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9 Tips to Stop Eating Junk Food

problems and solutions junk food

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Junk food is a term that’s commonly used to describe ultra-processed foods and drinks, like fast food, soda, candy, cookies, and salty snack foods. These foods make up a large portion of most people's diets. In fact, some study findings suggest that junk food accounts for nearly 50% of the average American’s daily calorie intake.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your favorite foods from time to time—like baked goods, ice cream, and chips—junk food shouldn’t be a regular part of your diet, since consuming it too often can harm your physical and mental health.

For example, diets high in junk food are associated with conditions such as obesity, fatty liver, high blood sugar, depression , heart disease, and certain cancers.

If your diet is currently high in junk food and you're trying to kick your junk food habit for good, there are several effective methods to try. 

Here are 9 evidence-based tips that can help you eat less junk food. 

1. Cook More Meals at Home

Making an effort to cook more meals at home is one of the best ways to cut back on junk food. Oftentimes, people choose convenience foods, like sweetened coffee drinks, donuts, and fast food, when they’re on the go and have no other meal or snack options.

Cooking more at home, including meal prepping, can help decrease your reliance on convenience foods and ensure you always have a healthy meal or snack on hand. Multiple studies have found that people who cook more have better quality diets, including greater intake of fruits and vegetables and less fast food consumption, as well as lower obesity rates compared to people who frequently dine out. Plus, they tend to spend less money on food.

If you’re not used to cooking meals at home, start slow by preparing one or two meals a week at home and then increasing your at-home meal prep from there. 

2. Eat More Protein

Protein is the most satiating nutrient and has a powerful effect on your food intake and food choices. Studies show that increasing your protein intake is an effective way to cut back on snacking and prevent overeating, which may help you reduce your junk food intake.

Some research suggests that cutting back on carbs and replacing carbs with sources of fat and protein can help reduce food cravings as well as overall calorie intake. A small 2019 study that included 19 people found that following a higher protein, lower carb diet that consisted of 14% carbs, 58% fat, and 28% protein for four weeks significantly reduced food cravings, including cravings for sweets and fast food.

The researchers also found that following this diet helped improve dietary restraint while reducing hunger and disinhibition, which refers to a loss of control when eating and a tendency to overeat in the presence of highly palatable foods, like junk food.

3. Fuel Your Body Regularly

Depriving your body of calories or being overly restrictive with your food intake may seem like an effective way to promote weight loss or prevent junk food intake, but it can actually have the opposite effect. 

Though the relationship between calorie restriction’s impact on cravings and calorie intake is complex, some research shows that skipping meals and depriving your body of certain foods could increase cravings and snacking.

For example, a 2020 review found that interventions that included total avoidance of certain foods increased cravings for the foods that were off-limits. Additionally, some studies suggest that skipping meals, like breakfast , may increase cravings for carb-rich foods at night.

While everyone has different calorie and meal timing needs, in general, following a meal plan that consists of regular, nutrient-dense, protein-rich meals and snacks could help you maintain a healthy calorie intake and reduce your cravings for junk food.

4. Eat More Filling Foods

If you’re struggling with your diet and food choices, learning more about how certain foods impact your body and hunger levels may help you develop a healthier eating plan and cut back on your junk food intake. 

Most junk foods are high in calories yet low in satiating nutrients, such as fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Protein and fiber are especially important for satiety, as they help your body feel full after eating.

Instead of reaching for junk foods, like a donut and sugary coffee drink on your way to work, take a moment to think about what your body needs and how that meal will impact your blood sugar, hunger levels, and mood. Choosing a higher-protein, higher-fiber breakfast, such as egg bites and a side of fruit with an unsweetened coffee, will help you feel much fuller after eating, which may help prevent junk food cravings later in the day. 

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential to health, and depriving your body of quality sleep can negatively impact your food choices and increase your desire for junk food.

Studies show that lack of sleep and disturbed sleeping patterns can increase overall calorie intake, snacking, and cravings for foods high in carbs and fat, such as junk food.

Unfortunately, just one night of poor sleep can affect your food choices the next day. A 2019 study that included 24 women found that when their time in bed was reduced by 33%, which translates to a two to three-hour sleep reduction, the women reported increased hunger and food cravings compared to a normal night’s sleep. The sleep reduction was also associated with an increased desire for chocolate and larger portion sizes.

In order to promote and protect overall health, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

6. Manage Your Stress

Stress can take a significant toll on your physical and mental health and can even impact your food choices. While it’s impossible to avoid all forms of stress, developing healthy stress management practices could help you cut back on your junk food intake.

Chronic stress has been shown to influence hormones that regulate eating behaviors and food choices, such as cortisol .

Interestingly, during acute or short-term stress, your appetite is usually suppressed. However, studies show that chronic stress generally promotes increased cravings and intake of highly palatable foods, such as junk food.

A 2021 study that included data on 1,270 adults found that the participants with higher perceived stress levels reported higher rates of ultra-processed food consumption. The study showed that people with high stress levels were nearly two times as likely to have higher ultra-processed food intake compared to those with low stress levels.

Meditation , exercise, therapy , and spending more time outside are just a few examples of evidence-based ways to reduce stress. 

7. Consider Overhauling Your Pantry

If your kitchen is stocked with junk food, you may want to consider swapping out ultra-processed products for more nutritious options. Keeping highly palatable, easy-to-overeat junk food in your kitchen can lead to excessive snacking and calorie intake, which can negatively impact health in several ways.

Research shows that even looking at tempting foods can stimulate an area of the brain called the striatum, which regulates appetite and reward from food intake. This means that having highly palatable foods within eyesight, such as candy , chips, and cookies, may lead to snacking and overeating, even when you’re not necessarily hungry.

While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally enjoying a sweet or salty treat, if you want to cut back on your junk food intake, it’s best to avoid purchasing junk food and instead fill your kitchen with nutrient-dense products. For example, instead of keeping candy on your counter, try stocking up on fresh fruit for a naturally sweet snack option.

8. Don't Start Restrictive Diets

Following unnecessarily restrictive diets isn’t good for overall health and can negatively impact your relationship with food. Following ultra-restrictive diets can lead to a harmful cycle of weight loss and regain, commonly known as yo-yo dieting. Not only is yo-yo dieting linked to increased weight gain over time, but it’s also associated with a higher risk of health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure , and metabolic syndrome.

What’s more, most fad diets are ultra-restrictive and involve hard rules such as complete avoidance of added sugar or significant carbohydrate reduction. Strict avoidance of specific foods and designating certain foods as “off limits” can increase cravings for those foods, which can lead to overeating and a generally unhealthy relationship with food.

No matter if you’re trying to lose excess body weight or simply trying to clean up your diet, there’s usually no need to follow a very restrictive eating pattern. Instead of trying out the newest fad diet, try transitioning to a more nutritious, well-rounded eating pattern that’s linked with positive health outcomes, such as a Mediterranean-style diet or a plant-centric diet . These eating patterns don’t involve strict food rules, rather they prioritize foods known to support fullness and decrease cravings, such as protein-rich legumes and seafood, and fiber-rich vegetables. 

9. Grocery Shop Regularly 

Having a well-stocked kitchen makes it easier for you to prepare more meals at home and can help you eat less junk food. 

Studies show that people who grocery shop more frequently have better quality diets compared to people who don’t, including lower intakes of ultra-processed food.

If you have trouble staying on track when grocery shopping, or simply don’t know what to buy, consider making a grocery list . Not only can making a grocery list  help you avoid impulse purchases, like junk food, but it can also help you build a healthier diet overall. A well-rounded shopping list should include a variety of nutritious foods, such as fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, canned and dried beans, and protein options, like poultry, fish, or tofu.

Having healthy groceries on hand can motivate you to prepare healthy meals and snacks for the week ahead, which can help you eat less junk food. 

A Quick Review

Junk food makes up a large portion of the average American’s dietary intake. Eating junk foods, such as candy, soda, and sugary baked goods, too often can harm health, which is why it’s best to limit junk food intake as much as possible.

If your current diet is high in junk food, there are ways to help you cut back, such as cooking more meals at home, increasing your protein intake, choosing more filling foods, and managing your stress levels. 

While it’s usually not necessary to completely avoid junk food, following a diet that prioritizes foods associated with positive health outcomes, such as fiber-rich produce and satiating protein sources, can help you make healthier choices, such as cutting back on junk food.  

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Zhang T, Song SS, Liu M, Park S. Association of fried food intake with gastric cancer risk: a systemic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies . Nutrients. 2023;15(13):2982. doi: 10.3390/nu15132982. 

Yang B, Glenn AJ, Liu Q, et al. Added sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, and artificially sweetened beverages and risk of cardiovascular disease: findings from the women’s health initiative and a network meta-analysis of prospective studies . Nutrients. 2022;14(20):4226. doi: 10.3390/nu14204226. 

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López-Gil JF, Sánchez-Miguel PA, Tapia-Serrano MÁ, García-Hermoso A. Skipping breakfast and excess weight among young people: the moderator role of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity . Eur J Pediatr. 2022;181(8):3195-3204. doi: 10.1007/s00431-022-04503-x. 

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Chao AM, Jastreboff AM, White MA, Grilo CM, Sinha R. Stress, cortisol, and other appetite-related hormones: Prospective prediction of 6-month changes in food cravings and weight . Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017;25(4):713-720. doi: 10.1002/oby.21790. 

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The Impacts of Junk Food on Health

problems and solutions junk food

Energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, otherwise known as junk foods, have never been more accessible and available. Young people are bombarded with unhealthy junk-food choices daily, and this can lead to life-long dietary habits that are difficult to undo. In this article, we explore the scientific evidence behind both the short-term and long-term impacts of junk food consumption on our health.

Introduction

The world is currently facing an obesity epidemic, which puts people at risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Junk food can contribute to obesity and yet it is becoming a part of our everyday lives because of our fast-paced lifestyles. Life can be jam-packed when you are juggling school, sport, and hanging with friends and family! Junk food companies make food convenient, tasty, and affordable, so it has largely replaced preparing and eating healthy homemade meals. Junk foods include foods like burgers, fried chicken, and pizza from fast-food restaurants, as well as packaged foods like chips, biscuits, and ice-cream, sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, fatty meats like bacon, sugary cereals, and frozen ready meals like lasagne. These are typically highly processed foods , meaning several steps were involved in making the food, with a focus on making them tasty and thus easy to overeat. Unfortunately, junk foods provide lots of calories and energy, but little of the vital nutrients our bodies need to grow and be healthy, like proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Australian teenagers aged 14–18 years get more than 40% of their daily energy from these types of foods, which is concerning [ 1 ]. Junk foods are also known as discretionary foods , which means they are “not needed to meet nutrient requirements and do not belong to the five food groups” [ 2 ]. According to the dietary guidelines of Australian and many other countries, these five food groups are grains and cereals, vegetables and legumes, fruits, dairy and dairy alternatives, and meat and meat alternatives.

Young people are often the targets of sneaky advertising tactics by junk food companies, which show our heroes and icons promoting junk foods. In Australia, cricket, one of our favorite sports, is sponsored by a big fast-food brand. Elite athletes like cricket players are not fuelling their bodies with fried chicken, burgers, and fries! A study showed that adolescents aged 12–17 years view over 14.4 million food advertisements in a single year on popular websites, with cakes, cookies, and ice cream being the most frequently advertised products [ 3 ]. Another study examining YouTube videos popular amongst children reported that 38% of all ads involved a food or beverage and 56% of those food ads were for junk foods [ 4 ].

What Happens to Our Bodies Shortly After We Eat Junk Foods?

Food is made up of three major nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. There are also vitamins and minerals in food that support good health, growth, and development. Getting the proper nutrition is very important during our teenage years. However, when we eat junk foods, we are consuming high amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which are quickly absorbed by the body.

Let us take the example of eating a hamburger. A burger typically contains carbohydrates from the bun, proteins and fats from the beef patty, and fats from the cheese and sauce. On average, a burger from a fast-food chain contains 36–40% of your daily energy needs and this does not account for any chips or drinks consumed with it ( Figure 1 ). This is a large amount of food for the body to digest—not good if you are about to hit the cricket pitch!

Figure 1 - The nutritional composition of a popular burger from a famous fast-food restaurant, detailing the average quantity per serving and per 100 g.

  • Figure 1 - The nutritional composition of a popular burger from a famous fast-food restaurant, detailing the average quantity per serving and per 100 g.
  • The carbohydrates of a burger are mainly from the bun, while the protein comes from the beef patty. Large amounts of fat come from the cheese and sauce. Based on the Australian dietary guidelines, just one burger can be 36% of the recommended daily energy intake for teenage boys aged 12–15 years and 40% of the recommendations for teenage girls 12–15 years.

A few hours to a few days after eating rich, heavy foods such as a burger, unpleasant symptoms like tiredness, poor sleep, and even hunger can result ( Figure 2 ). Rather than providing an energy boost, junk foods can lead to a lack of energy. For a short time, sugar (a type of carbohydrate) makes people feel energized, happy, and upbeat as it is used by the body for energy. However, refined sugar , which is the type of sugar commonly found in junk foods, leads to a quick drop in blood sugar levels because it is digested quickly by the body. This can lead tiredness and cravings [ 5 ].

Figure 2 - The short- and long-term impacts of junk food consumption.

  • Figure 2 - The short- and long-term impacts of junk food consumption.
  • In the short-term, junk foods can make you feel tired, bloated, and unable to concentrate. Long-term, junk foods can lead to tooth decay and poor bowel habits. Junk foods can also lead to obesity and associated diseases such as heart disease. When junk foods are regularly consumed over long periods of time, the damages and complications to health are increasingly costly.

Fiber is a good carbohydrate commonly found in vegetables, fruits, barley, legumes, nuts, and seeds—foods from the five food groups. Fiber not only keeps the digestive system healthy, but also slows the stomach’s emptying process, keeping us feeling full for longer. Junk foods tend to lack fiber, so when we eat them, we notice decreasing energy and increasing hunger sooner.

Foods such as walnuts, berries, tuna, and green veggies can boost concentration levels. This is particularly important for young minds who are doing lots of schoolwork. These foods are what most elite athletes are eating! On the other hand, eating junk foods can lead to poor concentration. Eating junk foods can lead to swelling in the part of the brain that has a major role in memory. A study performed in humans showed that eating an unhealthy breakfast high in fat and sugar for 4 days in a row caused disruptions to the learning and memory parts of the brain [ 6 ].

Long-Term Impacts of Junk Foods

If we eat mostly junk foods over many weeks, months, or years, there can be several long-term impacts on health ( Figure 2 ). For example, high saturated fat intake is strongly linked with high levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, which can be a sign of heart disease. Respected research studies found that young people who eat only small amounts of saturated fat have lower total cholesterol levels [ 7 ].

Frequent consumption of junk foods can also increase the risk of diseases such as hypertension and stroke. Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure and a stroke is damage to the brain from reduced blood supply, which prevents the brain from receiving the oxygen and nutrients it needs to survive. Hypertension and stroke can occur because of the high amounts of cholesterol and salt in junk foods.

Furthermore, junk foods can trigger the “happy hormone,” dopamine , to be released in the brain, making us feel good when we eat these foods. This can lead us to wanting more junk food to get that same happy feeling again [ 8 ]. Other long-term effects of eating too much junk food include tooth decay and constipation. Soft drinks, for instance, can cause tooth decay due to high amounts of sugar and acid that can wear down the protective tooth enamel. Junk foods are typically low in fiber too, which has negative consequences for gut health in the long term. Fiber forms the bulk of our poop and without it, it can be hard to poop!

Tips for Being Healthy

One way to figure out whether a food is a junk food is to think about how processed it is. When we think of foods in their whole and original forms, like a fresh tomato, a grain of rice, or milk squeezed from a cow, we can then start to imagine how many steps are involved to transform that whole food into something that is ready-to-eat, tasty, convenient, and has a long shelf life.

For teenagers 13–14 years old, the recommended daily energy intake is 8,200–9,900 kJ/day or 1,960 kcal-2,370 kcal/day for boys and 7,400–8,200 kJ/day or 1,770–1,960 kcal for girls, according to the Australian dietary guidelines. Of course, the more physically active you are, the higher your energy needs. Remember that junk foods are okay to eat occasionally, but they should not make up more than 10% of your daily energy intake. In a day, this may be a simple treat such as a small muffin or a few squares of chocolate. On a weekly basis, this might mean no more than two fast-food meals per week. The remaining 90% of food eaten should be from the five food groups.

In conclusion, we know that junk foods are tasty, affordable, and convenient. This makes it hard to limit the amount of junk food we eat. However, if junk foods become a staple of our diets, there can be negative impacts on our health. We should aim for high-fiber foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits; meals that have moderate amounts of sugar and salt; and calcium-rich and iron-rich foods. Healthy foods help to build strong bodies and brains. Limiting junk food intake can happen on an individual level, based on our food choices, or through government policies and health-promotion strategies. We need governments to stop junk food companies from advertising to young people, and we need their help to replace junk food restaurants with more healthy options. Researchers can focus on education and health promotion around healthy food options and can work with young people to develop solutions. If we all work together, we can help young people across the world to make food choices that will improve their short and long-term health.

Obesity : ↑ A disorder where too much body fat increases the risk of health problems.

Processed Food : ↑ A raw agricultural food that has undergone processes to be washed, ground, cleaned and/or cooked further.

Discretionary Food : ↑ Foods and drinks not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs but that may add variety to a person’s diet (according to the Australian dietary guidelines).

Refined Sugar : ↑ Sugar that has been processed from raw sources such as sugar cane, sugar beets or corn.

Saturated Fat : ↑ A type of fat commonly eaten from animal sources such as beef, chicken and pork, which typically promotes the production of “bad” cholesterol in the body.

Dopamine : ↑ A hormone that is released when the brain is expecting a reward and is associated with activities that generate pleasure, such as eating or shopping.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

[1] ↑ Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2013. 4324.0.55.002 - Microdata: Australian Health Survey: Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2011-12 . Australian Bureau of Statistics. Available online at: http://bit.ly/2jkRRZO (accessed December 13, 2019).

[2] ↑ National Health and Medical Research Council. 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary . Canberra, ACT: National Health and Medical Research Council.

[3] ↑ Potvin Kent, M., and Pauzé, E. 2018. The frequency and healthfulness of food and beverages advertised on adolescents’ preferred web sites in Canada. J. Adolesc. Health. 63:102–7. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2018.01.007

[4] ↑ Tan, L., Ng, S. H., Omar, A., and Karupaiah, T. 2018. What’s on YouTube? A case study on food and beverage advertising in videos targeted at children on social media. Child Obes. 14:280–90. doi: 10.1089/chi.2018.0037

[5] ↑ Gómez-Pinilla, F. 2008. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 9, 568–78. doi: 10.1038/nrn2421

[6] ↑ Attuquayefio, T., Stevenson, R. J., Oaten, M. J., and Francis, H. M. 2017. A four-day western-style dietary intervention causes reductions in hippocampal-dependent learning and memory and interoceptive sensitivity. PLoS ONE . 12:e0172645. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172645

[7] ↑ Te Morenga, L., and Montez, J. 2017. Health effects of saturated and trans-fatty acid intake in children and adolescents: systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE. 12:e0186672. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186672

[8] ↑ Reichelt, A. C. 2016. Adolescent maturational transitions in the prefrontal cortex and dopamine signaling as a risk factor for the development of obesity and high fat/high sugar diet induced cognitive deficits. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 10. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00189

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What really makes junk food bad for us? Here’s what the science says

By Clare Wilson

9 June 2021

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Fun, cheap and tasty, but perhaps not the healthiest option

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CUT down on fatty food. No, sugar. Aim for a Mediterranean diet. And remember to eat more plants…

The variability of healthy eating advice has become a cliché in itself. Yet despite all the contradictions, there is one thing that many agree on: we should avoid junk food. Until recently though, no one could give you a decent reason why. Gastronomic snobbery aside, science lacked an agreed definition of what junk food actually is, and that has made it difficult to know whether we should be avoiding it and, if so, why.

It has long been assumed that processed junk foods are bad because they tend to contain too much fat, salt and sugar. Recent studies, though, suggest that other mechanisms could be at work to make these foods harmful to our health. Getting to grips with what these are could help us not only make healthier choices, but also persuade the food industry to come up with healthier ways of giving us what we like to eat.

One thing’s for sure: we certainly do like it. Factory-made food makes up between 50 and 60 per cent of the average person’s calorie intake in the UK , and around 60 per cent in the US. But while junk food has a bad name among many food lovers, dietary health research and the public health advice that stems from it have so far concentrated either on individual food groups, like meat and dairy products, or the relative amounts of the three macronutrients…

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  • 'Junk food' is food that contains high levels of fats, salt or sugar, and lacks nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Reading nutritional information labels and following the Health Star Ratings system can help you make healthy food choices.
  • Understanding the nutritional value of the food you eat and being aware of advertising 'tricks' can also help you reduce your junk food intake.
  • Eating junk food, and having sweet drinks, can lead to short- and long-term health complications, including weight gain, diabetes and heart problems.

What is junk food?

'Junk foods' are foods that lack nutrients, vitamins and minerals , and are high in kilojoules (energy), salts , sugars , or fats . Junk food is so called because it doesn't play a role in healthy eating, especially if you eat too much of it. Junk food is also known as 'discretionary food' or 'optional food'.

Some examples of junk food include:

  • cakes and biscuits
  • fast foods (such as hot chips, burgers and pizzas)
  • chocolate and sweets
  • processed meat (such as bacon)
  • snacks (such as chips)
  • sugary drinks (such as sports, energy and soft drinks)
  • alcoholic drinks

If your diet is high in fats, salt and sugar and you are not receiving essential nutrients , your risk of obesity and other chronic (long-term) diseases may increase.

These diseases include:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • some cancers

How do I know if a food product is 'junk food'?

While finding healthy alternatives to junk food can sometimes be difficult, the Health Star Rating system is a convenient tool to help you know how healthy a product is. It's a quick and easy way to compare similar packaged foods.

The Health Star Rating system rates packaged foods between half a star and 5 stars, based on how healthy they are. These ratings are found on the front of packaged items. However, it is important to note that this system is very general, and the nutritional value of some products may not be accurately expressed by the rating they receive.

Remember also that the Health Star Rating system is designed only for packaged products sold in shops, so it won't include some healthy foods — including fresh unpackaged food such as fruit and vegetables.

How do I make healthy food choices?

It's important to understand the nutritional value of the food you are buying. You can do this by reading the nutrition panel found on the back of all packaged items in Australia.

Food labels can tell you things like the amount of energy , protein , fat , carbohydrates , sugars, fibre and sodium (salt) in each product, as well as the recommended serving size.

Understanding health claims

When checking a product for its nutritional value, make sure you look at the health claims such as 'low in fat' or 'sugar free', as these can be misleading. When a product is advertised as 'light' or 'lite', this may refer only to the product's colour or flavour. This means that the product may still be 'full-fat' — be sure to read the nutrition information panel at the back of the package for the actual fat content.

Another common claim is that a product is 'sugar-free' or has 'no added sugar'. In truth, this means that a product has no added sucrose or table sugar, but it may still contain other types of sugar. The product may also contain salt or fat and may be high in kilojoules, so even sugar free products can be junk foods.

Note also that products known as 'health foods' such as some fruit juices and muesli bars can actually be junk food if they contain high levels of sugar, salt or fat. Check a product's Health Star Rating for a better guide to how healthy the product is. Keep in mind that this rating system is limited in accuracy, but may be a better guide than advertised claims.

Can I include a small amount of junk food in a healthy diet?

Yes, in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines , a small amount of junk or discretionary food can be included in a healthy, balanced diet. This means you should only have junk food occasionally and in small amounts. In general, most Australians eat too much junk food and should work on eating less of it, less often.

It is important to balance your junk food intake with increased exercise to help burn off extra energy. This will help you avoid gaining excessive weight.

When thinking about how much junk food you eat, remember that everybody is different — if you are shorter or smaller than average, or you do less exercise than the average person, you will also need to eat less than the average person. If you are trying to lose weight, try and keep the amount of junk food you eat to a minimum.

Check the Australian Dietary Guidelines to help you decide if you need to improve your diet, and to guide your food and drink intake.

How can I reduce the amount of junk food I eat?

While it can be challenging to reduce the amount of junk food you eat, you don't have to give up on all your favourite foods.

Here are some tips on how to create healthy eating habits :

  • Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time so you decide what you eat based on nutrition, not based on what is left in your pantry. Planning ahead also helps you keep to a budget and makes shopping easier.
  • Choose wholefood options such as wholemeal and wholegrain carbohydrates like pasta, bread and flour.
  • Choose fresh fruit for dessert instead of junk food to keep away from added salt, sugar and saturated fat.
  • Check your food's nutritional value using the nutritional information panel on the back of the packet.
  • Watch out for advertising 'tricks', including claims that a product has 'no added sugar', since it can still be high in kilojoules, salt or fat. A product can claim to be 'reduced in fat' as long as it has less fat than an earlier version of the product — but it may still be high in fat.
  • Use the Health Star Rating system to compare similar packaged items and choose the healthiest one.

NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT? — Use the BMI Calculator to find out if your weight and waist size are in a healthy range.

Why is junk food so appealing?

While you may feel that you enjoy junk food just because it tastes so good, there is a scientific explanation for why you want to have more of it. The brain naturally encourages you to seek experiences that you find pleasurable, including eating tasty food. This encouragement from the brain is known as the 'reward' system.

When a person eats tasty food (including junk food) the reward circuit in the brain is switched on. This releases a brain chemical called dopamine . The chemical rush floods the brain with pleasure and so the brain creates more receptors for dopamine in response. In the same way that people with a drug or alcohol addiction require a bigger dose over time, you crave more junk food the more you eat it.

Does eating junk food cause health complications?

Eating too much junk food can have a negative effect on your general health and wellbeing and can also reduce your ability to be active.

Short-term effects of junk foods

As well as causing you to gain weight, the other short-term effects of eating junk food include:

  • increased stress levels
  • fatigue and decreased energy levels
  • difficulty sleeping
  • concentration difficulties
  • feeling down
  • tooth decay

Long-term effects of junk foods

In the long-term, eating junk food can lead to:

  • heart-related problems (such as cardiovascular disease , high blood pressure and cholesterol )
  • overweight and obesity
  • osteoporosis
  • certain cancers
  • eating disorders

These complications are all associated with a diet high in sugar, salt, trans- and saturated fats and with a lack of essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals.

ARE YOU AT RISK? — Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease? Use the Risk Checker to find out.

Is it more expensive to eat healthily?

Eating healthily doesn't have to be expensive, and can even save you money if you cut down on junk food purchases.

Here are some tips to help you eat healthily on a budget:

  • Plan ahead and make a list you can stick to in the supermarket.
  • Shop smart — buy what's in season and what's on special.
  • Use the fresh fruit and vegetables you already have at home first, before buying more.
  • Meal preparation means you can buy and cook in bulk, which will save you both time and money.
  • Only buy what you need.

Resources and support

For more information and support, you can visit the following websites:

  • Heart Foundation provides information on healthy eating to protect your heart
  • Nutrition Australia aims to 'inspire healthy eating' through information, education and consultation services.
  • Parents' Voice are parents interested in improving the food and physical activity of Australian children
  • Rethink Sugary Drink highlight the amount of sugar in soft drinks
  • Dietitians Australia teaches how diet and nutrition can improve your health and wellbeing — Call on 1800 812 942.
  • The George Institute's FOODSWITCH website and app can help you find out what's in the packaged food you're looking to buy, as well as help you make healthier food choices.

Call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 at any time to speak to a registered nurse (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria) for more information and advice.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content .

Last reviewed: June 2023

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7 simple steps we can all take to reduce food waste

Food waste.

1.3 billion tonnes of food is thrown away each year. Image:  Unsplsah

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problems and solutions junk food

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Stay up to date:, food security.

  • Millions of people worldwide suffer from malnutrition, yet 1.3 billion tonnes of food is thrown away each year.
  • The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has put out a list of simple yet effective ways we can all reduce food waste.
  • From buying ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables to rearranging your fridge.

Most people at some time have bought too much food during weekly shopping and been left with rotting vegetables at the bottom of the fridge.

But what many don’t realize is the scale of the problem: each year, around 1.3 billion tonnes of food produced for human consumption – enough to feed those going hungry worldwide – is thrown away.

Food crises were identified as a significant risk in this year’s World Economic Forum Global Risks Report.

The situation has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which closed restaurants and disrupted supply chains.

The First International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste next month (29 September) will make a clear call to action to bolster efforts to reduce food loss and waste. With millions suffering malnutrition , the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has put out a list of simple, yet sensible, steps we can all take to change our habits:

1) Buy only what you need. Make a list and stick to it.

2) Don’t be prejudiced. Purchase ‘ugly’ or irregularly shaped fruit and vegetables that are just as good but look a little different.

Food waste

3) Check your fridge. Store food between 1-5°C for maximum freshness and shelf-life.

4) First in, first out. When you stack up your fridge and cupboards, move older products to the front and place newer ones in the back.

5) Understand dates. ‘Use by’ indicates a date by which the food is safe to be eaten, while ‘best before’ means the food’s quality is best prior to that date, but it is still safe to eat after that date.

6) Leave nothing behind. Keep leftovers for another meal or use them in a different dish.

7) Donate any surplus to others.

A 2018 study forecast that by 2030, food waste could have soared by a third , with more than 2 billion tonnes being binned. The UN, meanwhile, has set a target of halving food loss and waste by that date .

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How to Quit Junk Food

Last Updated: July 20, 2021 Approved

This article was co-authored by Claudia Carberry, RD, MS . Claudia Carberry is a Registered Dietitian specializing in kidney transplants and counseling patients for weight loss at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is a member of the Arkansas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Claudia received her MS in Nutrition from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2010. There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 95% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 151,894 times.

Are you addicted to chips, pretzels, candy, or any other "food" you can find in a vending machine? Though eating junk food can help you make that craving disappear and enjoy a tasty treat, in the long run, eating too much junk food can lead to obesity, sluggishness, and in extreme cases, even depression. The sooner you can replace junk food with healthy alternatives, the sooner you'll be on your way to a healthier and happier life.

Making a Plan

Step 1 Think about why you want to quit eating junk food.

  • Try writing out your reason or reasons for wanting to quit eating junk food. Getting your thoughts down on paper can help you to increase your motivation to quit eating junk food and really make a change.

Step 2 Make a commitment to yourself.

  • Make sure to be very specific in your contract so that you understand what you are committing yourself to.
  • Post your contract somewhere that you will see it every day, such as on a mirror or on your refrigerator.

Step 3 Throw away your junk food.

  • Out of sight; out of mind. Most times, junk food is consumed on a basis of convenience and boredom. If junk food isn't in your house, you are less likely to leave home and seek it out.

Step 4 Stock your kitchen with healthy foods.

  • The best way to ensure healthy eating is to be prepared and have those foods readily available to you. Consider meal prepping too!
  • Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time so that you always have a quick, healthy option on hand. Put fresh fruit or vegetable slices into plastic bags in the fridge. Keep some nuts and dried fruit in your gym bag. Or, stock your fridge at work with fat free Greek yogurt and string cheese.

Step 5 Drink more water during the day.

Staying Strong

Step 1 Tell a friend about your commitment.

  • Ask yourself some questions before you reach for food. Ask yourself: 1) “Am I really hungry or is there a different reason why I want to eat something right now?” 2) “What do I want to eat?” Asking yourself these questions can help prevent you from reaching for junk food or eating something that you do not really want to eat. [6] X Research source

Step 3 Learn to think critically about food advertisements.

  • Ask questions about the ad and consider the way the ad presented the food. Was anything exaggerated? If so, what?
  • You may be used to being rewarded or treated with food. Find treats and rewards that are good for you.
  • Whole Brazil nuts, strawberries, fresh mandarin oranges, roasted sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, frozen bananas, natural Greek yogurt with honey, smoked salmon, and fresh homemade bread are a few things you may like to consider.

Developing a Healthy Lifestyle

Step 1 Learn about healthy cooking techniques.

  • Consider this: a vegetable is a healthy food until it is coated in batter and deep fried. You really can ruin a healthy food by the cooking method you choose. Focus on grilling, baking, broiling, steaming and sauteeing.

Step 2 Start an exercise routine.

  • Research has shown that those who get less sleep end up craving more carbohydrates. Avoid this by getting adequate sleep each night.
  • To avoid reaching for junk food, make sure that you are getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Everyone is different, so you may require more or less sleep depending on your age and activity level. [12] X Research source

Understanding the Problem with Junk Food

Step 1 Think about the purpose of food.

  • Nutritional Value. A food’s nutritional value refers to the amount of vitamins and minerals that a food provides. Vitamins and minerals are a natural part of healthy foods, but they are stripped out of junk foods when the ingredients are processed.
  • Satiety. Junk foods do not provide the long lasting satiety (a feeling of fullness) that healthy foods can provide, so you are more likely to eat more calories overall by choosing junk foods.

Step 3 Learn how eating junk affects your health.

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Some Cancers
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Osteoarthritis [15] X Research source
  • Depression [16] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world's leading hospitals Go to source

Junk Food Substitutions

problems and solutions junk food

Expert Q&A

  • Call a friend if you are having a hard time resisting your urge to eat junk food. Or, do something to distract yourself from junk food for a while, like taking a walk or reading a book. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

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Myths About Mental Health

  • ↑ http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StayingMotivatedforFitness/Making-a-Commitment-to-Fitness_UCM_462206_Article.jsp
  • ↑ http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/junk-food-addiction-and-how-break-cycle
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/health-tip/art-20048842
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/8-ways-to-think-thin?page=2
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/food/mindful-eating-for-families?page=1
  • ↑ http://fit.webmd.com/teen/food/article/fast-food-advertising
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-eat-instead-fast-food
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389?pg=1
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389?pg=2
  • ↑ http://blogs.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/2012/07/short-on-sleep-junk-food-looks-even-more-tempting.html
  • ↑ http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/junk-food-facts
  • ↑ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3033553/
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/obesity-health-risks
  • ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/depression-and-diet/faq-20058241

About this article

Claudia Carberry, RD, MS

If you’ve decided to quit junk food, the best way to start your journey is to toss out any an all junk food in your house. This way, you won’t have to worry about giving in to temptation. To keep yourself from wanting to go out and buy more junk food, re-stock your house with plenty of nutritious, whole foods like fruits, veggies, lean meats, milk, eggs, and whole grains. Also, make it easier to avoid junk food out of the house by preparing healthy snacks to take with you to work, like nuts, string cheese, or yogurt. Additionally, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help you feel fuller between meals and cut down on excess snacking. Quitting junk food can be difficult, but the physical and mental health benefits will be worth it! For more tips from our Dietician co-author, like how to develop mindful eating habits, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Myths About Mental Health

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Food waste: a global problem that undermines healthy diets

Food waste, pictured here at Lira market in Uganda, is a significant challenge for farmers and vendors alike.

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A lack of food, hunger and malnutrition affect every country in the world, the UN said on Tuesday, in an urgent appeal for action to reduce the amount of food that’s wasted.

 The call comes as the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ) said that 17 per cent of all food available to consumers in 2019, ended up being thrown away.

When we don't waste food we aren't just saving it from the bin. Reducing your #foodwaste has so many more benefits 👇#FLWDay pic.twitter.com/JncHzBzSI3 FAO FAO

An additional 132 million people face food and nutrition insecurity today because of the COVID-19 pandemic, FAO said, ahead of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste , on Wednesday 29 September.

Global problem

The problem of food waste is a global one and not limited to wealthy nations alone, said Nancy Aburto, Deputy Director of FAO’s Food and Nutrition Division Economic and Social Development Stream, speaking at a press conference in Geneva.

“Food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition are impacting every country in the world and no country is unaffected; 811 million people suffer hunger, two billion suffer micronutrient deficiencies – that’s vitamin and mineral deficiencies - and millions of children suffer stunting and wasting, deadly forms of under-nutrition.”

The FAO official warned that the high cost of “healthy” diets, meant that they were now “out of reach” of every region in the world, including Europe.

She also said that more countries needed to embrace innovation to reduce waste, such as new packaging that can prolong the shelf-life of many foods, while smartphone apps can bring consumers closer to producers, reducing the time between harvest and plate.

Repercussions of food waste

Reducing food loss and waste would improve agri-food systems and help towards achieving food security, food safety and food quality, all while delivering on nutritional outcomes.

According to FAO, it would also contribute “significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as pressure on land and water resources”.

With less than nine years left to reach Sustainable Development Goal ( SDG ) 12 on ensuring sustainable consumption, and target 12.3 to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels, there is an urgent need to accelerate action, up to the 2030 deadline.

Takeaways for action:

  • Reducing food loss and waste, strengthens the sustainability of food systems and improves planetary health.
  • Increasing the efficiency of food systems and reducing food loss and waste, requires investment in innovation, technologies and infrastructure.
  • Composting food waste is better than sending it to a landfill, but preventing waste in the first place, lessens its impact on the environment.
  • Maximizing the positive impacts of reducing food loss and waste, requires good governance and human capital development.

However, this requires national and local authorities along with businesses and individuals to prioritize actions in this direction and contribute to restoring and improving agri-food systems.

Fruit and veg

And with just three months to go, during this International Year of Fruits and Vegetables , FAO has reminded that produce provides human nutrition and food security while working to achieve the SDGs.

“In the current health crisis we are facing around the world, promoting healthy diets to strengthen our immune systems is especially appropriate”, FAO chief QU Dongyu said , kicking off the year last December.

He also noted that  food loss and waste  in the fruits and vegetables

sector remain a problem with considerable consequences, pointing out that “innovative technologies and approaches are of critical importance”, as they can help maintain safety and quality, “increasing the shelf life of fresh produce items and preserving their high nutritional value”.

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How to Stop Eating Junk Food

Last Updated: June 15, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Lyssandra Guerra . Lyssandra Guerra is a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant and the Founder of Native Palms Nutrition based in Oakland, California. She has over five years of nutrition coaching experience and specializes in providing support to overcome digestive issues, food sensitivities, sugar cravings, and other related dilemmas. She received her holistic nutrition certification from the Bauman College: Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 15 testimonials and 80% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 227,063 times.

Junk foods like potato chips, candy, cookies, and soda may make you feel momentarily happy, but they are not so good for your health. Kicking the junk food habit is easier said than done for many people, but there are some steps that will move you along the path to better eating habits.

Changing Your Environment

Step 1 Stop buying junk food.

  • Selecting foods on the outer ring of the grocery store or foods with five ingredients or less is an easy way to make sure that you are making healthy choices. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand.

  • Keep granola bars, fresh fruit, almonds, and low-fat yogurt in your refrigerator and always stash a couple of snacks in your car or purse. [3] X Research source

Step 4 Keep healthy convenience foods on hand.

Changing Your Eating Habits

Step 1 Avoid snacking in settings that cause you to make bad choices.

  • For example, if you know that you are more likely to turn to junk food while watching television, have your snack in the kitchen instead. [5] X Research source

Step 2 Eat plenty of healthy food early in the day.

  • Pair crunchy items like carrots with something creamy like hummus or peanut butter to add variety into your snacks. [8] X Research source

Step 5 Drink plenty of water.

  • If you often succumb to eating fast food, it's a good idea to reduce the amount of fast food and increase your intake of healthy foods. For help with changing this convenience habit, see How to Stop Eating Fast Food .

Changing Other Habits

Step 1 Distract yourself when a craving hits.

  • You might even consider designating one day of each week as a “cheat day” so that you can eat some of your favorite foods on that day. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it or you may not feel so great the next day. [13] X Research source

Step 4 Practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques.

Expert Q&A

Lyssandra Guerra

You Might Also Like

Avoid the Temptation to Eat Unhealthy Foods

  • ↑ http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/junk-food-addiction-and-how-break-cycle
  • ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/why-we-crave-junk-food_b_4261415.html
  • ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-eat-instead-fast-food
  • ↑ http://www.livescience.com/15925-eating-junk-food-tastes-bad.html
  • ↑ http://www.gymaholic.co/articles/nutrition/5-ways-to-stop-junk-food-cravings
  • ↑ http://news.health.com/2009/03/12/why-we-eat-when-were-stressed-and-how-to-stop/
  • ↑ http://steadystrength.com/the-secret-to-stop-junk-food-cravings/
  • ↑ http://lifehacker.com/five-tricks-i-used-to-beat-my-unhealthy-eating-habits-1252241279

About This Article

Lyssandra Guerra

If you want to stop eating junk food, start by clearing out any junk food from your fridge and cabinets so you won't be tempted to eat it. Then, restock your kitchen with healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fresh dairy, and whole grains. Aim to eat plenty of healthy food early in the day, since this will fill you up and reduce your cravings for junk food. When you're craving an unhealthy snack, go for fruit, granola bars, nuts, or low-fat yoghurt instead. It’s also important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, which will help you feel full and balance your blood sugar. If you find yourself having a strong craving for junk food, try to distract yourself by going for a walk, talking to a friend, or doing something creative. For more tips from our Dietary co-author, including how to understand your desire for junk food better, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Reasons and solutions for unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents: A sequential mixed-methods study in Puducherry, South India

1 Department of Community Medicine, Vinayaka Mission’s Medical College and Hospital, Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation - Deemed to be University (VMRF-DU), Karaikal, India

K. Mujibur Rahman

S. sathish kumar.

2 Department of Dentistry, Laugh and Smile Dental Clinic, Puducherry, India

M. Amala Robins

Background:.

Unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity in adolescents play a key role in the development of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Objectives: The study was planned to capture the reasons and solutions for unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents.

A school-based sequential mixed-methods study was conducted in Puducherry for six months. In Phase I, a survey (QUAN) was carried out among 405 representative students from 9 th to 12 th standards to identify the reasons for unhealthy behaviors. Then, Phase II compromised two focus group discussions (FGDs) (QUAL) with 20 purposively selected school staff, parents, and healthcare professionals to explore the solutions for unhealthy behaviors. In Phase III, the key action points were ranked (QUAL) by 60 teachers. Quantitative data was analyzed in Epi_Info 7.1.5.0 software (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Atlanta, Georgia, US). Thematic content analysis was done for the qualitative data in Atlas.ti.9 software (Scientific Software Development GmbH, Berlin). Further, mean rank and Kendall’s concordance coefficient (W) were calculated for the ranked data in SPSS 24 software (SPSS Inc; Chicago, Illinois, USA).

About 70.1% of students had unhealthy food consumption and 61% of students lacked physical activity. Notably, 59.9% of males preferred unhealthy foods, and 65.2% of females were physically inactive. The leading reasons for unhealthy eating habits were taste (78.9%), increased online food delivery (75.7%), and attractive advertisements (74.3%). Whereas, the prime reasons for sedentary behaviors were increased study load (81.8%), high-density traffic (74.9%), and insufficient recreational facilities (71.7%).

Conclusion:

The prioritized feasible action points would help in the development of context-specific behavior change communication strategies for future health promotion interventions in resource-poor settings.

Introduction

Unhealthy food consumption and lack of physical activity in adolescents and young adults play a key role in the early development of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) leading to a substantial reduction in the quality of life and life expectancy.[ 1 , 2 , 3 ] Over-consumption of sweetened beverages, fast foods, and lack of vegetables, fruits, and dietary fibers along with sedentary lifestyles lead to obesity, micronutrient deficiency, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and cardiovascular diseases.[ 1 , 2 , 4 ] Proper diet and exercise in adolescents not only prevents the development of NCDs but also bestows other health benefits like bone development, physical fitness, reduced stress and depression, and better cognitive outcomes in terms of improved academic performance.[ 2 ] Despite the invaluable benefits, still more than half of the adolescents are addicted to unhealthy foods and lacked sufficient physical activity in India.[ 5 , 6 ]

Easy availability, ready-to-use packaging, and alluring advertisements are attracting adolescents to junk foods.[ 7 ] While lack of gender-sensitive policies and reduced opportunity for physical activity in schools serves a good platform to resort to sedentary behaviors.[ 8 ] Moreover, urbanization and sedentary lifestyles among adults in turn negatively influence the health-promoting behaviors of the younger generation. Previous health promotion interventions in adolescents were only marginally effective owing to a lack of context-specific strategies.[ 9 ] There is a pressing need to understand the psycho-social facilitators for unhealthy behaviors and to explore feasible context-specific strategies for health promotion with active engagement of youth, parents, teachers, health professionals, and stakeholders. Further, the promotion of healthy eating habits along with sufficient physical activity in the early stages of life would be a cost-effective primordial strategy in preventing life-threatening diseases in the future. This paper would improve the health promotion activities rendered by the general primary care providers and family physicians.

This study was done for the following reasons:

  • To determine the reasons for unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents.
  • To identify and prioritize the action points to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity among school-going adolescents.

Material and Methods

Study setting.

The present study was carried out in two private higher secondary schools situated in the urban areas of Puducherry, South India. These schools are located in the heart of the city surrounded by many fast food outlets and restaurants. They have ample space for playgrounds and sports facilities. The school provides canteen facilities but mid-day meals are not served.

Study duration

The study was executed for a period of six months (January 2021 to June 2021).

Study design

We employed a sequential mixed-methods design[ 10 ] (QUAN → QUAL → QUAL). Phase I consisted of a quantitative survey to capture the reasons followed by Phase II comprising the qualitative component (focus group discussions (FGDs)) to identify the solutions. Additionally, another qualitative component (ranking exercise) was sequenced to prioritize the key action points [ Figure 1 ].

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is JFMPC-11-6970-g001.jpg

Visual diagram showing sequential mixed-methods design

Phase I: (QUAN - Survey)

Sample size and sampling.

In Phase I quantitative survey, a sample size of 405 was calculated using Open_Epi 3.01 software (Dean AG, Sullivan KM, Soe MM. Open Source Epidemiologic Statistics for Public Health; Atlanta, GA, USA) considering 50% prevalence,[ 5 , 6 ] 5% absolute precision, 95% confidence interval, and 10% non-response rate. A representative sample of 405 students was selected from a sampling frame of 1200 students from 9 th to 12 th standards using simple random sampling without replacement by computer-generated random numbers.

Data collection

Initially, we obtained relevant permissions from the school authorities, written assent from the school children, and written informed consent from the parents/guardians to maintain autonomy. Then, the principal investigator collected the data using a semi-structured questionnaire based on the standard guidelines following coronavirus disease (COVID-19) appropriate behaviors. Food consumption was assessed using a youth/adolescent food frequency questionnaire by Harvard University[ 11 ] and physical activity was estimated by a 7-day physical activity recall questionnaire by Stanford.[ 12 ] Consumption of junk foods more than once a week, skipping meals, and avoiding fruits and vegetables were considered unhealthy food consumption.[ 1 ] World Health Organization’s recommendation to do “ at least an average of 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity, mostly aerobic physical activity across the week” [ 2 ] was considered for the assessment of adequate physical activity. In the questionnaire, the reasons for unhealthy diet and physical inactivity were developed from the review of the literature and free listing exercise.[ 13 ] Funnel sequence was followed to frame the questions from generalized to specific information. The questionnaire was made context-specific by conducting participatory pre-testing[ 14 ] with 10 teachers and parents.

Data analysis

The quantitative data were entered and analyzed in Epi_Info 7.1.5.0 software (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Atlanta, Georgia, US). Categorical variables were expressed as frequencies and percentages.

Phase II: (QUAL – FGDs)

After survey, in Phase II, two FGDs[ 15 ] were conducted, and in one FGD, 10 members participated. The participants were purposively selected based on their knowledge, availability, and willingness to participate in the discussion. Principals, teachers, parents, and healthcare professionals like medical officers and auxiliary nurse midwives were selected and the diversity of the participants was ensured to obtain more information on the phenomenon of interest. The results from the initial survey were shared with the participants to obtain their probable solutions to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity among school-going adolescents.

After obtaining written informed consent, an investigator trained in qualitative research methods facilitated the discussion using an interview guide with a pre-defined set of open-ended questions. The discussions were conducted during parent–teacher meetings in the two schools. Each FGD lasted for 1 h and the group dynamics were maintained. Probing was done in the middle by the facilitator to encourage the participants to add more information. The discussions were audio-recorded and the verbal cues were note taken. In the end, to improve the credibility of the study findings and to ensure participants’ validation, debriefing was done by playing the audio records.

The audio recordings were transcribed in English and thematic content analysis[ 16 ] was done using Atlas.ti.9 software (Scientific Software Development GmbH, Berlin). As the objectives were already specified, a deductive approach was followed in the data analysis. In order to improve the credibility of the study findings, the FGD results were compared with similar published studies. The probable solutions evolved from the FGDs were used to design a questionnaire for further ranking exercise.

Phase III: (QUAL – Ranking exercise)

In Phase III, based on the FGD findings, we designed a questionnaire containing 20 feasible action points (10 for healthy diet and 10 for physical activity). After informed consent, we self-administered the questionnaire to all 60 teachers who were taking classes for 9 th to 12 th standard students. The teachers were provided with a list of action points and asked to compare and rank them from highest to lowest according to their preferences without any restrictions. Rank one will be taken as the most salient action point and rank 10 will be taken as the least salient action point.

The ranked data was entered in an Excel file 16.0 (Microsoft Corporation, US) and exported to Statistical Package for Social Sciences 24 software (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) for data analysis. Mean rank was calculated for each action point and the overall agreement in the ranking was computed using Kendall’s coefficient of concordance (W).[ 17 ]

Ethical consideration

The present study was approved by the Research Committee and Institutional Human Ethics Committee (Approval number: 03/2020), Puducherry.

Guidelines for reporting

Good Reporting of a Mixed Methods Study (GRAMMS) checklist was used for reporting the mixed methods study findings.[ 18 ]

Socio-demographic profile of the school-going adolescents:

In the present study, the mean age of the students were 16 ± 4.5 (standard deviation) years. Table 1 shows that more than half of the students were females. Majority of the students were coming from an urban area and belonged to a nuclear family. Most of them were hailing from an educated and wealthy family. Notably, many of the students had working parents.

Socio-demographic characteristics of the school-going adolescents [ n =405]

Proportion of school-going adolescents with unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity

The study findings revealed that almost 284 (70.1%) students consumed unhealthy foods and 247 (61.0%) students were physically inactive. The remaining 121 (29.9%) students adhered to a healthy diet and 158 (39.0%) students were physically active. Notably, among 284 students with unhealthy food consumption, 170 (59.9%) were males and 114 (40.1%) were females and out of 247 physically inactive students, 161 (65.2%) were females and 86 (34.8%) were males [Figures ​ [Figures2 2 and ​ and3 3 ].

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is JFMPC-11-6970-g002.jpg

Proportion of school-going adolescents with unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity [ N = 405]

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is JFMPC-11-6970-g003.jpg

Gender-wise distribution of unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents

Self-reported reasons for unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents

Figure 4 portrays the students’ self-perceived reasons for unhealthy food consumption and lack of physical activity. Increased taste of fast/junk foods (78.9%), increased online food delivery systems (75.7%), attractive advertisements (74.3%), negative peer influences (69.0%), and easy ready-made food preparations (58.4%) were the leading reasons for unhealthy dietary habits among school-going adolescents. Increased study load and extra classes for higher standards (81.8%), high-density traffic (74.9%), lack of recreational/sports facilities (71.7%), increased social media usage (70.0%), and reduced physical education training (PET) periods for higher classes (67.6%) were the prime reasons for physical inactivity among school-going adolescents.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is JFMPC-11-6970-g004.jpg

Self-reported reasons for unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents (multiple options)

Solutions obtained from FGDs to address unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents

Table 2 presents the solutions obtained from FGDs to address unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity. Similar descriptive codes were combined to form categories and each category was synthesized under three major themes such as actions at the family, school, and community levels. Direct statements (verbatim) from the participants were presented in italics in double quotations.

Solutions obtained from focus group discussions to address unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity among school-going adolescents [n=20]

Prioritized feasible action points to promote healthy diet and physical activity among school-going adolescents

Table 3 exhibits the mean rank for the action points to promote healthy diet and physical activity. As recommended by the school teachers, food outlets’ inspection and monitoring, banning junk food advertisements, cultivating kitchen gardens, organizing nutrition-related health education sessions, and trying new recipes with healthy foods were the priority action points to renounce unhealthy food consumption. Besides, reducing the study load, promoting children-friendly environment, increasing recreational facilities, limiting social media usage, and constructing separate paths for walking and cycling were the feasible strategies to reduce physical inactivity. Kendall’s coefficient of concordance (W) was 0.4 for healthy food consumption and 0.5 for physical activity and it indicates a moderate agreement in ranking.

Mean rank of action points to promote healthy diet and physical activity among school-going adolescents [ n =60]

In the current study, 70.1% students consumed unhealthy food, and 61% students lacked physical activity. Distinctively, a higher proportion of males preferred unhealthy foods and a higher proportion of females were physically inactive. The common self-perceived reasons for unhealthy eating habits were the taste of the food, increased online food delivery, and attractive advertisements. Whereas, the common self-reported reasons for sedentary behaviors were increased study load, high-density traffic, and lack of recreational facilities. As suggested by the school teachers, food outlets’ inspection and monitoring, banning junk food advertisements, and cultivating kitchen gardens at home were the key action points to promote healthy diet and reducing study load, promoting children-friendly environment, and increasing recreational facilities were the prioritized action points to promote physical activity.

This school-based study found that 70.1% and 61% lacked healthy dietary habits and physical activity, respectively. In consistent with our study outcomes, a mixed-methods study among school-going adolescents in urban Baroda showed that more than half of the adolescents preferred unhealthy foods.[ 19 ] Similarly, a cross-sectional study conducted in a Chennai school identified 63% of adolescents with insufficient physical activity.[ 6 ] Thus, unhealthy food consumption and inadequate physical activity among the younger generation is a pivotal problem across urbanized India.

Gender variations in unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity

Notably, more number of males avoided healthy foods and more number of females lacked physical activity in the present study. Similar to our study findings, Sharma et al .[ 20 ] in a community-based cross-sectional survey in Assam and Bihar highlighted that higher proportion of adolescent males consumed low-mixed diet and preferred junk foods. Likewise, in Chennai, a school-based cross-sectional study showed that insufficient physical activity was substantially higher among the female group.[ 6 ] Adolescent males owing to lack of parental control and more involvement in outings and parties frequently consumed junk foods.[ 5 ] On the other hand, adolescent females on account of lack of family support and encouragement in sports and gender-specific restrictions in outdoor activities lacked sufficient physical activity.[ 8 ] Hence, gender variations in diet and physical activity need to be addressed with culturally sensitive and socially acceptable strategies.

Adolescents’ self-reported reasons for preferring unhealthy food

In our study, adolescents stated that taste, online food delivery systems, eye-catching advertisements, peer pressure, and easy ready-made foods facilitated unhealthy food consumption. In Mangalore, a school-based cross-sectional study portrayed that boring home food, favorite leisure time activity, peer influence, easy availability and preparation, television advertisements, and parents’ preference for fast foods influenced children’s harmful eating habits.[ 21 ] Joshi-Reddy et al .[ 22 ] in a qualitative study in Maharashtra emphasized that street food availability, television and digital media exposure, home food environment, and parental influence played a pivotal role in adolescents’ unhealthy food consumption. Therefore, there are many psycho-social reasons for unhealthy diet patterns among adolescents which need to be tackled at the family, school, and community levels.

Adolescents’ self-perceived reasons for neglecting physical activity

In this study, adolescents voiced out that increased academic stress, high-density traffic, lack of sports/recreational facilities, increased social media usage, and absence of PET periods for higher classes created a conducive environment for their physical inactivity. Insufficient facilities and infrastructure for physical activity and lack of safe routes for walking and cycling were the commonly reported reasons for sedentary lifestyles in a qualitative study in Maharashtra.[ 22 ] A cross-sectional study in Chennai found that academic stress, lack of parents’ encouragement for playing, and no space near home for physical activity were significant predictors for adolescents’ sedentary behaviors.[ 6 ] Henceforth, we need a multi-sectoral approach to efficiently scrub out physical inactivity among youth.

Strategies to promote healthy diet among adolescents

In the present study, food outlets inspection, junk food advertisements ban, kitchen garden cultivation, health education sessions, and new recipes with organic foods were the key action points stated by the teachers to promote a healthy diet. A meta-analysis by Salam et al .[ 9 ] showed that diet changes, education programs, and school-based health promotion programs marginally promoted healthy nutrition and prevented obesity. Further, the study proved that the school-based delivery strategies were more effective than the interventions in non-educational settings.[ 9 ] As micronutrient supplementation for under-nutrition was given more thrust in the developing countries, other health promotion interventions to address adolescent overweight and obesity were often overlooked.[ 23 ] Further, community members, stakeholders, general primary care providers, and family physicians should support and complement the school-based nutrition interventions to bring an effective behavior change among adolescents.

Action points to induce physical activity among adolescents

In addition, the teachers suggested study load reduction, children-friendly environment creation, sports facilities construction, social media usage restiction, and provision of safe paths for walking and cycling as effective priority strategies to induce physical activity. Camacho-Minano et al .[ 24 ] in a systematic review proposed multi-component school-based interventions like physical education, special focus on girls’ needs, family support, and peer strategies as promising interventions to promote physical activity. There are limited interventions at the community and policy level[ 25 ] and so the future health promotion interventions should design a multi-faceted approach with community participation and stakeholders involvement.

This school-based mixed methods study not only captured the reasons for unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity but also identified the key action points for health promotion among adolescents. Mixed methods were adopted to improve the validity of the study outcomes. Qualitative data provided in-depth rich information about the phenomenon of interest. The validity of the questionnaire was improved by adhering to standard guidelines and pre-testing. As we had a good rapport with the students by conducting regular medical camps in schools, the non-response rate was minimal.

Limitations of the Study

On account of feasibility, we relied on the students’ self-reported reasons and no observations were made for confirmation. Unlike other studies, the present study did not associate unhealthy diet and physical inactivity with obesity and other negative health outcomes.

Unhealthy food consumption and physical inactivity were predominantly found in school-going adolescents in urban areas. Gender variations were noted in diet and physical activity. Taste, online food delivery systems, and attractive advertisements facilitated harmful dietary habits and increased academic stress, high-density traffic, and insufficient recreational facilities influenced sedentary behaviors. Food outlets’ inspection and monitoring, banning junk food advertisements, and cultivation of kitchen gardens were the key action points to promote a healthy diet and study load reduction, children-friendly environment, and increasing sports facilities were the prioritized action points to address physical inactivity. These prioritized feasible strategies should be implemented at the school, family, and community levels. Besides, these action points would help in the development of context-specific behavior change communication strategies for future health promotion interventions. Consequently, concentration on health promotion activities like healthy food consumption along with physical activity in the younger generation would be cost-effective in preventing life-threatening diseases in the future in resource-poor settings.

Ethical clearance

The study was carried out after obtaining approval from the Research Committee and Institutional Ethics Committee (Approval number: 03/2020), Puducherry.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Key message

Concentration on health promotion activities like healthy food consumption along with physical activity in the younger generation would be cost-effective in preventing life-threatening diseases in the future in resource-poor settings.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.

Acknowledgements

We express our sincere gratitude to the school students and their parents, school staffs, and healthcare professionals for their active participation and support in this study.

‘We need to break the junk food cycle’: how to fix Britain’s failing food system – podcast

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From anxiety to cancer, the evidence against ultra-processed food piles up

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problems and solutions junk food

Ultra-processed foods contain substances you wouldn't find in your own kitchen, like high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor and color enhancers, anti-caking agents and emulsifiers. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images hide caption

Ultra-processed foods contain substances you wouldn't find in your own kitchen, like high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor and color enhancers, anti-caking agents and emulsifiers.

At a time when Americans consume more than half of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods, there is increasing evidence that eating too many of these foods can make us sick.

A study published in the British Medical Journal finds people who consume high amounts of these foods have an increased risk of anxiety, depression, obesity, metabolic syndrome, certain cancers including colorectal cancer and premature death.

The data come from more than 9 million people who participated in dozens of studies, which researchers analyzed as part of umbrella review.

"Taking the body of literature as a whole, there was consistent evidence that regularly eating higher – compared to lower – amounts of ultra-processed foods was linked to these adverse health outcomes," says study author Melissa Lane , of Deakin University in Australia.

The U.S. diet is deadly. Here are 7 ideas to get Americans eating healthier

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The u.s. diet is deadly. here are 7 ideas to get americans eating healthier.

Ultra-processed foods are abundant in our food supply. Among the most common are highly refined breads, fast food, sugary drinks, cereals, cookies, and other packaged snacks. They are often high in salt, sugar, fat and calories and low in fiber and micro-nutrients such as vitamins.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend filling half our plates with fruits and vegetables, and eating plenty of whole grains, and not too much of the refined grains found in ultra-processed foods.

One telltale sign that a food is ultra-processed is if its ingredient label includes substances you would not find in your own kitchen such as high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, hydrolysed protein, or additives such as artificial colors, flavor enhancers, emulsifiers, anti-caking agents and thickeners.

Ultra-processed foods are everywhere. Here's how to avoid them

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The evidence piles up

The observational studies included in this new review do not prove that consumption of ultra-processed foods can cause anxiety, cancer or other health conditions. These studies point to associations, not causation. But at a time when diet is a leading cause of chronic disease , it adds to a growing body of evidence that ultra-processed foods contribute to the development of these conditions.

For instance, a study published last year found people in the habit of consuming high levels of ultra-processed foods were about three times more likely to develop colorectal cancer, compared to those who consumed the least. The exact mechanisms by which these foods may increase the risk is not clear, though the overlap with metabolic disease is striking.

"One mechanism of how ultra-processed food can be associated with colorectal cancer is through leading to increased weight," says Jeff Meyerhardt , an oncologist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Weight increases the risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome factors, "that are closely tied to colorectal cancer," he says.

What we know about the health risks of ultra-processed foods

What we know about the health risks of ultra-processed foods

An ultra-processed diet made this doctor sick. Now he's studying why

An ultra-processed diet made this doctor sick. Now he's studying why

When it comes to mood and mental health conditions, there is evidence to show that adults who maintain a healthy diet have fewer depressive symptoms . For instance, a French study found adherence to a Mediterranean diet in mid-life is linked to a lower risk of depression, particularly in men. There's also evidence that healthy diets may help tamp down anxiety .

"We're seeing a roughly 20 to 50% increased risk of depressive symptoms in people who have diets that are high in these ultra- processed foods," says Wolfgang Marx , a Senior Research Fellow at the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University in Australia, and a senior author of the new research.

There could be a 'threshold effect' Marx says, meaning people who consume small amounts, under a certain threshold, are not at increased risk. Though it is not clear exactly how much is OK, because it may vary from person to person and depend on other lifestyle habits. However, the research shows people who consume the most are more likely to be affected by mood and mental health struggles.

Should consumers be warned about ultra-processed food?

A panel of advisors is currently evaluating all the latest diet and nutrition studies as part of a process to update the federal government's Dietary Guidelines . It is possible advisors could recommend limits on ultra-processed foods, though it would likely be difficult to get people to follow them.

On the regulatory side, the Food and Drug Administration is moving ahead to finalize a new definition of the term "healthy" – which is expected soon.

The FDA says a "healthy" claim on food labels could help consumers identify healthier choices at a quick glance and may prompt food companies to reformulate their products. The revised definition aims to make Americans more aware of healthy fats found in foods such as avocados and salmon, and of the relative harms of foods that contain lots of salt, added sugars and saturated fats.

The FDA is also moving towards front-of-package labeling that will flag foods that contain high amounts of sodium, sugar and saturated fat. These types of labels "will make it easier for consumers to make healthier choices and better understand the nutritional value of the foods and beverages they buy," says Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.

And while the FDA is not currently tackling ultra-processed foods head on with labeling, Jim Jones, the FDA's first Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods says by focusing on these three ingredients – sodium, sugar and saturated fat – the agency aims to make people aware of the risks.

"The science around added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium intake is quite clear," says Jones. "We will also likely make progress on reducing consumption of ultra-processed food because there is a high correlation between those three ingredients and ultra-processed food," he says.

Jones says all regulatory decisions are based on scientific evidence, and there's still a lot that's unclear about the link between ultra-processed foods and disease.

Is it caused by more than the overlap with obesity and metabolic diseases? Given how palatable, convenient and inexpensive many of these foods are, is it easier to over-consume them? Or are there other mechanisms at play, such as ingredients or additives that can harm our gut health?

"Our feeling is that we need more science before we're ready to make recommendations or think of a voluntary or a regulatory program," he says.

And there is agreement from researchers and physicians that more research is needed to fully understand the connections between ultra-processed food consumption and disease risks.

This diet swap can cut your carbon footprint and boost longevity

This diet swap can cut your carbon footprint and boost longevity

This story was edited by Jane Greenhalgh & Carmel Wroth

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Most Common Health Problems Caused by Junk Food

by Ceca · Published June 25, 2016 · Updated June 25, 2016

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junk food bad

Type 2 Diabetes – When we eat junk/fast food, the ability of our body to use insulin in a proper way is affected by the excessive stress exerted on our metabolism. Junk foods lack fiber content and that’s why the result of consuming these unhealthy treats is a spike in sugar levels. Also, an unhealthy diet based primarily on fast and junk food usually leads to obesity which is one of the major contributing factors for insulin resistance, and eventually, development of type 2 diabetes.

Digestive Problems – People addicted to junk food full of (unhealthy) fats commonly suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, gastro esophageal reflux disease and other similar digestive problems. This is because fast food is usually deep fried and the oil soaked in it gets deposited on the stomach lining’s walls, increasing acid production. In addition, spices loaded in these foods, together with the lack of fiber, hampers digestion worsening any gastrointestinal condition and increasing problems like hemorrhoids and constipation.

Cardiovascular Issues – Junk food is loaded with trans and saturated fats that directly increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels in human blood, eventually leading to the formation of plaque and heart disease. Furthermore, fluctuations in blood sugar levels damage the linings of the blood vessels contributing to chronic inflammation. Cholesterol sticks to the walls of the arteries and blocks blood flow to the heart which can lead to a heart attack.

Kidney Failure – One of the reasons why you sometimes just can’t stop eating fries is the high content of finely processed salt in this food. It increases the secretion of enzymes and salivation enhancing our craving these salty foods. Why is it so wrong? High amount of Sodium from salt, together with trans fats, severely disrupts the Sodium-Potassium balance of human body causing hypertension. Finally, kidneys need to filter all the toxins and salts from the blood, so eating a lot of junk food has a negative effect on their function.

Interested in eating healthier foods and having well-balanced diet? You can read more articles on health at Juthan .

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Junk Food Problems and Solutions

  • Post author: Hasnain Shafique
  • Post published: May 18, 2022
  • Post category: Food
  • Post comments: 0 Comments

Junk foods are part of our everyday life. We’ve been eating junk food for so long that it’s become ingrained in our culture. We don’t give a second thought to how much we eat or how many calories we consume. We just eat it without even thinking about it. We don’t even consider that eating such meals may be harmful to our health. The more junk food we consume, the more harmful it will be. It will become harder to maintain our health in the future if we continue on this path.

Junk Food Problems

The problem with junk food is that it can be very addictive. This addiction can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and even cancer. It’s a major concern for all people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Here are the main junk food problems for humans.

Obesity or Fat Problem

One of the most interesting side effects of junk food is that it increases fat. Obesity affects a great number of people every year. The main cause for this is the increasing availability of junk food in supermarkets and restaurants.

There are many different sorts of junk foods, but we must be careful about what we consume. Junk food makes us fat mostly because it contains a lot of sugar and fat. As these two things are interlinked, they ultimately cause weight gain.

Junk food is the leading cause of obesity and is also linked to depression. They are high in sugar and fats, which cause chemical reactions in the human mind, disrupting its functionality and causing depression in normal people.

High Cholesterol Level

Fried fast foods like battered fish, fried chicken and French fries are full of trans fats which increase LDL cholesterol level.

Increases Blood Sugar

Junk foods are high in sugar and carbohydrates, which raise insulin levels.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

The consumption of fast food is one of the biggest health issues today. It causes diabetes and insulin resistance, which leads to obesity, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

Tips to Avoid Junk Foods

tips to avoid junk foods

Junk food is not healthy, it’s addictive and it harms our health. It’s important to avoid junk foods, but it’s also important to eat the right kinds of food. Junk food can be reduced by eating smaller portions more frequently and paying more attention to healthy foods.

How to avoid Junk Foods?

When it comes to avoiding harmful junk meals, fast food restaurants are usually the worst places to visit. So it’s best to consume a protein-rich meal before going to these areas. It assists you in overcoming your desire for junk food.

When you have a need for junk food, one of the greatest ways to avoid it is to drink some water. Water can assist to decrease hunger and cravings before meals.

More protein in your diet may help you control your hunger and keep you stay away from junk food. Protein also helps you feel fuller for extended periods of time. Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, milk products, eggs, and nuts, are high in protein and can help you avoid junk food temptation.

Meal planning reduces the consumption of junk and unhealthy foods. When you plan your meals for the day, week, or month, you minimize spontaneity and uncertainty, both of which drive to desires for junk and unhealthy foods.

Sleep deprivation causes cravings and poor appetite control. As a result, obtaining enough sleep may    be one of the most effective strategies to avoid cravings.

Avoiding junk foods and returning to healthy and safe foods is a superior approach. Junk foods are heavy in carbohydrates, which raise blood sugar levels, making people feel sluggish, tired, and less energetic. People who eat this food have slow reflexes and senses over time.

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Hasnain Shafique

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    5. Drink more water during the day. Water keeps you hydrated and helps you to feel full in between meals. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself from reaching for junk food. Staying hydrated with water will also help to prevent you from grabbing a can of soda or some other unhealthy sugary beverage.

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