BUNK THE JUNK!
The doctor at the annual medical checkup at school was visibly displeased with Sohail. “Didn’t I tell you last time that you need to shed some weight? And here you come with three more kilos! What have you been eating all these months?” he peered over his glasses to give the obese thirteen year old a grim look. Sohail smiled nervously, “I try to be careful but somehow I can’t resist burgers, French fries, chips and carbonated drinks. I feel I have become hooked to junk food”, he admitted in a wistful tone. “If you want to maintain your health and avoid a number of ailments, you will have to bunk the junk”, the doctor replied in a firm tone. “I am giving you a list of foods which you must include in your diet and of those also which you will have to avoid. Hope to see you in a better shape next year”. He said sternly as he turned towards the next student.
School and college going youngsters just love to eat junk food. Turning up their noses to home cooked food which they regard old fashioned, they prefer to opt for this unhealthy trend in their diet. With fast food jaunts opening in every nook and corner of the city, junk food marketing campaigns attract the youngsters. We often note that the most commonly advertised commodities during the children’s hours on the television are for sweetened cereals, soft drinks, candy processed snacks and fast foods. Moreover, free home deliveries are adding to this fast food culture. Pizzas, burgers, rolls and carbonated drinks are just a telephone call away and the children make the most of this convenience. These are some of the reasons why they are getting addicted more and more to these unhealthy foods.
Before using the term children should understand what really is junk food? It is a word first used in 1972 by Michael Jacobson, (director of Center for Science in the Public Interest, USA), for foods with little or no nutritional value. These foods are usually high in salt, sugar, saturated fats and loaded with empty calories. They offer little in terms of proteins, vitamins or minerals as they lack fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber. Having little or no health benefits, junk foods rob the children of the essential nutrients they need for growth and good health. Eating excessive amounts often leads to obesity and malnutrition. Common junk foods include salted snack foods (chips, crisps), candies and sweet desserts, fried fast foods and carbonated beverages. chocolates, chewing gum, most
Generally speaking, children have only a vague idea that the foods they love to eat are not very healthy and they should avoid deep fried foods, burgers, chips pizzas etc. Apart from the taste that most children love, they find them convenient and time saving too, i.e. you can eat a burger or chips when you are on the go or hanging about with friends, but not the traditional salan- roti or daal chawal, which are the base of home cooked foods. But next time when you go out with friends to grab a burger, or make a call for home- delivery of a pizza or rolls, keep these facts in mind. They will surely help you to improve your eating habits.
One teaspoon of sugar is extracted from a stalk of sugarcane one metre in length and a bottle of carbonated drink consists of ten teaspoons. A king sized Burger topped with cheese and eaten with French fries and an upsized drink provide the body with 1,800 calories! To burn these calories, you need to cycle for six hours at a speed of twenty miles per hour. Artificial ingredients contain an alarming variety of chemicals, for instance artificial strawberry flavor can contain about fifty chemicals and no strawberries at all!
To make your concept clear about the harmful effects of junk foods, some disadvantages are listed below.
Lack of energy: Junk foods do not provide us with the essential nutrients we need for growth and to carry on our day to day activities. This results in lack of energy, lethargy and general weakness and often children have to take nutrient supplements to take care of the deficiency being created in their body.
Poor concentration: After eating a junk meal rich in oil you feel drowsy and fail to concentrate on anything. Having such meals regularly makes fats accumulate in our circulatory system affecting the blood circulation. This in term results in depriving the brain of vital Oxygen and lack of nutrients and proteins can stale your grey (brain) cells temporarily.
Heart Diseases: Regular junk food intake is a major cause of heart diseases. Due to the extra intake of Fats, they are deposited in the arteries, which make the heart work harder to pump blood to the body. In the long run, the heart is fatigued by the extra work and also a deficit of Oxygen which leads to various heart diseases which are mostly not reversible.
High Cholesterol: Apart from forming plaque in arteries, which affects the blood flow, cholesterol also affects the liver where it is broken down. In the long term, junk foods diets can permanently damage the liver.
As we all crave for a change in our diet, occasional intake of junk food is permissible. Our body has enough stamina to take care of these undesirable ingredients. But be sure that you are not lured into addiction to these unhealthy foods. The meal cooked at home by Mummy is much more nutritious (and tasty as well). It is your own choice……Junk Food or Health!