The dark side of junk foods is not an unknown fact. Several research studies have shown that fast foods and processed foods have increased childhood obesity, heart disease and diabetes and other chronic diseases. Yet, people are easily and constantly being pulled into the culture of quick-fix obsession with junk-food.
Nowadays busy schedules often diminish the amount of time people have to prepare healthy, nutritious meals. You will find some men and women who have demanding jobs, say there is little or no time to cook a meal from scratch. So they opt for faster, easier options.
For instance, in Nigeria, we are living in an age of KFC, Domino’s pizza, Tastee Fried Chicken, to mention but a few, where it becomes too hard to resist the tantalising offers of pizzas, burgers, French fries and other appealing stuff these food chains have to offer. The healthier alternatives of food, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains are too unappealing to ignite such a craving and finally preference for eating. Apart, from the fact that you are usually served within minutes of ordering. There is the line of argument that junk food is typically cheap, processed and pre-packaged, making it easily available. Over time, that convenience becomes a habit and eventually a perceived necessity to keep up with such a fast-paced society.
Essentially, if you want to be optimally healthy, you should spend 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent on processed foods, nutritionists say. Research studies are constantly exposing the dangers posed by consumption of junk food. In a recent research, it was revealed that junk food can impact negatively on your mental health because it contains little of what your brain needs to produce the chemicals responsible for happiness and productivity. Gary Null reports in his book, “The Food-Mood-Body Connection: Nutrition-Based and Environmental Approaches to Mental Health and Physical Well-Being,” that the foods you eat contribute to how well you feel as well as your outlook on life.
Most junk food contains no nutrients other than too many calories and fat. Walter Willett, author of “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating,” believes that eating these foods is the primary reason why so many people are overweight or obese.
Studies have shown that some of the categories of junk food items you must watch out for include processed and seasoned meat especially the red meat stuff; others are fried foods and instant foods in the mould of noodles and pasta, among others. These equally have the capability of causing cancer, kidney disease, fatigue and weakness, digestive problems and even depression among young people.
Additionally, apart from the fact that most processed foods encourage weight gain and chronic disease, they are high in sugar, fructose, refined carbohydrates and artificial ingredients and low in nutrients and fibre.
Choosing healthy foods is not always easy. Nutritionists say that eating foods like olive oil, salmon, nuts, and leafy green produce will keep your skin, hair and nails looking healthy.
Obviously, your success and happiness depends on being in the best health possible, both mind and body. It is indeed time for us to return to nature and natural foods at least the way it used to be back in our traditional settings.
It is therefore advisory that parents especially, help their children and wards leave healthier lifestyle by training them to adopt wholesome nutritional habits. Both adults and children should be enlightened on the importance of going back to enjoying traditional home cooking. More importantly, you can make the right choice now by preventing problems in the future.
We all should imbibe the healthy habit of consuming more of fruits and vegetables and less of processed foods. With most foods, the closer they are to nature, the better, experts say.