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Several research studies have found that junk food can affect the brain much the same way as nicotine or heroin.

What is Junk Food?

A few meals high in saturated fats are enough to make the brain stop responding to the leptin system.  The leptin system is the portion of the brain that controls body weight and reproductive function.

When a diet high in fat and junk foods is consumed over time, the body’s hormonal system is reconfigured and wants to store more fat.  Early exposure to junk foods could make the brain in children reconfigure the body chemistry so that bad food choices are made throughout life.

Everywhere we look, whether it is in print, online or television media, fast food restaurants are pushing their tempting wares down the throats of the American public.  The value meals have become mega-sized and tastier as more additives and preservatives have been added to increase appeal.  Junk food is everywhere and because it is cheap and convenient, the appeal is growing in epidemic proportions.

The term “junk food,” describes foods which are calorie-laden and have little to no nutritional value.  The phrase was coined in 1972 by Michael Jacobson the director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  Foods that are junky are easily obtained, convenient and ready-to-eat, though this does not necessarily designate a food to be “junk food.” 

Important and Interesting Junk Food Facts

No matter what a person tries to do, there is no stopping junk food it is everywhere and is not going away anytime soon.  The junk food industry panders to the minds and stomachs of young children and the American public at large.   Fast food restaurants throw in free toys and other incentives into meals to prompt young children into begging parents to splurge on a kid’s meal in lieu of healthier fare, with the sale of a kids meal comes more sales to adults and the problem is perpetuated.

What is interesting to note is that there are some important and thought-provoking facts about junk food that many people may not even be aware of, which include the following:

  • The artificial sweeteners used in the foods aimed at youngsters can contain as much as three times the amount of artificial sweeteners used in adult foods.
  • Many children are so used to getting foods with artificial flavorings and sweeteners, that now many prefer them over naturally sweet foods.
  • Artificial colors and sweeteners used in foods and drinks can cause asthma, allergic reactions and hyperactive behavior in young children.
  • The average American child spends 25-30 hours a week watching TV and views approximately 20,000 junk food advertisements each year.
  • The metal can that soft drinks come in costs more than all of the ingredients used to make cola, which are mostly water mixed with sugars and sweeteners, artificial colors, caffeine and 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • More than 25% of American children under the age of 2 years old drink more than 2 soft drinks per day.
  • Canned spaghetti is a helping of carbohydrates laden with salt and sugar and no fiber whatsoever. 
  • Chicken nuggets are cheap and contain approximately 14% real chicken; the rest is water, chicken skin and proteins which have been removed from the bones.
  • Fast-food french fries are fatty and low in nutrients and may be coated in salts and other preservatives.
  • Fruit yogurts, ready-made sauces, fruit drinks, baby food and other prepackaged fruit products contain modified starches, artificial colors and flavors which can mask rancid or spoiled fruits.

How Does Junk Food Effect Overall Health?

Medical science has shown how important diet is in the growth, development and aging of the human body.  A poor diet can be directly contributed to a failure to thrive in children and a diminished quality of life in the elderly population.  As far back in history as the time of Hippocrates, medicine and diet have been inseparable.

Four of the ten leading causes of death in American are linked directly to diet-related health conditions; diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke and certain forms of cancer.    There is no denying that nutrition and diet have a direct effect on the physical health of an individual and eating right can actually delay the onset of many chronic health conditions and can greatly improve quality of life for many.

Overview

Obesity and poor diet lead to debilitating health conditions and can result in death.  Junk food directly contributes to people having weight problems and experiencing any number of dangerous diseases. When a person eats more calories than what are burned, the result is weight gain, how active a person is and what they eat are important facets in maintaining good health.

With the right healthful dietary considerations and knowledgeable food choices, a person can avoid many of the problems that can occur from eating junk food.  It is important that a person realize that eating healthy means not observing a diet, but rather shunning junk food and making healthier choices when it comes to the foods they eat and the lifestyle they observe.

  • health.yahoo.com/news/healthday/cantcontroljunkfoodcravingsblamethebrain.html
  • www.dietpolicy.com/diets-articles/junk-food-facts.htm
  • www.dietpolicy.com/diets-articles/junk-food-addiction.htm
  • www.webmd.com/diet/tc/obesity-overview?page=2