Posted: October 17th, 2013
Effects of Consuming Excess Junk Food
Junk food is the informal term given to foods having low nutritional values and often contains high contents of sugar, fats, and calories. These kinds of foods include pizzas French fries and hot dogs just to name a few. The modern history of junk food can be attributed to the development of fast foods especially in America, which began, with the opening of a fast food restaurant in July 7, 1912 called Automat in New York. The cafeteria normally prepared its foods behind coin operated slots and glass windows. Frank Hardart and Joseph Horn were responsible for the opening of this cafeteria and went on to build more around the country to satisfy the growing demand of junk foods (Gay, 18). However, as appealing and tasteful fast foods are, their constituents pose more harm than good to the consumer’s health.
Primarily, junk food does not possess any nutritional benefits. The main reason behind this is that these foods are normally processed, and the procedures involved don not save the necessary nutrients. These foods contain high contents of sugars other than fructose, which is found in vegetables. This sugar is of an inferior quality and puts the consumer at a high risk of contracting heart diseases and obesity. Other constituents in fast foods include low-density lipo protein (LDL) (Schlosser, 26). This type of protein is cholesterol that has adverse effects to the consumer’s health. Currently, Junk has become a common diet in the daily lives of many people and this can be attributed to its attractive marketing, cheap price as well as its good taste. Eating is arguably among the pleasures of living but it should however be noted that fast food consumption- foods which contain unhealthy amounts saturated fats, calories, refined sugars, and sodium. The current age has been exposed to wide varieties of commodities to choose from and people can purchase commodities with regard to their personal tastes and preference, in this case, fast foods.
Notwithstanding, society has been enlightened through numerous means and have an
understanding of the implications involved with junk food consumption. Therefore, manufacturers of junk foods do not feel compelled to conform to healthy food production because consumers are fully aware of the effects, and the government cannot intervene and make decisions for individuals who make sound choices. Unfortunately, as the consumption of junk foods goes on the rise, so do the unfortunate cases of health deterioration among the consumers. The human body requires certain minerals and vitamins to facilitate optimum functioning. This process is however compromised through the consumption of poor diets and this severely impairs the body from functioning properly.
The excessive consumption of junk food products is responsible for many cases of weight gain among its consumers. Junks foods normally contain extra calories and fats than the body requires. People engage in their daily activities and this requires sufficient energy. However, the unutilized energy is stored up as fat in the body as reserves and thus leading to weight gain. Addiction to these kinds of foods normally leads to growth problems among children as the body tries to cope with the excess fat, and at the extreme obesity cases. Obesity and overweight individuals normally have to face health challenges such as cardiovascular problems, and other heart diseases.
Studies in the US indicate that two thirds of its citizens are either overweight or obese. If this trend is expected to stand, alarming populations of ninety percent Americans are expected to be obese or overweight by 2050. Researchers from the University of Columbia and Oxford University concluded that majority of American kids are overweight because of their excessive consumption of junk food. The constituents of junk food do not possess nutritional values and this is the leading course of undernourishment in the United States. Therefore, if one has a view of maintaining a good body shape and health, they should avoid junk food or even minimize its consumption at the very least (Gay, 25).
Currently, seventeen percent of children are obese globally. These kinds of foods are especially appealing to children because of their appearance and delicious tastes. Many children are fascinated with processed sweat and fatty foods, and junk foods fit their interests perfectly. The continuous consumption of these foods at an early age brings about an addiction, and this habit is carried along to adulthood, according to research. Moreover, sugar drinks and other carbonated drinks have been attributed to obesity. Their effect however is minimal, but their consumption needs to be monitored nonetheless. Soft drinks constitute elements of sugar and color. The presence of this sugar implies that they are unhealthy for diabetic patients. Additionally, the frequent consumption of soft drinks also bears the risk of contracting diabetes with a health person. The presence of color in itself poses another problem. On very rare cases however, they are attributed to certain forms of cancer, but soft drinks such as sprite and seven up can be exempted because they lack the color constituent (Schlosser, 32).
The second effect of junk food consumption is the considered to be the financial constraint on the consumer. Many people spend especially in the European countries and America as well have been considered to spend considerably more money on fast food meals, compared to what they budget for healthier meals such as vegetables and other groceries. This should call for informed budgeting on the necessary foodstuffs needed in the household and avoid extravagance on unhealthy foods. We normally spend a lot of money on outside meals, and this can probably be attributed to the convenience associated with junk foods. Recent research found that fast food joints that are notorious for junk food services are normally set up near schools, colleges, and working institutions (Schlosser, 45). Rather than having to deal with long-term price effects by fast foods, there have been suggestions on carrying homemade meals to either school or work and this way, one is sure to make necessary savings and is guaranteed of healthy meals.
Thirdly, excessive consumption of junk has negative effects on the functioning of the heart, diabetes, and even death at the extreme. Heart attacks are also associated hypertension, which is in turn linked to the high amounts of sodium and fats in junk foods. Junk foods are mostly preferred because of their high amounts in sugar and salt, but uncontrolled amounts normally lead to the contraction of diabetes. Diabetes normally occurs when one’s body is no longer capable of regulating the amount of sugars being ingested. If left untreated, diabetes normally leads to lack of sensations in the toes, feet, and fingers. Worse case scenarios of this ailment can lead to limb amputations or even death. Therefore, it would be a positive decision for one to eat nourishing foods for healthy and fit living (Gay, 52).
A European research established that the consumption of excess junk foods among women increase their chances of developing wide ranges of cancers. Women with raised levels of blood sugars face extra risks of acquiring skin, pancreas, urinary tract, and womb cancers. According the to the US study, older women consuming junk foods bear the risk of developing break cancer. The study established that junk foods with forty percent levels of fat leave women at higher risk than men. High levels of blood sugars are associated with unhealthy diets such as junk foods and cause type two diabetes.
The European research in this case established that patients with this type of diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cancer. However, men are seemingly on the benefiting side, as they are not exposed to these kinds of cancers. Additionally, high levels of sugars in men were found to prevent prostate cancer. As the research and science manager at the European Research Center, Dr. Greg Martin said, “We know that up to 40 per cent of cancer cases can be prevented by this type of healthy lifestyle, so this is just another reason for people to make those small changes that could make a big difference.”
Fourthly, the excessive consumption of junk meals has been concluded through research the excess oil in these foods bears the possibility of resulting to psychological problems. This is normally associated with lack of energy and a drowsy feeling because junk foods do not contain the necessary constituents for body building processes (Schlosser, 67). Majority of junk foods are prepared with constituents that lack the essence of providing the body with necessary energy to facilitate normal processes line carbohydrates, thereby leading to a weakened body and immune system. In this case, more often than not, frequent consumption of junk foods has been linked to constant body ailments. Additionally, junks foods lead to poor concentration and memory lapses because of the high fat and oil concentrations. On the same, the fats and oil in the junk food is difficult to digest and thus prevents proper blood circulation in the intestines. This is the main reason why concentration is altered.
The popularity of junk food and its wide consumption can be attributed to the marketing strategies implemented by its marketers, and they are normally carried out in an appetizing manner that people cannot avoid them. In general, approximately sixty percent of American ads comprise junk food marketing. The media is filled with notably advertisements from KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and other fast food companies (Gay, 73). As the audience is continually treated to these advertisements, their attraction towards it increases. Children who grow subjected to these commercials normally have the perception it is okay to eat such foods (Child Care Health and Development, 46). However, there have been counteractive measures by health organizations and the US government to enlighten the public on the health effects of excessive consumption of junk food. The government also implemented new strategies aimed at regulating the content of these foods with a view of protecting its citizens.
Additionally, junk foods such as pretzels, chocolates, ice creams, biscuits and crisps are normally processed with extra additives, artificial colors, and preservatives. Due to the presence of these extra preservatives and additives, the chances of the consumer attaining health related risks have been raised. These additives are made up of synthetic products, and the body lacks the capability of digesting them and in certain biscuit qualities and chips, one cannot be sure about their origin as well as their quality. Additionally, these junk foods have been attributed to numerous cases of tooth decay among many Americans in particular. Most fast food chains and food processing companies use low quality sugar and fats together with high amounts of salt. These constituents are very notorious when in tooth decay, and this has been a common issue among young children (Child Care Health and Development, 35).
The final issue on my essay concerning junk food and its effect in our lives is the minimal emphasis people normally place on healthy living and a fit body. Many people are not conscious about the benefits associated with healthy living and lack the initiative to stay healthy and in shape. Our health should be considered the foremost issue and we must endeavor in activities that foster good health, including avoiding as much in take of un healthy foods such as junk foods. Research has established that consumption of foods with high amounts of sodium, fats, cholesterol, and excess sugar is harmful to the body, and rightly so.
With the above implications on fast foods and their effects, it would therefore be true to conclude that people should watch on what they eat for healthy living, and the main issue is that people are continuously taking junk foods oblivious to the risks involved. Junk foods are known to be additive and consumers tend to be left with an insatiable urge (Schlosser, 13). While consumers are continuously wasting their funds on fast food restaurants, they are also wallowing on the prospect of wasting their lives with all the negative health effects associated with junk foods. I have personally overseen many cases of health problems among people because of the poor diets they chose to take.
The current generation especially is at the receiving end of the negative health effects of junk foods. Many youths have resorted to eating junk food especially because they are the target market through the various advertising measures of junk foods. These foods are seemingly more appealing than healthy vegetables. The responsibility in this case therefore lies with parents and guardians to impart the benefits of taking healthy diets in their children. Additionally, the cafeterias in schools and colleges should be managed to include healthy diets to ensure a healthy young generation.
In conclusion, the excessive consumption of junk foods has led to many reasons why this controversy requires adequate concern and concern. The main reason raising this alarm is the risks they increase in our lives, including stroke, cancer, diabetes and even death (Gay, 25). The excessive consumption of junk foods is also attributed to obesity especially in America. Moreover, being conscious of what we consume is one way of saving funds through opting for cheap healthy foods, and the long term benefits of leading healthy lives. Having to pay visits to the doctor, every other time bears significant influence on the budget. Therefore, I take my stand that we should be conscious of the effects associated with junk foods and incorporate healthy diets in our lives. This will ultimately grant us with long healthier lives.
Gay, Kathlyn. The Scoop on What to Eat: What You Should Know About Diet and Nutrition. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2009. Print.
Schlosser, Eric, and Charles Wilson. Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Print.
“The Effects of Television Advertisements for Junk Food Versus Nutritious Food on Children’s Food Attitudes and Preferences.” Child Care Health and Development. 34.1 (2008): 138-138. Print.
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