The attractive advertisements of junk food that we see on billboards, magazines and television every day are extremely powerful. They look so appealing that most of the time we end up falling prey to them. Even more so if they are endorsed by our favourite celebrities! They mislead us to an extent whereby we tend to disregard the reality and stick with the illusion.
So, why do we choose fast food? Eye-catching images of food lure us to dig into those fries, donuts, pizzas or tacos. They might look glamorous but unlike how they are presented in the advertisements, the reality is that they are greasy, calorific, loaded with sugar, fats and additives. Though most of us know the reality of fast food, more often than not, we end up eating them anyway while sitting in front of the TV, catching a movie at the theatre or sitting with friends.
Suggestive Reading: How to Eat Right When You’re at a Fast Food Place
Calories in junk food
Studies have revealed that an average woman requires 2,000 calories per day, while an average man requires 2,500-3,000 calories a day. However, when we go on an outing, to the movies, out with friends, we end up digging into junk food. The key is not to fall for those fancy looking skinny cappuccinos, chocolates, flavoured popcorns or cheese-laden nachos. Always remember that if we are surviving on fast food, our health is most definitely going to pay the price. Regular consumption of fast food puts us at serious health risk. You have heard it before; we are what we eat. If we follow this kind of diet regularly, it is very easy for the weight to creep up.
Nutrients go for a toss
Do we all know how important nutrition is for our health? Well, yes, a lot of us have a basic understanding of good nutrition, but we are still tempted into the airbrushed food images and opt for the nutrient lacking junk food; thus leaving us feeling low on energy. After a heavy meal of burger or pizzas, we may feel full and satisfied, however, the consequences put our health at risk. Consuming this kind of diet regularly, will likely make us overweight or obese. We may also be at an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver damage etc.
Campaigns against fast food
Fortunately, there is more of an awareness today of the health hazards associated with junk food and some are taking action against it. An example of this is the 2004 American documentary, “Supersize me”, directed by Morgan Spurlock. In the film, Morgan, the protagonist, survives on food from McDonald’s for a 30-day period. The documentary explores Morgan’s well-being following the fast-food diet. It also documents the influence of fast food on an individual and clearly depicts how it lures people into this unhealthy diet.
The consequence of following the diet? Well, Morgan gained 25 pounds, experienced headaches, fatigues, indigestion, increased cholesterol levels, increased levels of uric acid and a mild chemical hepatitis. He also experienced significant damage to his liver. Surely this is testimony enough to how junk food can be harmful for us?
There is another campaigner in the US, Chef Jamie Oliver, who has carried out a lot of investigating and research into the nutritional content of children’s school meals; what are we serving in our restaurants etc. In the past, he took on a battle against McDonald’s. He won this fight after exposing exactly how McDonald’s hamburgers were made. The fatty parts of beef, thought to be unfit for animals, were washed in ammonium hydroxide (cleaning agent which you wouldn’t want to eat) and used in the filling of the burger. Consumers were unaware that this chemical was in their food. Following the campaign, the franchise had to change its recipe.
There are many more campaigners like Jamie Oliver, who are throwing light on the health hazards of junk food. We can say no to fast food as well as help others by educating them on its ill-effects. To be healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle, there’s no substitute to home-cooked food that includes all your essential nutrients. Just remember, however tempting those airbrushed food pictures may appear, get in the habit of saying ‘no’.
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