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For the last thirty years, junk food has been part of our daily life. Whenever we are hungry, we want to celebrate, or have a quick easy meal, we resort to fast food. In this way, pizza, hamburgers, carbonated beverages (sodas), fried chicken, among others, have replaced the nutritious foods in our diet. But this is not the healthy way to nourish ourselves.
In today’s fast-moving world, people have less and less time to spend eating, let alone cooking. It is probably for this reason that junk food has become so popular, and there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay.
In fact, it seems that you simply can’t get away from it. One British hotel group recently announced that its guests are able to order fast food through room service, a move which is seen by many as signifying a new era in the couch potato lifestyle. So what exactly is junk food? Basically, it is anything that is high in calories but lacking in nutrition.
Hamburgers, crisps, chocolate bars and hot dogs fall into this category. Pizzas, although they can have vegetable and cheese toppings, are also included as they contain a lot of fat.
Obviously, a diet of junk food is not the best thing for your health, particularly as it is high in saturated fat. In 1993, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported this type of fat to be associated with a greater risk of cancer. Apart from the risk of cancer, another side effect of consuming highly fattening junk food is that you are likely to gain weight.
This is especially true because you tend to eat more, as junk food is less satisfying and lower in vital nutrients than healthier food. The best advice, then, for those who cannot live without their hamburgers or chocolate bars, is to limit the amount of junk food they eat. A little now and then will probably do no harm. But why have our eating habits changed? “It’s lack of time and loss of tradition,” says one expert. He explains that people are too busy to cook and eat proper meals, so they grab whatever is available – and that is usually junk food. Also, the style of life represented on TV, especially in music videos, is fast.
Young people pick up the idea that speed means excitement, whereas anything traditional is slow and boring. As a result, they turn down traditional food and go for junk food instead. Another alarming thing about people’s lifestyles today is that while the amount of junk food we eat has Increased, the amount of exercise we do has actually decreased. Exercise plays an important part in keeping the body fit and healthy; it helps to control our weight and, if taken regularly, can also decrease our chances of having a heart attack in later life. What is more, you don’t have to exercise much to gain visible benefits. Doctors say that twenty minutes exercise three times a week is all that is necessary. Even though people, nowadays, are actually far more aware of the importance of exercise and a healthy diet than they were a few years ago, the new unhealthy way of life is surprisingly popular.
This is illustrated by statistics gathered by researchers over the past two decades Recent research has shown that young French people, who prefer burgers and chips to rich gourmet dishes, tend to become overweight. Weight gained in adolescence is extremely hard to lose in later life, so researchers are predicting that the new French generation are not going to be admired for their slim figures, as the French have traditionally been. Researchers suggest that the new generation will be much more likely to suffer from heart and liver disease.
What can’t be emphasised enough is the fact that a balanced diet and regular exercise bring significant health benefits. You can gain anything from glowing skin to an all- round feeling of good health. One way or another, the vast majority of people seem to be missing out on this, due mainly to the pressures of modern life. Ironically, if they were to make time to exercise and improve their eating habits, they would probably find that they were far better equipped to deal with their stressful lifestyles than they are now.
In my opinion, junk food is certainly not the healthier option when we have to choose what to include in our diet. I clearly know and agree with doctors that junk food consumption must be controlled. Yet, do people really know the consequences this fatty, lack of protein food, have in our body at the time of eating them? To begin with, obesity has a strong bond with fast food. Eating junk food regularly and having a sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity. Obesity leads to other complications like increase in the cholesterol level, blocking of the arteries, the increased risk of coronary diseases, in addition to the physical discomfort that extra weight causes. As fast food is addictive it is very difficult to give up on these fatty foods and carbonated drinks and switch to healthier options. That is why I conceder that junk food must not have an essential role in our diet. Furthermore, junk food has too much fat, and too much saturated fat in the diet will cause people to put on weight and get fat or obese. For the opposite, healthy foods contain more vitamins and minerals, lower levels of sodium and chemical additives, and healthier oils and fats. Junk food is high in calories but low in useful vitamins or minerals and it often gets many of its calories from unhealthy saturated fats. That is why, if all the calories that are consumed are from saturated fats, we will be replacing the healthy food for the unhealthy saturated one. Junk food also contains extra salt than the nutritious food and it is unhealthy for the heart, and can cause coronary heart disease. Sugar is essential in junk food as it makes it taste so good. Soft drinks, cordials, biscuits, cakes and lollies all have a lot of sugar. However, too much sugar makes people fat, rots the teeth, is bad for the blood and may cause other diseases. We can observe that the harm fast food means to our body is a fact to consider controlling the amount of junk food we eat, and avoid a regular intake.
Eating junk food can have a significant impact on one’s health. Though many people enjoy eating junk food and think it tastes great, the health consequences can be serious, and can range from everything to low energy levels to weight gain and illness. The term “junk food” encompasses a fairly broad category of food, but it typically refers to foods that are relatively high in caloric content, but low in nutritional value. Junk food is often high in sugar, salt, white flour, and fat, particularly saturated fat. It is often heavily processed and prepackaged, making it easy to prepare and consume. A few examples of foods often considered to be junk food include fast food, sweets such as ice cream, candy, donuts, and prepackaged treats, soda, and potato chips, among many others.
Most people have no trouble identifying junk food; it is when they want to stop eating junk food that the trouble starts. The first effect of eating junk food is its impact on energy levels. Many people skip breakfast or other meals throughout the day, choosing instead to grab a quick snack or a soft drink. The junk food causes energy levels to spike, which people like, but then energy levels will quickly plummet, sending one back into the kitchen for another quick snack. In addition, junkfood can cause moodiness, and make it difficult to get enough sleep at night, so energy levels are never restored to normal.
Fast food nutrition should make up a minimal part of a healthy diet. Fast foods and junk foods are high in fat, sodium and sugar, which can lead to obesity and a range of attendant health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Here are the facts about how excessive junk food consumption affects your body.
Junk Food Affects Your Energy Levels
Junk food doesn’t contain the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. As a result, you may feel chronically fatigued and lack the energy you need to complete daily tasks. The high levels of sugar in junk food puts your metabolism under stress; when you eat refined sugar, your pancreas secretes high amounts of insulin to prevent a dangerous spike in blood sugar levels. Because fast food and junk food don’t contain adequate amounts of protein and good carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels will drop suddenly after eating, leaving you feeling grumpy, fatigued and craving sugar.
Junk Food Contributes to Poor Performance and Obesity
Junk food contains large amounts of fat, and as fat accumulates in your body, you’ll gain weight and could become obese. The more weight you gain, the more you’ll be at risk for serious chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. You could even have a heart attack. The high levels of fat and sodium in junk food can cause high blood pressure or hypertension. Excessive dietary sodium can also have a negative effect on renal function, even leading to kidney disease. In the short term, high levels of dietary fat lead to poor cognitive performance. You’ll feel tired and have trouble concentrating because your body might not be getting enough oxygen.
Junk Food Can Damage Your Liver and Your Heart
The high levels of fat and sodium in junk food and fast food can contribute to heart disease by raising blood cholesterol levels and contributing to arterial plaque build up. The high levels of trans fatty acids found in many junk foods and fast foods can lead to fatty liver deposits, which, over time, can cause liver dysfunction and disease.
Junk Food Can Lead to Diabetes
Over time, the high levels of sugar and simple carbohydrates in junk food can lead to type 2 diabetes. This occurs because eating too much sugar puts your metabolism under stress; when you eat a lot of refined white sugar and simple carbohydrates, your body has to pump up insulin production to prevent a dangerous spike in blood sugar levels. Because junk food doesn’t contain the protein or complex carbohydrates that your body needs to maintain consistent blood sugar levels, your blood sugar levels will drop suddenly soon after eating. You’ll crave sugar and likely end up eating more junk food. Over time, this stress damages your body’s ability to use the insulin secreted by your pancrease. A healthy diet can help maintain your body’s insulin sensitivity. Even in the short term, eating too much junk food can make you feel really uncomfortable. It can lead to mood swings and constipation, and lower your energy levels so that you lack interest in the exercise you need to burn off those extra calories.
In addition, the advertisement fast food restaurants have, such as Mc Donald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell is really efficient and has an important role on the
increase of obesity all over the world. In the United Kingdom, the Children’s Food Bill is intended to highly regulate the advertising of such food aimed at children, and many other countries are looking forward to do the same. Advertisement helps to increase the consumption of junk food, so, in my opinion, it must be also controlled by the government in order to lower the great number of obese people, harmed by the junk food. Despite the fact that junk food does not have all the nutrients we need to nourish our body, it can definitely be included in our menu, exercising a proper control over their consumption. That is to say, that the benefits of fast food, such as the taste, easy access, instant delivery and affordability can be enjoyed in a correct way if we follow a balanced diet, and in that way it would not cause harm to the body. Taking every argument into consideration, it is clear that fast food risks definitely outnumber its positive effects. The drawback of fast food is that it has almost zero nutritious value. The desire of fast food among children and adults is so much that it has been installed in our daily life, and one cannot avoid its consumption. To conclude, it is not wrong to eat junk food sometimes, provided that it is included in a balanced nutritious diet, controlling the correct amount of it.
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