Junk Food Impact on Health
Junk foods are called fast foods. As the name says they are easy to prepare and can be consumed very quickly. They are low in nutritional value and have fat, salt etc. in it that cause ill effect on consumer’s health.. The term ‘Junk food’ was coined by Michael Jacobson, director of Center for Science in 1972 in the public interest to raise attention among people about the issue of junk foods that has high calories and a lack nutritional value. Junk food contains sugar in high quantity, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat salt and numerous food additive such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) etc. and lack healthy nutrients that are required by body like protein, vitamin and fiber etc. They are popular because it requires a very simple process to manufacture and to consume. It is also popular because their taste and has a long shelf life which may not require refrigeration. It is quite popular in the developed countries like USA, Canada etc. because of a fast lifestyle. The junk food advertising also plays important role in its popularity. It should be avoided at all cost because it lacks energy and important nutrients required by the body and also has many health effects too. Eliminating the temptation for junk food and developing the awareness for health fitness like going to gym regularly and banning junk foods in schools can be helping in avoid the junk food and also shifting to the healthy foods can help in avoiding it.
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In the UK, the food standards agency do not use the term ‘junk food ‘and describe food ‘HFSS’ (high fat, sugar or salt). They state that has foods can form part of a balanced diet, but research show that children diet contain too much fat (especially trans fat) salt and suger. Americans eat the most fast food, but the Japanese spend the most on take away (home delivery) according to a research conducted by Euro-monitor International. The high level of per capita consumption demonstrates the importance of fast food in life style in these countries. Burger dominates the US fast food industry as it taking more than half of total fast food expenditure.
There are many types of junk foods available in the market like sodas, pizzas, burgers sandwiches and French fries etc. They are many companies that provide these foods like McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC etc. There are some foods like cheese chili, pav bhaji and gyro though they are not considered as fast foods but it contain less nutritional value and are made in oils as a result of that it can be considered as junk food. Similarly during the breakfast time some people like to eat cereals and considered them healthy but it contains high quantity of salt, sugar and fat as a result of that it could trigger various problems and has long time effects.
Junk food Facts and Marketing
According to the article published in US News on 11/5/2013 different facts related to marketing like In 2012 the fast food industry spent $4.6 billion to advertise junk food and the main audience was children and teen. A report by Yale shows that in 2013 33% of children consumed fast food and whereas 41% of teens ate fast food. The most worry some was everyday day it contribute an increase of 126 calorie in kids and whereas in teens it is 310. There are different ways to advertise fast food like TV ads social media and mobile ads. According to the report out of 5,427 meal combinations of junk food only 33 met recommended nutritional standards.
There are different marketing strategies that junk food companies follow to promote it. Many of the companies like subway, McDonald’s etc. offer loyalty programs. This is the most important way how they advertise it. It is based on the frequency you buy it and based on that you get a gift after some frequent visits like get a free meal etc. Another strategy they use is termed as Collectibles. With this they get customer particularly that children watch and enjoy. What they do is they find movies , cartoons and when parents buy kids meal, they provide a free gift as a result people do come back to collect all the collectibles. They also use societal marketing. According to Assistant Professor of clinical marketing in University of Southern California Lars Perner says “social marketing is designed more for getting ideas across than making sales”. With the help of this consumers that relate to ideas patronize fast food restaurant in turn.
Problems related with Junk foods
They are many problems related to junk food:
- High in Fat Content: Junk foods like pizzas, chips, sandwiches etc contain high quantity of saturated fats. They fats are not easy to digest as a result of that it gets accumulated as a result of that people gain weight which results in over weight leading to obesity. All this could trigger many problems related to heart and high blood pressure etc.
- High salt Content: Fast foods contain salt in more quantity as required by the body. Salt results in increase of blood pressure. Too much salt is not good for body as result of people might suffer from hypertension.
- High sugar content: Sodas and biscuits etc. contain sugar. Everyone likes sweet taste but sugar has its own disadvantages like too much sugar rots the teeth and could trigger a lot of tooth problems like ache etc. Excessive amount of sugar increase the sugar content in the body and as a result of that people could suffer from diabetes. I personally feel that it contains sugar , salt and fat that is needed but in contrast to that it contains in excess quantity as a result of that people suffer from it.
Why junk foods are popular
There was a research conducted in 2005 in Minneapolis area were 600 people were interviewed and was found that there are multiple reasons why people prefer it. The chart is based on the 600 people that was interviewed in the Minneapolis in 2005 and was published on the webmd.com by Miranda Hilti.
Due to following reasons people prefer junk food over homemade nutritious diet:
- Time: People are addicted to eat junk food in spite of knowing its harmful effects because it is easy to prepare and can be consumed very quickly. It saves a lot of time and as it is cooked in oil and contains sugar and salt, is added it to its taste. We eat it while going for job or when we do not want to cook or while watching movies etc.
- Taste: Moreover not only time but also its taste because of salt , sugar and oil, people prefer it.
- Junk foods like chips and biscuits etc do not require to be refrigated and can be put on shell. So it has more shelf life.
- Junk food packing is so simple that it could be transported from one place to another easily and hustles free as compared to perishable foods.
- Junk foods are cheap as compared to homemade food.
Harmful effects of Junk food:
- Obesity: When people are having excess fat or weight, then person is termed as obese and is suffering from obesity. It is a global problem. Based on the research it is found that 33% of the people in the US are suffering from it. Medically normal body mass indes should be between 20-25. But when it is more than it person is termed as overweight. But when person has BM I of 30 or more than he is suffering from Obesity. All this is caused because of trans fat in the junk food.
- Diabetes: Junk food contains high amount of sugar as a result of it people could suffer from it. It is of 2 types Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is caused because of junk food consumption.
- Hypertension: High amount of salt is present in junk food. As a result of that when people consume junk food it increase the blood pressure of the body. Excessive amount of salt in body could lead to hypertension, which could trigger many other problems related to the heart and obesity is also a cause of it.
- Heart Problems: Junk food fats get clotted in the heart arteries which could increase the chances of heart attack. It takes more time to treat it and is medically expensive.
- Cavities: The junk food gets accumulated on tooth spaces as a result of that it forms plague and ultimately causes cavities. This is quite popular among children.
- It could also trigger kidney diseases related to renal or polyuria because of salt and sugar present in junk food
- Junk food contains artificial flavors and preservatives which could cause asthma.
Junk food is prepared with lot of additives and chemicals and some people can get allergic to it and it cause skin problems like rashes etc.
Overweight people could suffer from digestive cancers as well. Moreover the junk foods makers do not do anything for healthy living and people could also suffer from digestive problems like food poisoning etc.
Reasons to avoid it:
- Lack of energy: In order to remain healthy body requires vitamins , minerals , proteins etc but junk foods lacks all these which leads to weakness in people.
- Poor Concentration: This is also caused result of junk food. Some people eat a lot and because of that there is lack of oxygen , nutrients which makes people dowsy and other problems.
- High Cholesterol: It causes heart problems as it blocks the persons arteries. It is not limited to it and also affects liver where it is metabolized. It permanently damages it.
- Heart Diseases : It is major cause of it because arteries gets blocked because of plague formation as a result of that heart needs to put extra effort to pump blood. But it causes lack of blood in heart and triggers heart attacks.
- Low nutritional Value: If you want to give a rating regarding the nutritional value then it will be 1 out of 10. When we make junk food nutritional is lost so they add syntactic nutrients to it in order to compensate which causes many diseases and effect our health adversely.
- Addictive: Salt and sugar are added to make the food tasty but they are highly addictive as it simulates receptors in the brain and people feel goods because the dopamine levels increases as a result of this.
- Many chemicals like MSG , artificial colors etc are added to prepare junk food. Medical report states that MSG causes obesity. Similarly junk foods are canned and free zed as a result of that it loose flavor so chemicals are added for flavors but it affects our health.
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