SMART CHOICES ARE ABOUT MARKETING, NOT HEALTH
July 27 - Aug 02, 2009
Life today is not like how it was before. Long time ago, people ate foods that were very good for their health. They ate foods that did not contain chemicals, preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. People also had a lot of time to cook their own foods. Therefore, those people were not affected by the food that they ate, because all of the foods that they had were natural foods and healthy. That's why they did not have any health problem and they lived longer than now. But, these days, every one is busy and don't have time to cook their own food. People eat foods that are easily cooked or readymade. They do not even think of what they eat, and if it can effect their health or not. Most people do that bad way, because our health depends on what we eat daily.
Foods are the building blocks of every cell in the body, responsible for the proper functioning of the whole body. It is important, for that reason, to know what is good for our body and what is not. Foods can be classified into two types, unhealthy (junk), and healthy food.
Healthy food can be found in fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, seafood and dairy foods. They are also not of the frozen foods and without chemical fertilizers. It also aids in the absorption of protein. The other advantage is that healthy foods have no preservatives with natural color, and flavors. Healthy food vitamins can be classified into many types such as vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K. These vitamins are found in fruit, vegetable, meat, nut, seafood, and dairy foods. They are essential to the normal function that our body performs each day, Therefore, we should be careful, and we should balance our food that we eat.
Some people do not have time to cook what they want to eat or they don't want to spend a lot of time in cooking. Readymade foods can contain ingredients that are added to increase the shelf life. The Fast in 'Fast Food' refers to the convenience in preparation. Similarly, the Junk in 'Junk food' refers to the fact that the food is in fact ... garbage. Nutritionists are not supposed to call them 'junk foods'. They call them 'foods of minimal nutritional value'. When you eat Junk food, your body is filled with fast sugars, trans fats and other additives. Following a diet like this will result in weight gain, an instable immune system, and an overall sickening feeling.
Why does junk food have this unhealthy effect? Junk food has no nutritional value and contains very cheap ingredients. Why cheap ingredients? More profit for the food companies of course. Don't ever think the food companies care about your health. No antioxidants, omega 3 or vitamins to be found in these products.
Junk food or fast food can be consumed at any time, anywhere and it doesn't require any effort at all to be prepared. In the largest fast food nation in the world, you do not even have to exit your car to order a meal. Just drive by a speaker, place an order, and pick up the junk at the counter. The faster you are served, the sooner you will return for more.
The best way to sell junk foods is to make them appear healthier. The best way to do that is to entice nutrition experts to create easier standards. However, is a 'better-for-you' junk food really a good choice? Of course not. Smart Choices are about marketing, not health.
Junk food makers everywhere employ catchy and attractive ways like cartoons and fancy looking packaging to attract children. They sponsor different kinds of competitions among schoolchildren, distribute gifts to them, and freely operate in educational institutions and other areas where their promotional messages easily catch the attention of children below the age of 16. These practices practically promote the junk products.
RISK OF UNHEALTHY FOOD
The high sugar, fat and salt contents in the junk food commonly available to young children increase childhood obesity. World over 22 million children under the age of 5 are obese and the number is increasing by the day. Junk food consumption leads to child obesity and later on to diabetes, hypertension, different forms of cancer and high prevalence of other non-communicable diseases.
Listed below are some important health complications caused due to sumptuous consumption of junk food.
LACK OF ENERGY
Junk foods do not contain any nutrients that are beneficial to the human body. In most cases, these foods are filled with harmful carbohydrates, fats, and cholesterol that do not provide any useful energy. As a result, somebody consuming junk food has reduced level of essential nutrients thereby causing weakness in the body.
One disadvantage of consuming junk food is that it contains high amount of oil and fat. As a result, human body finds this food difficult to digest and needs to spend high amount of blood and enzymes. When a person consumes junk food in excess, a major portion of blood in the body is diverted to the intestine. As a result, the person feels drowsy and suffers with reduced concentration.
Junk foods have been identified as a major cause of heart diseases including myocardial infraction, cardiac arrest, and atherosclerosis. This is because junk food contains excessive amount of low-density lipoproteins and cholesterol that are deposited on the inner linings of blood vessels. This results to formation of plaques and the heart is required to put an extra effort for pumping blood through the arteries. Presence of fat in the blood also causes reduced oxygen levels. Another harmful factor present in junk foods is excess concentration of sugars and salt. Excessive concentration of sodium ions causes an increased heart blood pressure.
Even liver is damaged due to presence of ingredients such as fat, cholesterol, and salt inside the junk foods.
Junk foods also cause damage to the pancreas resulting in insulin-dependant diabetes.
Government has a duty to protect young consumers from junk food marketing and has been urged to immediately develop and enforce a Junk Food Marketing Code to save the health of our future generations.
The demand came with regard to hazards of frequently consuming junk food items by young ones. Consumers International (CI) which is the umbrella organization of all the consumer rights organizations has also developed 'Recommendations for an International Code on the Marketing of Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children' that its wants the national governments and food companies to adopt.
The code demands: a blanket ban on radio & TV advertising between 6 am to 9 pm, no use of new media like SMS, websites or social networking sites, no promotional activity in or outside schools and no celebrity or cartoon characters endorsements of unhealthy food items. It further advised schools to ban the sale of junk food in their cafeteria and urged the fast food giants to inscribe the health hazards on their products' labels.
The need for a ban on marketing of junk food products was never felt more acutely than now with the increase in junk food outlets in the country that are spending huge sums of money on making colorful display of their products and outlets to attract children. The Network for Consumer Protection asked media to inform and educate consumers of the adverse effects of regular consumption of fast food.