5 Step Solution to Fast Food Consumption
Fast food is quick, tasty, cheap and convenient meal choice for many people. According to a recent poll, eight out of ten people eat fast food at least once per month. In another poll, five out of ten people eat fast food weekly or more. Unfortunately, with every bite of fast food carries a lot of fat, sugar, salt, and calories. But here, we are giving you 5 step solution to fast food consumption.
Take it or leave it, fast food manufacturers create food with the goal of making you an addict to their food. Their aim is to produce food that has a bliss point. This is the point where when you eat it, you get the ultimate pleasure. They ensure that every ingredient is added in the right proportion. The salt is not too much, sweet and fatty. These combinations are hard to resist for many people. And the more you eat these foods; your brain reacts in a similar way to someone who has a substance addiction.
Of late there has been a controversy over the negative effects of fast food. While a once in a while family night out of fast food cannot hurt, a habit of consuming fast foods comes with a number of health complications. Heavy consumption of fast food leads to a bigger waistline and a host of other health-related problems.
Thanks to the kind of fats that are used in fast food preparation, frequent use of trans fats leads to the buildup of bad cholesterol. Trans fats contribute to the increase in fats in the blood. When the level of fats in the blood increases, it leads to the hardening of arteries. Apart from that, it leads to deposits of fats on the walls of arteries. Such a condition increases the chances of getting some lifestyle diseases such as heart attack, high blood pressure to mention just but a few.
If you must eat fast foods, then take the following precautions:
- Avoid sugary foods – they are high in calories which in most cases are beyond the daily recommendations per person.
- Avoid mayonnaise
- Order for the junior size, don’t go for the jumbo size.
- Order baked potatoes without the cream and cheese toppings, grilled chicken, salad among others.
Food is essential for the proper functioning of the body. For good health, the body needs nutritious and natural substances. However, due to the busy life schedules fast foods are becoming popular in most nuclear families. Most of the fast-food consumers are aware of its negative effects such as foods on their health.
In India for instance, fast food preference by most families is due to factors like:
- Easily accessible
- Fast service in most fast food shops.
In India, there are different types of fast foods in different parts of the country. Some of the most common fast foods found in the streets include the following:
- French fries
Negative Effects of Fast Food on the Body
Fast food is very pocket-friendly and good to the taste pads, but its negative effect on your body is greater than this temporary satisfaction. Fast foods have low nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other essential bodybuilding nutrients as compared to healthy food. They are also high in calories, sugar, and fats.
The negative effects of fast food include the following:
Fasts food contain high calories and fats. Taking huge amounts of these will have a negative effect on your weight. When you eat either cheese, hamburger, mutton chops or mayonnaise, they have more than the recommended fat in the body per day. The recommended fat intake per day is 65mg for adults.
Increase in weight is the major contributor to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. Besides that, obese people suffer from asthma and sleeplessness. Obese women have a problem becoming pregnant and other pregnancy-related complication.
Fast foods are usually made with trans fats. Trans fats are the major contributor to bad cholesterol buildup which is the primary cause of many cardiovascular conditions. Besides fats, fast foods also have a lot of salt. A high intake of salt has a negative effect on blood pressure.
Consumption of a lot of fats leads to the buildup of fats in the blood which mostly is stored in the blood arteries. The buildup of fats in the arteries leads to atherosclerosis. The narrowing of the arteries leads to major diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Most of the fast foods such as sodas, chocolate shakes, French toast sticks, cheeseburgers, and milkshakes contain a lot of sugars. A regular intake of a high amount of sugar can have an adverse negative effect on your blood sugar.
The major condition that is caused by a high amount of blood sugar is diabetes. Other serious problems that can be caused by high blood sugar include glaucoma, high blood pressure, hearing-impairing, kidney stones to mention just but a few.
4. Fertility problems
High consumption of fast foods can bring about fertility problems. One of the harmful compounds found in junk food is phthalates. This compound alters the proper production of hormones in the body. If you are exposed to high levels of phthalates, you can have reproductive problems or produce babies with defects.
Junk Food in Schools
In an Indian set up, junk foods are readily available by the sides of schools. Besides that, school cafeteria mostly doesn’t serve healthy foods. Most of them serve soft drinks, chips, and many other junk foods. Such junk foods have high competition with homemade tiffin.
The following are the advantages and disadvantages of junk foods in schools:
Merits of Junk food in schools
• Cheap – the popularity of junk food in schools is because they are affordable. Many families live below the poverty line. For most children from such families, school breakfast and lunch is a ready choice because they are pocket-friendly.
• Encourages children to eat – children from poor families eat the same meals every day. They get bored with such foods. When they get fast food, they eat it wholeheartedly. Although junk food is not healthy, it encourages some kids to eat.
• Easily prepared – Indian schools enroll thousands of children. Most public schools serve food for these kids. Feeds all these children is not easy. Some schools allow junk foods to be prepared so as to meet the hunger demands of these children.
Cons of junk food in schools
(i) Increases cases of obesity – fast food have very low nutrients if any in them. Most of them have high amounts of sugar and fats. Consuming junk foods on a regular basis is a major contributor to weight increase in children.
(ii) Poor performance – as already mentioned, junk food lack essential nutrients. The lack of essential nutrients contributes to poor development of cognitive abilities. High sugar levels lead to energy hikes while salt results in dehydration. Either of this can affect a child’s concentration span in class and poor memory.
(iii) Health complications – school children that consume junks on a regular basis suffer from metabolic problems. Some of the common health problems that are related to junk consumption are hormonal imbalance, high blood pressure among other problems. When a child is suffering from ill health, he cannot attend his classes and his studies will be negatively affected.
(iv) Overeating – eating junk foods can lead to overeating. Most junks have low satiation value hence a child can over-eat. Overeating results in taking in more calories, fats, and sugar which will also affect the child’s health.
(v) Addiction – some studies have found out that junk foods can be addictive. After eating it for a while, the body starts to crave for the fat, salt or sugar. Junk food manufacturers know this and hence they produce foods that make children addicts. The addiction to fast food is similar to that of alcohol or cigarette.
(vi) Replaces health food – the biggest problem of junk food on school children is that it replaces healthy food. For instance, some children will prefer chips over homemade potatoes. Also, soda has replaced the drinking of water. When junk food is readily available in school, most children will choose junk over school served meals.
Solutions to Fast Food
Regardless of what made you start eating junk foods, you can unlearn that habit. The following are 5 steps that you can take towards stopping eating junk foods:
1. Understand Fast Food Addiction
One of the problems of junk food is its addictiveness. If you have become a fast-food addict, it is crucial for you to understand what is junk food addiction and how it negatively affects your general wellbeing.
Junk food addiction is a serious problem for many people. According to studies, after eating high amounts of sugar and salt, your body can start craving for it. When sugar is consumed largely, it triggers the release of a chemical in the brain known as dopamine. Once dopamine is produced against a given food, the brain triggers a craving for that food.
When you develop a craving for certain junk food, you tend to eat more of it in one seating. You might not like it but your body compels to eat more. The good news is that you can overcome this problem.
Studying and understanding the negative effects of junk food on your health can help you fight the addiction. Making an informed decision will help you break the habit easily and avoid falling back to it later.
2. Write down the negative effects of junk food
Seeing the negative effects of junk food written down can help make them more real to you. When you are writing, also include how often you eat junk food, whether you have a craving for it. By writing down your problem with junk food, it will help you to understand whether you have become an addict or not.
Ensure also that you make a list of all the fast foods that you eat. Is it only fast foods that you eat or are there exceptions. Also, indicate what emotions you have when you are around the food. Or what situations make you crave for fast food.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on your feeling about fast food. By rating yourself, it will help you to estimate how likely the negative effects of junk food are upon you. It will also help you identify a situation or people that make you eat fast foods. All this is geared towards helping you make an informed decision about your junk food problem.
3. Make a Lifestyle Change
When you want to make a lifestyle change, never start dieting. According to research, dieting is not a long-lasting solution to any food addiction.
If you start dieting, you are likely to give up easily, get bored or stop buying the diet products that you need. It is advisable to make a complete lifestyle change about what you eat other than dieting.
To have a successful lifestyle change, make a list of foods that are not junk. Ensure that you plan the proportions of the food you will be eating. This will help you not to feel hungry before the next meal time.
Most importantly, make sure that you do not have any trigger foods in your house. If you like preparing food with a lot of sugar or salt at home, it will be hard for you to stop eating junk. Trigger foods are likely to make you fall again because they will trigger the craving for fast food.
4. Pack Healthy Food and Snacks
After making a lifestyle change, start carrying healthy food and snacks. Having healthy food will decrease the chances of you eating junk food again. Instead of going out of your office for lunch, you will have ready healthy food to eat.
Starting by purchasing a lunch box if you don’t have one already. This is a great way of avoiding to stop at a fast-food shop to buy fast food. Pack healthy food options. Carry enough food that will sustain you until you get home from work.
Also, ensure that you carry healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, yogurt, and nuts among others. These will help you stick to your lifestyle health change. Ensure that you eat at the right time without skipping a meal. This is important because if you feel hungry and you don’t have a snack, you are likely to eat unhealthy food.
5. Build a Support Network
Changing from fast food to a healthy food lifestyle is not easy, but it can be done. Having support from close friends and family can motivate and encourage you to become successful. Many studies have found out that a person can make a lifestyle change with the right support from people close to him.
You can ask your friends and family members to help you with lifestyle change. Besides that, find someone close who would like to make the change as well so that you walk together. Alternatively, you can find support groups online. There are plenty of support groups online that will offer you support throughout the day.
Healthy Fast Food Recipes at Home
You can ditch the junk foods and enjoy the following tasty yet healthy fast foods at home.
- Bhel-Puri – Chopped veggies with puffed rice and roasted namkeen.
- Veg-Nuts-Masala – Chopped veggies in nuts like almonds/resins/walnuts, etc with lemon and masala.
- Boiled vada- whole wheat pav
- Roasted veggies
- Bhunna chane with chopped tomato and onion.
- Sprouts with veggies.
Naturally, the human brain is made to accept a variety of foods. However, this desire can be broken by the production of dopamine hormone. The more you consume junk foods, the more of it you want. Once you become a fast-food addict, it can lead you into a cycle of unhealthy eating and sometimes affect your health.
The good news is that there is not an addiction that cannot be broken. By following the 5 simple steps discussed above, you can break that addiction and start eating healthy. This will lead you to a healthier and more productive life.