Junk Food

It is not every day that I get several forwards on the same subject. Yesterday was junk food day. The first was a video that showed a guy burning (yes burning) a potato chip on a stove. The speaker claimed that the fact that the potato chip caught fire was a reflection of the fact that it had a plastic coating. A quick check on the internet showed that the video was probably fake. However, that does not away from the risk of consuming junk food.

Junk food usually comes with an appealing taste. Sweet, salty or umami. Or even a pleasant smell or a unique way it crunches or breaks down in your mouth. The manufacturer will spend millions of dollars researching and testing the most satisfying combination that appeals to the masses. Junk food usually also combines fat, salt or sugar and fast carbohydrates. It is this combination that makes it hard to resist but also extremely unhealthy. The fat is hydrogenated, salt and sugar higher than your tolerance and the fast sugar will quickly turn into layers of fat. If that is not enough, invariably they are empty calories with little or no nutritional value. If you have developed the habit of using this as a stress buster, god help you.

Brazil has recently come out with a new set of laws regulating the sale and consumption of junk food. They have banned the sale of many junk foods in and around schools. They tax sugar-laden drinks at 18% among the highest in the world. They have also asked manufacturers to put a black warning logo on the packing of the food. This logo serves to warn consumers, much like in cigarettes, of the potential health warnings of consuming these foods. Some still argue that the link between consuming junk food and weight is unclear. What do you think?


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.

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