Junk food is typically defined as foods with little nutritional value that are high in calories, fat, sugar, salt, or caffeine. It is widely believed that the term was coined by Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972. Common junk foods include salted snack foods, gum, candy, sweet desserts, fried fast food, and carbonated beverages.
The convenience, price and predictability of fast food makes it a frequent meal choice for many people. However, as consumption of fast food has risen over the last three decades, so too have occurrences of several health issues and diseases related to fast food and unhealthy eating habits. Eaten regularly, fast food can put you at an increased risk for developing diabetes, heart disease or obesity.
The fast food industry in India has evolved with the changing lifestyles of young Indian population. The sheer variety of gastronomic preferences across the regions has brought about different modules across the country. Many of the traditional dishes have adapted to suit the emerging fast food outlets. The basic adaption is to decrease the processing and serving time.
A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny at the Scripps Research Institute (2008) suggested that junk food consumption alters brains activity in a manner similar to addictive drugs like cocaine or heroin.
The increase of junk food is directly associated with the increase in obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, tooth decay, and other diseases.
Fast Food Contributes to Obesity
Fast food is a major contributor to rising occurrences of obesity. Calorie-laden fast food meals can contain nearly a full day’s worth of calories and fat and, eaten regularly, can increase your chances of obesity. According to CBS News Health Watch, almost one-third of U.S children between the ages of 4 and 19 consume fast food which, depending on the regularity which with fast food is eaten, can cause a 6-pound weight increase per year.
Fast Food increases Diabetes
Along with obesity, consumption of fast food has been linked to an increased chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In Type 2 Diabetes, either your body is unable to regulate blood sugar with insulin, or is unable to produce insulin. Increased body fat, along with a high-sugar and high-carbohydrate diet, can increase your body’s resistance to insulin, which monitors your blood sugar levels. An article published by the US Department of Health and Human Services states that people who ate fast food two or more times per week were twice as likely to experience insulin resistance.
Fast Food is High in Sodium
Fast food is typically very high in sodium. A large order of fast food french fries can contain as much as 30% of your daily value of sodium. While important to consume in small amounts, a diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, a potential precursor to heart disease. As excess sodium builds up in your bloodstream, your heart must work harder to pump blood successfully, which can cause hypertension and high blood pressure. Regularly consuming foods high in sodium can greatly increase your chances of developing high blood pressure.
Fast Food is Low in Nutrients
Many fast food are low in nutrients. Hamburgers served on white bread, french fries and other high-carbohydrate sides and fried or high-fat meats are common fast food menu items, and all lack important nutrients such as vitamins found in fresh produce, fiber found in whole grains and protein served without added fat. Foods which are high in sugar and carbohydrates but low in nutrients are also often less filling than healthier options, and can lead to overeating. Furthermore, non-nutritious fast food several times per week can impact your energy levels and mood, and may put you at risk for vitamin deficiency.
Harmful Effects of Junk Food
* The regular consumption of junk food is the leading factor in obesity and excess weight. * Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death in America. * 46% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese, with obesity in children increasing three-fold over the past 2 decades. * Consumption of Aerated drinks containing sugar has been linked to weight gain and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes. * Studies have revealed that obese people have twice the rate of chronic health problems as people of normal weight. * Junk food diet is a major cause of heart diseases.
* High cholesterol resulting from junk food puts undue strain on the liver, causing long-term damage to this essential organ. * Research has suggested that diets high in fat may also impair essential brain functions, like concentration and memory.
The junk food facts about Aerated drinks alone are alarming. There is compelling evidence that regular consumption of Aerated drinks leads to Increased rates of: –
* Bone fracture
* Weight gain and obesity
* Type II Diabetes
* Kidney stones
* Tooth decay and other dental problems
I am deeply indebted to my Economics teacher, Mrs. Payal Mathur, without whose help this project would not have been possible. The success of this project depends largely on the encouragement and guidance provided by Mrs. Payal Mathur. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the people who have been instrumental in the successful completion of this project. I can’t thank them enough for their tremendous support and sparing their valuable time. I would like to thank the people of my colony, my friends and relatives who were my respondents and painstakingly filled the questionnaires. The guidance and support received from all my family members who contributed to this project, was vital for the success of the project. I am grateful for their constant support and help. Last but not the least, I also acknowledge the effort put in by my elder sister Miss Upasna Handa in compiling the project.
* http://facts.randomhistory.com/interesting-facts-about-junk-food.html * http://www.livestrong.com/article/497521-facts-about-the-dangers-of-eating-fast-food/
JUNK FOOD FACTS – CHILDREN
* The junk food industry deliberately targets children as young as 2 in a bid to create brand preference and lifelong loyalty. * Advertisers question kids and tap into their play to create ads and products with guaranteed child-appeal. Fast food chains use the lure of free toys to get kids to persuade their parents to spend. A desirable toy can double or triple weekly sales of kids’ meals. And every child brings along at least one adult too. * Flavorings and colorings can cause asthma, rashes and hyperactivity. Many countries – but not the UK – ban them from children’s food.
JUNK FOOD FACTS – AERATEDDRINKS
* The metal can costs more than the ingredients, which are primarily water mixed with additives, sugar or sweetener, and caffeine. A can of cola contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. * Aerated drinks are aggressively marketed by fast food chains, because they are so profitable, at around 97% profit on the price per cup. The bigger the cup, the greater the profit. * In the US, average adult consumption of Aerated drinks is around 500 cans a year. * Twenty per cent of American under-2s are given Aerated drinks – laden with sugar and additives – every day.
DISGUSTING JUNK FOOD FACTS ABOUT THE FOOD ON YOUR PLATE
* Canned spaghetti
A helping of carbohydrate, salt and sugar, with virtually no fibre, anyone?
* Chicken nuggets
Low cost nuggets are cheap because they contain as little as 16% pulped chicken, bulked out with water, chicken skin, proteins removed from bone, hide, or poultry feathers, mechanically retrieved meat; plus the ubiquitous sugar, additives and salt. They also contain bulking agents used to soak up the water that’s injected into chicken to increase the weight – and the profit. Minced meat can hid a multitude of revolting ‘extras’ : carcinogenic antibiotics, recycled cat food, and poultry mixed with beef proteins have all been found in chicken destined for the production line.
* Chocolate muffin
Ruinously high in sugar, and made with the big baddie of the junk food industry, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil which has zero nutritional value, and damages heart and arteries.
Fat-packed and low in nutrients. May be coated with additives and salt. * Fruit yoghurts, ready-made sauces, fruit drinks, baby foods – and more… Modified starches, along with colorings and flavorings, mimic the texture of fresh fruit and veg, so that manufacturers’ can use less of the real thing. They also mask rancid flavors’ and smells.
A simple-sounding ingredient, like ‘artificial strawberry flavor’ can in itself contain around 50 chemicals. And not one single strawberry.
What’s in some of that Junk Food?
* One teaspoon of sugar is extracted from a stalk of sugarcane one metre in length! * A super-sized order of McDonald’s fries contains 610 calories and 29 grams of fat. * A king-sized order of Burger King’s fries packs 590 calories and 30 grams of fat. * A king-sized Burger King meal, (Double Whopper with cheese, large fries and large drink) contains 1,800 calories (mostly derived from fat and refined sugar). To ‘burn’ these calories would take nearly 6 hours of cycling (at 20 miles per hour).
Junk Food Advertising
* The food industry spends over $33 billion per year in the US alone to advertise food products that could be classified as junk food. * The majority of food advertising during children’s television programming is for sweetened cereals, Aerated drinks, candy, processed snacks and fast foods. * The average American child sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk food. * Over 90% of American children eat at McDonald’s at least once per month. * American teenagers drink an average of 760 can of soda pop per year (with boys drinking about 25% more than girls). * The average American of any age drinks over 500 cans of Aerated drinks per year. * Nearly 20% of children under 2 years of age are given Aerated drinks every day in America! * The average person today consumes more sugar in two weeks than a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year. That’s a junk food fact!
Courtney from Study Moose
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