Junk food can be harmful in many ways but in the battle of healthy food vs junk food, you can act smart and get the best of both worlds. You can eat out all the time and still stay healthy. Surprised? It’s possible.
Our conscience is enlightened to the very core as to what is good for our health but our heart is stuck at that slice of extra cheese pizza at the dining table. It undoubtedly tastes better than the bland tomato soup sitting beside it.
Another factor that influences our inclination is we get these delivered at our couch in front of the tv set without having to move an inch. Just pick up the phone, make a call, and there it is. We do not even mind spending a little extra on it as long as we get to keep our lazy faces on.
But nevertheless, an apple can do us much better than a single slice. We gain more nutrients, more energy, and less fat. It even keeps you fuller for the day. And also, not to mention how light it will be on our wallets.
Why Do We Really Love Junk Food?
In the first place, junk food came into existence as a break from the daily dose of healthy that the people used to eat. People used to work hard all week and for that, they needed energy that only a healthy and complete diet could provide.
As a break for the homemakers, restaurants and bakeries started operating commercially and people would step out on holidays to enjoy the day.
For us now it is all but an escape from standing in the kitchen after a tiring day at work and cooking a proper meal for own selves. Rather we choose to order out and sleep.
Before listing out the most common reasons for this undeflected devotion towards junk food let us first be aware of what all counts as junk.
- Salted snack foods
- Fried fast foods
- Gum and candy
- Sweet desserts
- Sweet bakery
- Sugary carbonated beverages
Now having a little introspection you will realize how you are surrounded with junk food on all sides. Aren’t you?
The reasons are quite uncomplicated actually.
- They are a treat to our taste buds. Ask any little kid what is his favorite food and the answer is any of the junk food. You yourself, how many of you have a healthy favorite food? No, you do not.
- Craving is another reason why you are more likely to consume commercial food. When we are stressed, we crave cakes, pastries, brownies, etc.
- The temptation is another influential factor. The way brands advertise their products appeals to us and we end up giving to the temptations. A bar of molten chocolate slowly dripping is enticing and we know it.
- As lazy as we have become we do not like putting in efforts even for own selves anymore. If we are doing something even as insignificant as scrolling through social media, we want to keep doing it and someone else to serve us a hot plate of food. This is where our online food delivery apps come to rescue.
So now we know exactly why we like it but why should we avoid it?
Disadvantages of Junk Food
Here are some disadvantages of junk food:
- It can cause memory and learning problems.
Diets high in processed fats and sugars can suppress the activity of a brain peptide that helps in memory retention. Even a person’s attention span speed and mood are adversely affected. Eating too many calories over the course of the short span can severely interfere with the functioning of the brain.
- Increases the risk of dementia.
This has been one of the most drastic discoveries in the study of fast food. Insulin is something we have all heard of. It is used by the body to blood sugar levels. What we do not know is that it has a crucial function in the brain too. It helps in carrying signals.
Overconsumption of fatty foods can lead to overproduction of insulin, ultimately the brain becomes resistant to it and restricts our ability to think, recall, or create memories.
- Lessens the ability to control appetite.
Have you ever noticed that when you eat out you end up eating more than your usual diet? It is not because you are too hungry all of a sudden but because of junk food.
A healthy brain requires a certain amount of daily dosage of fatty acids and when we consume unhealthy fats our brain grows deficit of required nutrients. It ends up receiving mixed signals about how much you have eaten that leads to your overeating.
- Causes depression.
Consuming a high amount of sugar and sugary foods changes the chemical activity of the brain. It makes it more dependent on such food for a good mood.
This is the reason why you crave sugary foods when you feel sad and after consuming them you are happy as a little birdy.
- Causes obesity.
Processed foods are high on trans fats and preservatives. These harms our body in unexplainable amounts. We only focus on the taste and the next thing we know is that we weigh a little more.
Uncontrolled cravings make us fat and then finally obese.
Advantages of Healthy Food
Choosing healthy is not as easy as it sounds, eh? But making the right choice in these trying times is necessary. By trying times, I mean the world today is full of diseases which when tracked down leads to a single root cause, that is not eating healthy.
Here are some advantages of healthy food:
- Prevents weight gain
We all know fast foods cause obesity. It is not that we do not have to consume fats. We need a good proportion of fats also in our diets daily. It is just the kind of fats that are needed that make all the difference.
Omega-3 and omega-6 are the basic units if fats required by the human body in it daily need of calories. What we consume in the face of junk food is trans fat.
The good fats in our body burn the extra fat, lower the cholesterol levels, and keeps us in rather good shape.
- Prevents disease
We all know how the famous saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well if you think about it, it is better to eat healthy than to spend a handsome amount on doctor’s fees and medicines. Not to mention the physical and mental hardships you endure in any ailment. Then why not eat healthy, right?
Include fruits, raw vegetables, milk and dairy products, soups, etc. in your daily diets and you will be amazed to feel the difference within yourself.
- Leads to a more cheerful mood
Do you like it when you are happy one moment, then you crave a chocolate bar, and then when you cannot have it, it spoils your mood? Also, in that spoilt mood if you yelled at a friend? Now you are on a massive guilt trip, aren’t you?
It is not hormones always that cause a mod swing. Eating fast food ultimately leads to severe mood swings. Consuming a healthier diet can affectively alter that.
A complete and balanced plate would provide a more sturdy head. Stability will lower the frequency of mood swings changing your life for better.
- Improved Memory
We all have to ace some tests or give that spectacular presentation or deliver an important speech but what if we forget the next line midway?
Memory is needed to sharp and reliable and eating healthy ensures that. It is a very old and household technique but works wonders, eating soaked almonds.
- Getting a good night’s sleep
A peaceful night is what we all are in dire need of. There might be a hundred reasons so as to why we can’t sleep well at night. Whatever that might be, it is always a burden to carry on with the next day’s tasks with sleep lingering under your eyes.
One should try eating better and healthier to experience the night’s peace. In one of our previous posts, we discussed the calories of a chapati/roti in detail. Click here to check it out.
Healthy Food vs Junk Food
Here are the key differences between healthy food and junk food:
- Oil Difference:
There are numerous kinds of cooking oils available in the market today. And respectfully speaking, all are not healthy for us. The key dissimilarity between the two is the amounts of saturated and unsaturated fats in them.
Saturated fats are unhealthy fats. This is what we call the trans fats. This is where all the problem actually starts.
- Nutrient Capacity:
Healthy foods are rich in essential nutrients like calcium, fiber, protein, iron, potassium, and more. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains add fiber in the diet.
Leafy veggies provide calcium. Eggs and pulses are sources of protein.
2000 calories per day are the requirement of an average adult.
Consuming fats foods can never fulfill this.
- Choosing Snacks:
Choosing snacks is an important task, one that we do not pay much attention to. For us, snacks are nothing but munching chips and wafers.
What we don’t know is that we have healthier options available. Celery and carrots are much more healthy bets.
- Foods rich in Antioxidants:
Fruits are full of antioxidants. Fast foods on the other hand have none.
Antioxidants are essential to fight free radicals that are fatal to our body if not treated right.
- Refined and Unrefined foods:
In the process of refinement, a lot of essential nutrients are lost making it unhealthy to certain extents. Also, the preservative added further refine the food.
Unrefined and raw food is always best suited for everyone, be it kids or adults.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Junk food as defined by the dictionary is food that is high in calorific values but low in nutritional content.
You can include fresh fruits and whole grains in your diet to replace fast food.
Fruit juices and vegetable soups are a very effective replacement for carbonated drinks.
You should avoid fast food at all possible times but a once in a blue moon is okay. Once a month, you can certainly treat yourself well.
Junk food is undoubtedly not good for our health. Many of the diseases we suffer today have their roots causes in the lifestyle we choose for ourselves.
The first thing that alters when we switch lifestyles is the selection of food we consume. Eating out is not bad. You can go out to fancy restaurants and yet eat healthily.
Our focus does not need to be on our food pictures to be fancy enough for social media but to be healthy enough for ourselves. In the end, it is our health that matters most, isn’t it?
If this article helped you in any way then do share it with your friends and family. Spread the love.
*featured image credits: Marco Verch – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Meet the literarian of our group! She loves crafts, paintings, poetry, food, and can lip-sync dialogues from F.R.I.E.N.D.S all day. The world of words fascinates her, a true logophile. A typical millennial with an old touch.