The dark side of junk foods is not an unknown fact. Several researches have shown that fast foods and processed foods have increased childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Despite this, people are easily and constantly being pulled into the culture of quick -fix obsession with junk foods.
Busy schedules, demanding jobs among others often diminish the amount of time people have to prepare healthy and nutritious meals.
This has made fast food business a thriving business in Nigeria.
For instance in Nigeria, there are so many fast food which makes it becomes too hard to resist the tantalising offers of pizzas, burgers, French fries and other appealing stuff these food chain have to offer.
The healthier alternatives of food, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains are too unappealing to ignite such a craving and preference for eating.
Apart from the fact that you are usually served within minutes of ordering, there is the line of argument that junk food is typically cheap, processed and pre-packaged, making it easily available.
Over time, that convenience becomes a habit and eventually a perceived necessity to keep up with such a fast-paced society.
Essentially, if you want to be optimally healthy, you should spend 90 per cent of your food budgets on whole foods and only 10 per cent on processed once, nutritionist say.
Research studies are constantly exposing the dangers posed by consumption of junk food. In recent research, it was revealed that junk food can impact negatively on one mental health because it contains little of what your brain needs to produce chemicals responsible for happiness and productivity.
Gary Nul, in his book, ‘The Food-Mood-Body connection: Nutrition- Based and Environmental Approaches to Mental Health and physical Well-Being’ said that the foods you eat contribute to your overall wellbeing.
Most junk food contains no or little nutrients other than too many calories and fat.
Walter Willett, author of ‘Eat, Drink and be healthy: The Harvard Medical school guide to healthy eating’ believes that eating these foods is the primary reason why so many people are overweight or obese.
Studies have shown that some of the categories of junk food items you must watch out for include processed and seasoned meat especially the red meat stuff; others are fried foods and instant foods in the mould of noodles and pasta among others.
These equally have the capability of causing cancer, kidney diseases, fatigue and weakness, digestive problems and even depression among young people.
Additionally, apart from the fact that most processed foods encourage weight gain and chronic disease, they are high in sugar, fructose, refined carbohydrates and artificial ingredients and low in nutrients and fibre.
Choosing healthy foods is not always easy. Nutritionists say that eating foods like olive oil, salmon, nuts and leafy green produce will keep your skin, hair and nails looking healthy.
Obviously, your success and happiness depends on being in the best health possible, both mind and body. It is indeed time for us to return to nature and natural foods at least the way it used to be back in our traditional settings.
It is therefore advisory that parents especially, help their children and wards leave healthier lifestyle by training them to adopt wholesome nutritional habits. Both adult and children should be enlightened on the importance of going back to enjoying traditional home cooking. More importantly, you can make the right choice now by preventing problems in the future.
We should imbibe the healthy habit of consuming more of fruits and vegetables and less of processed foods. With most foods, the closer they are to nature, the better, experts say.