Soda, fried chicken, french fries, pizza, milk shake, cheesecake, nachos, hot dog, taco, chicken nuggets, fish and chips are some of the unhealthiest food in teenagers diet.
What are junk foods?
Junk food is a term used for food containing huge quantities of calories from either sugar or fat with very little or no fibre, protein, vitamins or minerals. Such food may include pizza, French fries, etc.
In Andrew F. Smith’s Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food, junk food is defined as “those commercial products, including candy, bakery goods, ice cream, salty snacks, and soft drinks which have little or no nutritional value but do have plenty of calories, salt and fats. “
Junk foods have empty calories. The energy content is not complemented with proteins and lipids required for a well balanced nutritious diet. Junk food in it’s various forms is extremely popular, and an integral part of modern popular culture. Foods commonly distinguished as junk or unhealthy food include salted snacks, deserts, candy, pizza, fries etc. depending on their ingredients and preparation methods. The more highly processed items fall under the junk food category.
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Effects of junk food
- When junk food is consumed very often, the excess fat, simple carbohydrates and processed sugar found in junk food contributes to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and many other chronic health conditions.
- It can cause memory and learning problems. Diets high in sugar and fat can suppress the activity of the brain peptide called BDNF (Brain- derived neurotrophic factor) that helps with learning and memory formation. Consuming too many calories can interfere with the healthy production and functioning of the brain synapses.
- Too much fatty and sweet food can increase the insulin level in the body. With high levels of insulin, the brain stops responding to the hormone and becomes resistant to it. This can restrict the ability to think, recall or create memories thus increasing the risk of dementia.
- Excess consumption of trans fat can send mixed signals to the brain which makes it difficult to process what one has eaten and how hungry one is. This may sometimes lead to overeating.
- Junk food may be the reason behind fatigue. Although they make one full and satisfied, they lack the necessary nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates to keep the body energized.
- High levels of trans fat can cause fat deposition in the liver causing liver dysfunction.
Read More: 7 Ways to Manage a Healthy Diet for Your Child
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Top 11 Unhealthiest Foods Every Teen Should Avoid
Junk food in it’s various forms is extremely popular and an integral part of modern popular culture. Some of the most consumed unhealthy foods are listed below:
Soda is acidifying, chemical laden and loaded with either HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or artificial sweetener. Instead one should have some plain purified water.
It is high in calories and fat and other chemicals. It’s made from conventional chicken laden with hormones and covered with gluten containing breaking and chemicals such as MSG and salt and fried in cheap rancid oil.
These are simply salty fat bombs fried in rancid oil. They are highly instrumental in gaining weight. However now many places provide an alternative such as salads.
Cheese and highly refined white flour if combined with nitrosamine containing salty processed meat, is toxic and unhealthy. A healthy alternative could be brown rice or healthy pasta.
In many places cheesecakes are a must desert in the menu. It not only has sugar, salt and other chemicals, but also hormone laden dairy and refined flour. A better alternative could be chia pudding.
These are loaded with a lot of cheese, meat, and sour cream. Dairy products are high in calories such as cream or cheese. Instead one can have vegetables and home made dip.
Hot dogs are created from meat trimmings which may contain organs and blended into a paste using salt and other chemicals. It is high in sodium. A healthy alternative would be a vegetable sandwich.
Beef, chemicals in seasoning, cheese and fried GMO corn all contribute to this unhealthy snack. Taco with veggies and salsa could be a better option.
A favourite of children, these nuggets are made from mechanically separated conventional chicken and breaded with flour and salt and some corn bi products.
Fish and chips–
Often thought to be a healthy alternative, the fish however is like a sponge with the chemicals of the sea inside. Deep fried in oil they have high levels of fat. The chips too are fried in some cheap oil and increase body fat.
These are loaded with fat, sugar artificial flavors and conventional dairy. A healthy alternative could be home made smoothies.
Unhealthy foods are topping the teenager’s food preference chart. However these are no less than slow poisons, gradually degrading the human body. They may seem highly tasty in the beginning and once started it’s very hard to stop. But it is highly important that people become aware of the negatives of these unhealthy foods and switch to something which is beneficial for the body, to keep it fit and healthy. Not only the above mentioned foods, unhealthy foods are innumerable and come in a variety of forms. One can eat these but in a limit, thinking about the future consequences it might have on health.
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Some alternatives to these unhealthy foods may be the following:
- Baked chips instead of fried ones
- Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream
- Homemade granola instead of cookies
- Vegetable salad and soups
- Sparkling water instead of soda