Gen-next needs fast food fix

Gen-next needs fast food fix
Highlights

It is said that you are what you eat. The way the fast food industry is targeting the young nation looks like it is bent on creating a populace replete with lifestyle diseases. The advertising blitzkrieg that is unleashed gives a variety of choices to choose from the junk food bouquet right from school-going children to youth.

Hyderabad: It is said that you are what you eat. The way the fast food industry is targeting the young nation looks like it is bent on creating a populace replete with lifestyle diseases. The advertising blitzkrieg that is unleashed gives a variety of choices to choose from the junk food bouquet right from school-going children to youth.


They are bombarded with chewing gum, chocolates, cool drinks, chips, snacks, noodles, pizza, rolls, ketchup, jam and a host of easy to access foods. The shift from joint families to nuclear families has made the youngsters hook on to the junk food. Precisely for this reason, India has come to be known as diabetic capital in the world not to mention about the obesity, hyper tension and cardiovascular diseases.


It is surprising that these diseases once which were known to be hereditary have become common in any family. Surprising fact is that a number of youngsters are suffering from heart diseases and hypertension. Junk food is responsible for rising cases of such non-communicable diseases.


Junk food refers to food which is easy to make and quick to consume. On these lines the advertising copy writers have become creative with “fast to cook and good to eat” taglines for food products. These foods have no nutritional value and are often high in fat, salt, sugar, and/or calories. Common junk foods include salted snack foods, fried fast food, and cool drinks.


Most junk foods have trans fats; these trans-fats behave like saturated fats when they get in the body, clog up the arteries and cause plaque to build up, contributing to heart diseases and strokes. Junk food is unhealthy because it is high in calories, fat and trans-fats, sugar in liquid form and salt, and low in fibre and nutrients.


With the growing concerns on impact of junk food on India, the Centre for Science and Environment had conducted a study whose findings are shocking. The results of the study indicate that junk food contains high levels of sugars, salt, total fats and trans-fats. The highest level of total fat was found in Haldiram’s Aaloo Bhujia: 37.8 gram (g) per 100 g of the sample.


Trans-fat content was the highest in French fries (8.1 per cent of the total fat), followed by instant noodles (4.6 per cent of the total fat) and potato chips (4.5 per cent of the total fat). Salt content was the highest in instant noodles (3.7 g per 100 g of sample). Consumption of a packet of instant noodles, therefore, will cover about half of the daily salt quota. The salt content was not declared by the companies on the label.


The highest level of carbohydrates was detected in Top Ramen noodles at 73.3 g per 100 g. 4. The amount of dietary salt consumed is an important determinant of blood pressure levels and overall cardiovascular risk. World Health Organisation recommends salt intake of less than 5 grams per person per day; National Institute of Nutrition recommends 6 gm.


The link between saturated fat and trans-fat and increased risk of heart disease is well established. There is also evidence that the risk of Type 2 diabetes is directly associated with consumption of saturated fat and trans-fat and inversely associated with polyunsaturated fat from vegetable sources.

By:Y V Vijay Kumar

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