Today more than 95% of all chronic diseases are caused by food choice toxic food ingredients nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise. This is perfectly true for most of the population across the world and it is also true especially for almost all school going children. They are the prime market for all kinds of junk food and they are the victims of several health hazards like obesity juvenile diabetes heart problems associated with increased levels of cholesterol in their blood.
There are so many types of junk food varieties available in the market. New varieties are being introduced every day. Huge amount of money is spent on TV advertisements by the manufacturers to attract consumers especially children. As a result children eat junk food for breakfast lunch and dinner. Junk food industry is the most thriving and flourishing.
Junk food by definition has no nutritional value but high in fat sugar or salt and lots of calories.
• Available almost in every part of the world. • Fall in the category of either fast food or processed food. • Attractive and well packed. • Easy to eat and dispose. • Very tasty and palatable and increases the craving for food. • Feel satisfied even when eaten in small quantity. • Offers high calorie in small volume. • Low in fibre vitamins and minerals. • High in fat sugar or salt
Packed foods like potato chips burger candy carbonated drinks pizzas and any other readily available food are called junk foods. Their main ingredients are caffeine Phosphoric acid MSG or Monosodium Glutamate or free glutamic acid trans fats (hydrogenated oils) artificial colors artificial flavors and preservatives. Preservatives are added to increase their shelf life. Some of these food additives are not foods but they are actually chemicals considered to be safe.
Mono sodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. It is a flavour enhancer. It blends and balances the other tastes in the food. It is commercially sold as Ajinomoto. It is safe.It is classified under non-essential aminoacid. It may stimulate appetite. It will cause headaches nausea weakness wheezing edema change in heart rate burning sensation and difficulty in breathing.
Caffeine and phosphoric acid present in carbonated drinks and soft drinks increases the level of toxicity in blood and causes hyper acidity. Preservatives like Calcium propionate Potassium sorbate Tocopherols are added in junk food preparations. They are purely chemicals and they cause skin allergy and skin diseases on prolonged use.
Certain thickening agents like Agar Gaur gum Xanthan gum are used in the preparation. Their main function is to increase the consistency. Their effect in our body is that we feel full after eating junk food products. Margarine is usually used for frying by the junk food eateries.They are chiefly from vegetable oils and used as a substitute for butter. It includes a solvent called hexane. Hexane is a toxic and volatile chemical made from crude oil.
In addition to all the above they contain artificial colours which are again chemicals prepared from coal tar derivatives to enhance colour. They are linked to allergic reactions fatigue asthma skin rashes and headaches. Certain cheap chemicals are added to increase the flavour of the food items. They cause allergic reactions dermatitis and eczema. They also affect the production of enzymes RNA thyroid.
Junk food contains host of chemicals that are injurious to health as our body finds it difficult to digest them. Prolonged consumption of junk food causes several diseases like obesity high blood pressure heart failure malfunctioning of liver increase in the cholesterol levels of blood eye problems leading to blindness diabetes respiratory diseases different types of cancer and several other metabolic disorders.
1.Lack of energy: Junk foods do not contain essential nutrients. The ingredients present in junk food do not provide useful energy. On eating junk food one experiences weakness and reduced energy level.
2.Poor concentration: Junk food contains high percent of hydrogenated vegetable oil. Our digestive system finds it difficult to digest. High levels of enzymes and blood are required to digest it. So a major portion of blood is diverted to the intestine. As a result one feels drowsy and lazy and experiences poor concentration.
3.Heart Diseases: Junk food contains low density lipoproteins. High percentage of cholesterol in the blood reduces the supply of oxygen into the blood and to the heart. Cholesterol gets deposited in the inner lining of blood vessels clogging them and heart requires extra effeort in pumping the blood. So heart becomes weak. Deposition of plaque results in atherosclerosis and cardiac arrest.
4.Blood Pressure and Diabetes: Junk food contains high level of sugar and salt. Excessive concentration of sodium ion causes increased rate of blood pressure. Excessive concentration of sugar causes type 2 diabetes and renal failure.
Junk food is manufactured advertised and marketed on a large scale. Children are fond of junk food. Ultimately they become the victims of these diseases sooner or later. They should be properly educated in schools. Lessons on Good eating habits Nutritious food versus junk food Balanced diet Constituents of food Diseases due to lack of vitamins and minerals Role of micro nutrients in our diet Infectious diseases caused due to unhealthy habbits Care of vital organs like heart lungs etc.should be introduced.Importance of exercise should be included in our school curriculum which may be called Health Education. Classes on Health Education should be held every day for five days in a week.
Project work and group work on Health Diet Diseases should also be entrusted to school children to develop.School and the teachers should insist on children to bring home-made food for their tiffin. Schools should organise a camp for parents to create awareness about junk food and their health hazards. Multimedia presentations and films on Junk food and their ill effects on our health should be shown to kids.
These are few steps of precaution that can be taken to prevent children from eating Junk Food.Parents schools and curriculum play a vital role in the upbringing of healthy children. Healthy children of today will make a healthy society tomorrow. So the slogan for today’s children is: “JUNK the JUNK FOOD”