What exactly is ‘junk food’? Almost certainly, it is the phrase most suitable for processed foods with poor nutritional value. The term “fast food” is also used to refer to it. The expression “junk food” was coined as far back as 1972. It’s now become common name especially among the groups that are concerned with junk food effects on the body.
The definition of unhealthy food has long since been a source of contention between those concerned with nutrition and healthcare cost and those concerned with the cost variance between processed and unprocessed foods. The apologists for the fast food industry would maintain that the term includes a kind of class snobbery as well as value judgments. They suggest when marketed by the more high market outlets the same items gain respectability and somehow become ‘healthy’, despite having similar or even worse nutritional value as their counterparts servicing the less affluent communities.
Some kinds of chips, for example, even though labeled junk food, might actually benefit you since they consist of polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats. Other foods like rice, roasted potatoes, and white bread have a limited nutritional value yet they are not often referred to junk food. The same goes for breakfast cereals which have escalating amounts of sugar or sodium and plenty of fat yet, they are not considered junk food.
It is currently recognized globally that high consumption of junk food can be detrimental to one’s health. It has been clearly associated with obesity, heart disease and certain types of diabetes. Studies have also shown that it causes dental cavities. The fact is junk foods lack the proper balance of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, fiber as well as other nutrients. They do however contain high levels of fat, sugar or sodium. They typically contain lots of food flavorings like mono-sodium glutamate. Studies have also shown that the negative effects of empty calories clearly outweigh gains from any unsaturated fat content. The high quantities of sodium is a contributing factor to the onset of hypertension.
It is especially important for children who are clearly in their developing years to consume a balanced diet. Those who consume junk food will by default consume less of a balanced diet. Consumption of natural fruit juices, for instance, will be replaced with high fructose or carbonated drinks. This all contributes to a loss of calcium, which results in brittleness of bones and osteoporosis. A developing child facing these factors would be at a serious disadvantage.
Junk food is popular with both manufacturers and consumers. For manufacturers, they are comparatively more economical to produce, have a longer shelf life because of preservatives requiring less of a need that is be kept in a refrigerator. They can also aggressively market to a great sector with little concern for nutrition- children. For consumers, they are attractively package, are cheaper to buy, needs nearly no preparation and has a ton of flavor thanks to the sodium content.
There are legitimate concerns about marketing and sales promotion directed at children. It may seem justified but should be balanced with the fact that adults are taking care of children in most instances. They should be more concerned about the nutritional value of the food kids consume. In certain countries, they have gone so far as to restrict or ban certain advertisements during children’s TV programs. In the United States, such a ban does not exist and I do not believe it should. Parents and guardians need to be more educated about nutrition and make sure our children and we are not eating anything that puts our health at risk. Next time when you order some junk foods just make sure to think twice instead you should give a try some superfoods and a glass of green smoothie.
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