). In this study, a notable link between junk food consumption and mental health problems in children and adolescents was observed. Students that consumed junk food daily were more likely to be subjected to mental health problems. The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study proposed that the Western dietary pattern of increased consumption of takeaway foods, red meat, and confectionary was significantly associated with poor behavioral outcomes in adolescents. Similarly, two cohort studies in adolescents instigated that increased intake of unhealthy foods like sweets, savory snacks, sweetened soft drinks, chocolate, and fast foods was associated with a high risk of behavioral problems and mental distress such as anxiety worthlessness, and dizziness.
Azemati et al., 2020 studied an association between consumption of junk food and cardiometabolic risk factors in Iranian children and adolescent population ( Azemati et al., 2020 ). A population-based study in Korea showed that fast food consumption was linked to metabolic syndrome in adolescents. The study demonstrated that sweet dietary habits were positively related to metabolic syndrome, and those under junk food consumption were more likely to be overweight. Junk foods are found to be associated with obesity due to their high energy content and the amount of fat present or free sugar, chemical additives, and sodium with the presence of a low amount of micronutrients and fiber. Among junk foods, intake of sweetened beverages is in close relationship with weight fluctuations as it can increase food intake through decreasing satiety mechanisms. In Conclusion, junk food intake among Iranian children and adolescents had undesirable effects on cardiometabolic risk factors. Thus, enhancing knowledge of junk foods among adolescents is one of the possible ways to help them to make healthy food choices and get rid of overweight and obesity.
Zhu et al. (2019) investigated on the current situation and influencing factors on consuming junk foods among children and adolescents in Beijing city ( Zhu et al., 2019 ). He used a questionnaire survey method to survey the junk food habits and their effects. One month before the survey, all individuals have an intake of one type or the other junk foods. Mostly they didn't have an understanding of nutrition, and mostly they have misunderstandings about nutritional value and effect on the human body. Their behavior is affected mainly by personal factors like physiological, psychological, social, family factors, and the food itself. In Conclusion, children and adolescents in Haidian District ate different types of junk food, and the safety, nutritional issues of junk food should be paid great attention to prevent and control the risk factors of children and adolescents eating junk food. Payab et al. (2015) studied the relationship between junk food consumption with high blood pressure and obesity in Iranian children and adolescents ( Payab et al., 2015 ).
This study showed significant link between sweet consumption and both general and abdominal obesity. Nonetheless, there was no meaningful relationship between sweets consumption and high blood pressure. Several studies also showed that in general, central obesity is inversely associated with healthy dietary habits, while the Western dietary habits (refined grains, Red meat, sweets, desserts, pizza, French fries, and soft drinks) were directly linked to obesity.
7. Junk food and compromised immune system
- i) Effect of Junk foods on the signaling pathway
The intake of appetizing food is primarily under the control of the limbic system and stimulates endogenous opioids release, which binds to the opioid receptors present in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). VTA activates dopaminergic neurons in the brain, and in the nucleus accumbent, the site of dopamine release to potentiate dopamine signaling pathway ( Bergevin et al., 2002 ; Fields and Margolis, 2015 ; Berridge, 1996 ). The stimulation of the dopamine signaling pathway by opioid interactions is thought to be involved in the mediation of the short-term pleasurable sensation linked with the consumption of appetizing food ( Bodnar et al., 2005 ; Bodnar, 2015 ). It is observed that a reduction in MuR expression in the offspring of dams maintained on a junk food diet during pregnancy and lactation is present in the VTA at the weaning stage, i.e., 3 weeks after birth ( Gugusheff et al., 2013 ). Nonetheless, MuR expression in the NAcis found in elevated levels during the first postnatal week and declining to adult levels over the next two weeks ( Tong et al., 2000 ).
- ii) Effect of Junk foods on Immunity
Micronutrients like trace elements, antioxidants, and vitamins play a significant role in the regenerative process, coping with existing oxidative stress in the body tissues and providing Immunity against pathogens ( Chapple et al., 2007 ; Enwonwu et al., 2002 ). Obesity in the early years of life alters the immune system by inducing changes in cytokines concentrations and proteins and the number and function of the immune cells, ultimately leading to a pro-inflammatory condition, leading to the onset or exacerbation of numerous diseases like asthma, atopic dermatitis, allergy and sleep apnea ( Kelishadi et al., 2017 ). Various per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS)might affect growth, infantile behavior, learning, and older children. It also lowers the chance of pregnancy, interferes with the defense of natural hormones, increases the cholesterol levels, reduces vaccine-induced immune protection in children, and increase the risk of cancer ( Velez et al., 2015 ; Grandjean et al., 2017 ; Bach et al., 2015 ). Various reports from the conducted human studies conclude that some PFAS can take as long as 8–9 years to get cleared from the body ( Bartell et al., 2010 ). It can also cross the placental barrier and be secreted through breastmilk ( Mondal et al., 2013 ; Kingsley et al., 2018 ). It was observed that the immune response was impaired in children, especially cellular to influenza virus, and also inadequate vaccine responses were seen when they were obese ( Green and Beck, 2017 ). Thus, the importance of nutrition must be considered when it comes to Immunity. Similarly, there is enhanced knowledge about food, nutritional habits, and other lifestyle aspects, which are essential in aiding the proper functioning of the immune system ( Gombart et al., 2020 ).
In concern with obesity, there is a negative relationship between BMI and the intake of trace elements identified in obese people ( Farhat et al., 2019 ). Therefore, obesity has a strong correlation with an increased risk of infectious diseases accompanied by severe complications, elevated critical illnesses, and prolonged hospitalization ( Ritter et al., 2020 ). Systemic inflammatory reactions occur in covid 19 due to cytokine storms which leads to the imbalance of the immune system observed in obesity, and it contributes to a worse clinical outcome. Adipocytokines, mainly leptin, play an integral role in Immunity, as they influence the number and the function of immune cells through direct effects on cell metabolism ( Kim and Nam, 2020 ).
8. Influence of junk food during COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 lockdown had drastically altered the regular food pattern. When compared before pandemic, it shows both negative and beneficial impact on dietary practice associated with poor lifestyle management such as lack of physical activity and obesity. Nonetheless, poor eating habits were noticed such as changes in meal frequency and increased snacking with comfort foods (food bringing emotional comfort). It shows that alteration in dietary habits during the pandemic are at higher risk of further complications ( Bohlouli et al., 2021 ).
Since junk food tends to impact the immune system, it poses a greater risk during the pandemic. Children and adolescents who consume more junk food or are addicted to such consumption might be even more vulnerable during the third wave, which will especially affect the younger category (Janssen et al., 2021; Preethi et al., 2021 ).
Overweight and obesity are predominantly associated with numerous cardiac complications and are mostly mediated through the risk of metabolic syndrome. Obesity, like other malnutritional states, is known to impair immune function by altering leucocyte count as well as cell-mediated responses and causes organ damage. Not only is it causing physiological repressions, but it has significant psychological manifestations-that can damage a child's intellect and personality. Covibesity associated individuals are more prone to alteration of the immune system, and thus those people having junk food habits should be more cautious in this pandemic by maintaining health hygiene and getting vaccinated. It is to be noted that junk foods and packaging materials have drastic outcomes on health by impairing the immune system.
Thus, a combination of junk food, physical inactivity, and constant psychological stressors on children and adolescents during the pandemic makes them more vulnerable to increased weight along with decreased Immunity and thus an increased chance of infectivity during the third wave of COVID-19. There is an urgent need to spread awareness among children and young adults about these adverse effects of junk food, and they are not a good substitute for good healthy nourishment. There is no better time than now to build a supportive environment nurturing children and young adults in society and promising good health.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
AS: Methodology and Writing.
DD: Data curation and Review.
NG: Investigation and Resource.
LP: Writing and Editing.
SS: Conceptualization and Supervision.
This research received no grant from any funding agency.
Declaration of competing interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.
We extend our sincere thanks to all the health care professionals.
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Conclusion and Solution
- Don't eat fast food. However, this may cause a craving or wish to eat fast food. That could lead to binge eating when the person cannot stop themselves from eating it. Binge eating harms the body.
- Eat once in a while. This solution has been tried and tested and it works. Many people do this, however, if you do not realise that you are eating it too frequently, there is still a chance of you getting health problems.
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Junk Food Vs Healthy Food: Advantages, Disadvantages And Healthier Food Choices
Quick reads, content details.
Many of us love greasy and sugary foods and for those used to eating junk food - cheese, deep-fried, sweetness loaded delicacies are an obsession of sorts.
Thanks to globalization, various junk foods belonging to global cuisine have crept into your daily diet plan in the last couple of decades leading to an increase in the rate of childhood obesity and the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer , diabetes , cardiovascular diseases etc.
If you ask, which one is better from the taste point of view, the battle between healthy food and junk food never ends. Mindful eaters might argue that nutritional food items are tastier too but when it comes to choosing between the two, junk food always win the race.
But why? Well, agree or disagree cravings are irresistible and unhealthy eating habits are actually a norm. We can kill our mid-day hunger pangs with an apple or a fistful of nuts, but most of us end nibbling upon a pile of French fries or pizza and even guzzle down fizzy drinks. It in fact, has become a mammoth task for these days parents in convincing their children to pick fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, salads, soups over these unhealthy and calorie loaded recipes.
What Is Junk Food?
Junk food is the best example of an unbalanced diet categorised by a huge proportion of simple carbs, refined sugar, salt, saturated fat and with very low nutritional value. These foods are processed to a great extent where they almost lose all of their vital nutrients, fibre and water content. Junk food may be quite convenient, readily available on the go, cheap whereas healthy food is best for maintaining weight, getting an adequate amount of essential nutrients and for keeping you in good state of health.
Also Read: Craving For Junk Food? Try These Healthy Swaps Loaded With Nutrition – Infographic
Junk Vs Healthy Food
Healthy food refers to a whole lot of fresh and natural products such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and good fats that deliver your body with essential nutrients for carrying out several bodily processes, combat sickness and keep diseases at bay. Some of the healthy foods include apples, greens, carrots, oatmeal, whole grain, beans and legumes, fish, eggs, avocado, milk and milk products and olive oil to mention a few.
While, junk food is a highly processed food that is made up of ‘empty’ calories foods loaded with full of saturated fat, sugar and devoid of nutrients which neither helps the body to nurture, focus and perform vital functions all through the day. It includes packaged food products like chips, cookies , cakes, pastry, candy soda, ice-cream and a list of fast food items on the restaurant menus like pizza, pasta, burgers and French fries.
Why Is Healthy Food Better Than Junk Food?
When you consume a diet that is packed with natural fresh produce, it facilitates to lower the risk of several chronic disorders like cancer, obesity, cardiovascular problems, diabetes and many more. Furthermore, healthy foods are mostly low on calories and contain huge amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre that are well-known for promoting total well-being.
Advantages Of Healthy Foods
Healthy foods like fruits and veggies or whole grain cereals are a source of good dietary fibre. An adequate amount of fibre in the diet helps with delaying gastric emptying time, keep you satiated and prevent you from overeating. Fibre-rich foods also benefit to maintain the digestive system healthy and function effectively thereby lowering cholesterol and blood glucose level.
Also Read: 5 Healthy Food Choices To Start Your Day
Healthy foods are basically unprocessed, low on calories and do not miss out on vital nutrients. Consuming a wholesome meal comprising of whole-grain cereal, legume, low-fat dairy –paneer or curd , veggies and fruit meets your daily demands of nutrition.
Natural food produce is low on saturated fat, trans fat and calories which help you to manage weight.
Incorporating a rich array of healthful foods imbued with dense nutrient profile safeguard your heart, maintain lipid profile, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, avert the risk of inflammation, boost metabolism, promote smooth digestion process, bolster immunity and keep diseases at bay .
Yes, healthy food not only provides you with needed essential nutrients but also delivers you with a spectrum of health incentives which hold a significant role in uplifting your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
The perks of healthy food and cons of junk food are quite clear, making mindful choices with your meals and snacks will let you to focus and concentrate well throughout the day. As the body’s needs are met by nutritionally loaded food choices it will keep you satiated and content. Moreover, this averts untimely snacking or binge eating.
When kids prefer healthy food it ensures them to be more productive and efficient with time and memorize things they have learned, rather than being sleepy and reading the same things over and over again.
High fibre foods release energy slowly, whereas sugar laden foods offer you a sudden burst of energy. You may be tempted to reach for that pack of chocolates around afternoons but choose an apple with peanut butter or banana or carrot sticks with yoghurt for conferring you with sustained energy needed to accomplish your day task.
Also Read: 5 Successful Healthy Eating Habits To Practice - Infographic
Junk food can result in long-term damage, going for unhealthy food stuffs like French fries, pizza, pastries and candy can increase your risk of developing depression, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
Difference Between Healthy Food vs Junk Food
Junk food tends to be high on fat, unrefined carbohydrates and added sugars, all of which up their energy density or caloric values. Consuming plenty of energy-dense foods increases your risk of obesity and other metabolic disorders. On the other hand, healthy foods are low in energy and fat content and high on nutrients, thus a diet low in calories help you lose weight and maintain good health status.
One of the key variants between junk and healthy food is the amount and type of saturated and unsaturated fats they contain. Unsaturated fatty oils are healthier options like olive oil, sunflower oil , sesame oil etc., these oils contain the right proportion of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids which are healthier for the heart and also maintain the lipid profile. While junk foods are loaded with a high amount of saturated fats and trans fat like butter, lard, palm oil and dalda are unhealthy and harm health.
Junk or fast foods are those items with empty calories, which means they only offer you a high amount of calories without providing you with needed vital nutrients. Studies have also disclosed that people who consume fast foods on a regular basis have lower micronutrient intake and may have a nutritional deficiency. Choosing wholesome foods will assure you with an increase in the nutrients per calorie making it feasible to meet the recommended dose of macro and micronutrients.
Well, fast food can be a cheaper option than adopting a healthy eating habit, however, you can still plan a nutritious meal plan by including low-cost locally available fresh natural produce that will save your money compared to convenience foods. Furthermore, the merits of eating healthy food go way beyond in maintaining your overall health, where the cost factor is often neglected when health is your top priority.
Junk food is considered to have addictive qualities as they are revolved around sugar and fat. Sugar is known to kindle the brain reward pathways, sugar, when combined with fat, becomes hard to resist. Studies observe that the blend of sugar and fat is mostly linked with addictive symptoms like withdrawal or loss of self-control over food. Well, regular or even intermittent intake of junk foods has the potential to drive the habit formation in the brain which can increase your cravings leading to overconsumption of junk food and with time results in weight gain.
Simple Ways To Eat Less Junk Food
There are a number of ways one can gradually reduce the intake of junk food. First and foremost, never stock up in your homes which can easily take away the temptation.
Secondly, stay alert and be mindful of eating chips or other snacks directly from the pack, instead, portion a small quantity into a bowl and relish. Share junk food with friends or eat with other people who will help you to slow down and enjoy good conversation and your nachos.
Staying healthy while eating junk food is possible when you have it moderation, the key mantra is don’t overdo it.
Junk food tastes delicious but not satiating, it’s packed with empty calories. Hence if you are hungry steer clear of the readily available junk foods and wait uncomplainingly for something wholesome.
If you want to eat junk food, then ensure to stay active and do include some physical activity into your routine. A brisk walk post-dinner or quick cardio can help you to stay active and keep things in balance. On the other hand, if you don’t want to move your body, then reconsider the junk food you wish to eat.
Consider junk food the exception, rather than the norm. Focus on eating a healthy diet all through the week and have a cheat day during the weekend, where you can treat yourself with favourite candy or fries, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
Likewise, swap your junk food with healthier choices which includes
Fruits: apples, bananas , oranges, and berries
Vegetables: Leafy greens, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower
Whole Grains: Cereals, oats, brown rice, quinoa , and wheat
Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds
Legumes: Beans, peas, and lentils
Lean Protein Sources: Fish, eggs and poultry
Dairy: Curd, yogurt, cheese, and fermented dairy products like kefir
Healthy Fats: Olive oil, nut butter, avocados, and coconut
Healthy Beverages: Water, green tea, and herbal teas
Fitting Fast Food Into A Healthy Diet
A well-balanced meal plan comprises of about half fruits and vegetables, while other half consists of whole-grain cereals and legumes or lean meats. When you visit a fast-food restaurant lookout for the healthiest options, it can be a grilled or baked food instead of deep-fried stuff. Start with a soup or salad with low-fat dressing as they are low in calories and keep you filled, then get a smaller serving of your main course. Vegetarian choices are often healthier than meat-based starters, as long as they are not fried. Try to skip fattier toppings like mayo, sauces, cheese and creams.
Healthier Junk Food Options
Craving for unhealthy junk food stuff is real and powerful. Well, instead of struggling and fighting your cravings, just try to feed it with a healthier version. There are certain junk foods that are pretty good for you which include:
Popcorn baked or made at home with a drizzle of olive or vegetable oil is a source of good dietary fibre.
Ice-creams and Greek yoghurt are great options loaded with calcium and protein.
Look for dark chocolate bars that are 70% cocoa for your guilt-free indulgence for something sweet. Dark chocolates abound in antioxidants, protein and fibre.
Tortilla chips made from kale, greens are preferred choice versus traditional potato chips.
Sweet potato fries though has a high amount of carbs and calories, it is heaped with dietary fibre and a massive amount of vitamin A.
Snacking on one or two cubes of cheese will offer you a boost of calcium and protein. It is a good idea to top up the cheese with fruit or nuts for that bonus vitamins.
Oatmeal cookies is one of the best bet for a healthful snack packed with fibre, calcium and iron.
Junk food are highly processed foods loaded with calories, sugar and fat, however, it is devoid of essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is believed to be a key factor in the obesity epidemic and a driving force in the development of chronic diseases. Moderation is the key mantra when it comes to food. The combination of fat and sugar make junk foods more addicting and easy to overdo. Relishing your favourite treat on occasional basis is a more realistic, healthful and sustainable approach for your health.
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