Junk Food – Junk Food

Junk Food - Junk Food

What are

Junk food is a category of foods that share one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Poor nutritional value
  • High energy intake
  • High intake of table salt
  • High intake of refined carbohydrates
  • High intake of cholesterol , saturated lipids and/or hydrogenated (trans) fatty acids
    The peculiarity of junk food is that it has a caloric density that is absolutely inappropriate for the lifestyle of a sedentary man , but at the same time it does not meet the physiological needs of vitamins , trace elements , antioxidants , dietary fibre , essential fatty acids , etc.

    Why is it so widespread

    Generally, habitual junk food consumers are distinguished by a Body Mass Index (BMI) which indicates overweight or obesity , high visceral fat deposits , reduced general fitness (muscle-skeletal, cardio -vascular and respiratory) and metabolic disorders of all kinds ( impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes , dyslipidemia , hypertension , etc.). The Americans are a typical example of this, but the attitude to the consumption of junk food is spreading rapidly also in the other continents.
    There are several reasons why junk food spreads and settles so easily. The control bodies which, instead of protecting the consumer, allow the creation and commercial development of fast-food restaurants, confectionery and snack industries , are the first (as well as directly) responsible for the side effects induced by an incorrect diet ; above all, to them, should be attributed:

    • increase in childhood obesity
    • increased morbidity and mortality in adulthood
    • increase in national public health expenditure.

    Wanting to find a logical (but absolutely unjustified) explanation for all this, one could hypothesize that the giants of the junk industry and the nations that host them are linked by economic interests; I hope it is clear to all readers that limiting the diffusion of these products would not constitute any violation of their commercial rights, as scientific research has already demonstrated their harmfulness (as for smoking and alcohol ) .

    It would be false to state that the occasional consumption of junk foods significantly affects people’s health, because the systemic damage that these junk foods cause to the body is the result of habitual consumption. Ultimately, to avoid any complications it would be sufficient to limit the consumption of a hamburger , fries or various snacks to once a month; but then why do people, and above all young people, overdo themselves more and more with junk food?

    The answer is very simple: because they are good, because they were designed to enhance their palatability, because they are comfortable, but above all… BECAUSE THEY ARE CHEAP.

    Junk food is extremely cheap: hydrogenated fats , sucrose but also sweeteners , potatoes , mixed and fatty minced meat , are raw materials that cost very little. Why should a student (and how could he?) spend 15 euros a day for a small portion of spaghetti with tomato sauce , a chicken breast with salad and natural water , when for 7-8 euros he can eat hamburgers, chips, drinks and an ice cream ?
    Ultimately, junk food costs half, makes you fat twice and nourishes 1/10 compared to the Mediterranean meal.

    The same goes for automatic distribution in public places, including schools; for 1 euro, how many of you readers, faced with a bag of colorful chocolate -covered peanuts , would choose a single portion of fruit ? The answer is obvious… In our country, fast food restaurants are doing what bars and taverns have always done: they are INSTITUTIONALIZING. For teenagers, the “Mc” has become a fixed daily stop, and the fast-food in question has a loyalty-building strategy that is nothing short of excellent!

    In the halls of “fast” restaurants , large and comfortable armchairs have been integrated, mega-screens for football matches , play areas for children… even small rooms reserved for motor activity (as if pedaling half an hour were enough to dispose of that species of ” tar ” which is offered at the counter). At this point, readers will wonder: why are there no viable alternatives? Why are the old taverns that for years have been able to delight their customers with traditional dishes are dying out? Simple! Because the economic situation of our country doesn’t allow them to stay afloat… while the big junk food chains certainly don’t lack the capital to invest.
    The only weapons that the Italian people possess in order to counter the ruthless marketing of junk food are: family education and school culture .

    Parents from all over Italy, feeding represents the act of love par excellence, and to understand it, just think of the physical and psychological importance of breastfeeding . Don’t leave a few euros to your children to make them poison themselves, rather, invest a few minutes and feed them; cook for them!

    At the same time, principals of higher education institutions should:

    definitively stop the supply (as some are already doing) and the distribution of snacks and carbonated drinks ; it should already be clear to all tutors that culture is not made up only of the subjects of the school plan, but also (and above all) of food and motor education.



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