OK, we know fast food and junk food is bad, but why? What are the problems is can cause? Is it really all that harmful?
Most junk foods are packed with sugar, salt, and fat, and are low in nutritional value. But they taste sooo good that it is hard to eat just the recommended serving size (which is probably a lot smaller than you think it is – check the serving size on the bag/box).
There may be a reason why we keep reaching for the junk food. Doctors are starting to realize that junk foods can become addictive – the more we eat them the more we will crave them. These foods turn on the “feel good” chemicals in our bodies. When the effect of the junk food wears off, we want more. So, there we are again, munching chips and cookies, drinking soda…..
Chips, soda, sugary snacks and cereals, etc. are not the only culprits here. Fast foods can be just as harmful. The are loaded with calories, fats, salt, and additives. Also, the portions are too big and the friendly person behind the counter will ask if you want to make that a “biggie” meal which makes the portions even larger.
The problem with eating excessive amounts of junk food/ fast food is that they are basically empty calories. These over processed foods don’t give you body the nutrition it needs to function properly and in fact may be harmful to your body.. You feel tired, sluggish, mentally foggy, just not good. Also all that fat, sugar, and calories will have your waistline expanding.
All this can lead to major health issues like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. And, it’s not just adults who are developing these problems – doctors are starting to see lots of overweight children as well as children who are developing diabetes and heart problems. Not a pretty picture, is it?
So what to do? I realize that never eating junk food or fast food again is not practical. But, we all can cut back on the amount of we eat. Keep track of when and how much junk food you and your family is eating. Is it while watching TV, as a quick snack, to feel good, boredom, habit, the Coke machine at work is calling your name? What triggers it?
Once you are aware of how much and why you are consuming junk food, you can begin to deal with the problem. One way to start is to go cold turkey – get all the junk food out of the house and don’t buy any more or go to the fast food places for a while.
I know this is drastic, but that is what I had to do when I found out I was hypoglycemic and junk food became a big no-no. I realized if there were all those sweet, salty, fattening snacks in the house, I would eat them (couldn’t resist). So, I went cold turkey. Of course the rest of the family went without junk food too, but you know what? Once we got over the cravings, we found out we really didn’t miss it that much. We could eat junk food occasionally, but we didn’t have to have it.
The next step is to find healthier alternatives for snacks and quick meals. Talk it over with your family and explain the reasons why you are making this change. Ask for their ideas on what they would like instead of junk food. Make some suggestions like fruits, nuts, fresh veggies, etc. to get them started. Make it a family project to eat healthier.
Yes, junk food is OK occasionally, but limit the amount of it your family eats. Your family’s health may depend on it.
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