This article was published by Parent Circle in March, 2013 as the lead feature (available in news stands now) and was oriented towards child nutrition. I had written another one on the same subject for Life in Adyar for a more broader readership. I'm combining the two and hopefully this will make the educative impact that I want it to.... it's a subject directly related to immediate transformation of current health status and prevention of future chronic disease. I'm breaking it into several posts as it is looooong.....
“Next time you pay for junk food, remember it will be paid for in two instalments; first in cash and then in your health”
----- Antonio Carillo
So what is junk food? Any food that does not deliver a significant quantity of a variety of nutrients and instead, gives mostly calories from fats, sugars and / or simple carbohydrates deserves this label. You’ve heard the term ‘empty calories’ – it was coined to describe these foods.
Many people think that no food should be called ‘junk’. If they knew how, in reality, these foods are so processed and manipulated that they little resemble their original ingredients (and can’t even accurately be called ‘food’), they would change their mind.
Ever since the term ‘junk food’ was coined in the early seventies, we have seen a global explosion in varieties available and consumption patterns. So obviously, this label is not working to alter people’s choices.
Let’s start calling a spade a spade and term them ‘ZERO NUTRITION FOODS’, ‘NON-NUTRITIVE FOODS’, ‘HEALTH DAMAGING FOODS’, ‘CHRONIC DISEASE CAUSING FOODS’, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I have also consumed these – it’s impossible for anyone to completely avoid eating them – however, being aware of the consequences on my body enables me to say NO more often or, if not, consume these rarely in very small quantities.
Consumption of ZERO NUTRITION FOODS in moderate quantities and regularly (even once a week) has consequences on the body.
- Cause you to become addicted to the same kind of food, developing cravings and binge eating disorders
- Lower your metabolism causing weight gain which in turn puts you at risk for chronic diseases
- Are a burden on the liver and can lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and ultimately liver failure
- Decrease the efficiency of your digestive system
- Make you lethargic and may lead to mood swings and even depression
- Lower your natural immunity resulting in frequent, small illnesses and infections
- Increase inflammation in the body making you prone to heart disease
A familiar sight at your local supermarket - the snack aisle..............to be continued.