Free research paper example on Junk Food:
Feeling hungry? How about pizza, burgers, French fries and cola, or chicken patties, deep-fried? Are you thirsty? Then how about a milk shake or soda? Perhaps you want something sweet? Candy bars and crisps should do the trick. The truth is we love fast food. We love it even more if it’s deep fried in fat, full of salt, stacked with sugar and countless numbers not to mention flavored pulp.
There are over 300,000 fast food outlets in the US alone. Fast food, junk food, call it what you like, but it’s taking over our world. Junk food is fast, convenient, sadly predictable and everywhere. Our nutrition comes in a box, our thirst is quenched in a carton. No matter where we are in the world it seems junk food is there to comfort us. We think we know what we’re getting and we like it very much.
The only trouble is, junk food just does not feel the same way about us. Nutrition experts tell us that fast food is often high in calories, sodium, fat and cholesterol. Who cares? It tastes good and it smells good. How bad can that be? After all, it’s all around us, frozen in the supermarket and stacked in vending machines. We see the proof of our addictions, flashed across our TV screens hourly. The key words are ‘Quick’ and ‘Tasty’ and wherever we are, it’s never very far away.
National conglomerates spend millions endorsing games and toys with their drinks and burgers. Surely they wouldn’t try and sell us food that is bad for us? These same companies give even more millions to our schools and colleges. They’re funding our lifestyles and education. All the schools and colleges have to do is ensure we have easy access to that vending machine at all times of the day. All we have to do is to buy and eat and drink the cheap colourful products stacked up inside. Everyday and all day that is exactly what we do.
How wonderful this is on the cusp of the twenty first century. After all our time is in such short supply. We don’t have time to cook. We’re busy people, freed from the labour of the kitchen. Ping! That microwave meal is ready. The re-cycled packaging is already in the trash. The TV dinner soon consumed, we slump on the couch our only exercise being to switch the remote control.
How many of us realize that our diet and the way we eat and promote fast food is doing us serious damage? The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that half a million deaths annually are due to cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. They say that these deaths are directly linked to what we are eating. The fact is junk food kills as many Americans as tobacco.
It doesn’t seem to matter to us that both tooth decay and obesity are on the rise in teens and adults. According to the Center for disease Control and Prevention more than half of all adults are now overweight or obese. Obesity rates in children and teens have doubled in size since the late 1970’s. Their problems with heart disease are all in the future. The funny clown won’t be around by then. He’ll be close to death, his arteries clogged up. His cardiovascular disease will be about to finish him off. This will be as a result of a process that will have started when he was five or six, a process that once begun, is irreversible. His bones will be brittle and weak. His teeth will have fallen out. Still, maybe he’ll still be able to polish off a milk shake flavored with a spoonful of pulp.
One average burger meal contains, hidden amongst the beef and cereals, additives and flavorings, ten teaspoons of salt. Ten! Trying eating that on its own and see how you feel. There’s enough sugar in a soda, along with the fruit pulp, to fill up your hands. How about that for healthy food? Now pile on the spoonfuls of fat that make up burgers and candy alike. Would you want to feed that to a child? Would you even eat it yourself?
We know that smoking is bad for us, though it was not always thought so. We know that drinking alcohol causes major damage and impairment to our bodies. We don’t offer young children and teens these lethal toxic substances. Surely we should at least try and stop them filling up their bodies with unnecessary and harmful food and drink.
Kids love fast food. We treat them to it. It’s all around them. It’s not bad in moderation or as part of a balanced diet, say the experts. The truth is most of us have no idea what a balanced diet is. Kids love fast food because it’s all they see. They are being manipulated with advertising and so are we. Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that fat rich diets are not only bad for your heart, liver and teeth; they may also impair essential brain functions like concentration and memory. The quick fix buzz we get from eating sugar-drenched candy, is exactly that, a “quick fix”. Soon after we slump and become lethargic.
We all want to do right by our children and ourselves. Parents find it a continual struggle to encourage healthy eating habits. They are up against fierce competition in this hectic day and age. Pretty soon there will be a generation of parents who will never know what life was like before the advent of burger chains and fast food outlets. Ill health and obesity will be normal. High blood pressure and coronary disease will be rife.
It does not have to be so! Education is the key. We should make it our business to find out what we are eating and what we should be eating. Our schools and colleges have come to rely on the revenue from the peddlers of junk food. Shouldn’t we have the right to demand that some of this revenue is put directly into education on nutrition and the availability, even promotion of a balanced diet? Shouldn’t we be teaching children about a diet that includes, high fiber and natural energy giving foods. A diet that is low in calories and saturated fats is better for us. Vegetables are a major source of our protein and vitamins. We should be incorporating these into our daily intake. We should not just rely on a small printed list on the side of a carton that we do not even understand. Obesity and disease will not vanish purely as a result of a healthy diet. Exercise should be incorporated too. A healthier diet though, is a major start.
Knowledge is good, but it is not enough. After all whatever we say, if junk food is all that is on offer, what kind of choice is that? The US government does spend money on promoting healthy eating. A mere one million dollars compared to more than a billion dollars spent by one fast food chain alone in promoting its products. Our government needs to initiate campaigns and policies to enable people to eat well and be active. Above all we need to clamp down on the junk food ads. We must try to eat healthier.
You must find out what exactly you are eating. Make it your business to know what is going into your system. You will feel better for it. You will look better for it. Who knows you might even be able to think with a razor sharp mind. Then you’d know that in eating junk food you are killing yourself with kindness. Perhaps then you’d reach for the ultimate in pre-packed snacks, a banana!
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