Advantages And Disadvantages Of Junk Food Essay

Filling your diet with junk food causes an array of problems in your body. Junk food is often high in sugar, fat and calories, while providing very few nutrients. You can treat yourself to some ice cream or your favorite candy bar once in awhile, but keep your portions to a minimum.

Stroke Risk

For optimal heart health, you should not consume more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day. You need some sodium in your diet to help maintain normal fluid balance, but too much sodium increases blood pressure and stroke risk. Eating junk food high in sodium, such as potato chips, french fries and pepperoni pizza, may increase your risk of stroke. A study by researchers at the University of Miami published in a 2012 edition of "Stroke; A Journal of Cerebral Circulation" found that the risk of stroke increases by 17 percent for every 500 milligrams of sodium consumed over the recommendation. For example, consuming 2,500 milligrams of sodium increases your risk of stroke by 34 percent. If you have a weakness for potato chips, opt for low-sodium or salt-free varieties, to lessen your sodium intake.

Weight Gain

Filling your diet with junk food may lead to weight gain. It takes an extra 3,500 calories in your diet to gain 1 pound of body weight. For example, consuming 500 calories from junk food each day can lead to 1 pound of weight gain in just a week. If you find yourself at the vending machine in the afternoon, pack healthy snacks the night before and bring them to work. Snack on whole fruit, wheat crackers and baby carrots with fat-free dressing instead. These snacks provide fewer calories than junk food, so you are less likely to gain weight.

Tooth Decay

A diet rich in sugary sweets increases your chances of developing cavities. Tooth decay occurs when enamel, the protective coating on your teeth, starts to break down. Eating junk food with a high sugar content, such as soda, candy and baked goods, coats your mouth, gums, tongue and teeth with sugar. This sugar coating attacks enamel and leads to tooth decay and cavities. Avoid having a painful trip to the dentist by eliminating sugary snacks from your diet. If you drink soda, switch to a sugar-free variety. Lessen your risk of tooth decay by brushing your teeth after each meal or snack.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Eating too much junk food might cause gastrointestinal problems. Processed junk food provides very little, if any, dietary fiber. You need fiber in your diet to keep your bowels moving. If you don't get adequate amounts of fiber, you may suffer from constipation. When this occurs, you may go for days without having a bowel movement or have difficulty passing stools. Put down your afternoon junk food treat and replace it with a fiber-rich apple, orange or bowl of berries. These fruits can curb your sweet tooth, while providing plenty of fiber to help keep you regular. If you need to replace salty snacks, opt for celery and peanut butter or air-popped popcorn. These savory options keep you satisfied if you are craving a saltier type of food.

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.

Photo Credits

  • potato chips on red plate image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com

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In this fast paced world, where people have busy routines and busier social lives, it becomes difficult for working individuals to take time out to prepare food or wait for their meal in lavish restaurants. They turn to fast food to save time not really thinking what it does to their health in the long run. It is understandable that such eating habits can sometimes be unavoidable given individual circumstances but it is still worthwhile to understand fast food advantages and disadvantages.

Fast food or junk food refers to the type of food prepared and served to the customers at very short notice, hence the term “fast food” and since it is so unhealthy it is called “junk”. To make food “fast”, most of the fast food is prepared beforehand and is then preheated or precooked when an order comes up.

The popularity of fast food chains all over the world especially among the working individuals and teenagers is undeniable. Chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut do loads of business on any given day. However, there are certain things you should know before you dig into that greasy burger you enjoy so much. Here are some fast food advantages and disadvantages for you.

Advantages of Fast Food

Let’s kickoff this list of fast food advantages and disadvantages with some advantages first. While the advantages of fast food for health are on the lesser side, there are things that make it worthwhile.

1. Saves Time

They wouldn’t call it fast food if they weren’t known to save time and energy. People do not have to go to the grocery store to buy ingredients and then come home to prepare their meals. For someone who doesn’t cook, a lot of time and energy goes into the thankless job of washing meat and vegetables, cooking and after all is said and done, washing the dishes.

The convenience that fast food provides is undeniable.

2. Saves Money

Now, I know this may sound silly but hear me out. Most fast food is economical compared to fine dining. Even extravagant home cooked meals can be heavy on the pocket in comparison to fast food. By not wasting time on the preparation of food, you can utilize your time on other more profitable endeavors. This may sound a little ignorant, but hey we have to chalk up some fast food advantages, so give it a pass.

3. You can make a Healthy Choice

Fast food has a reputation for containing unsafe food preservatives, bad fat and high calories. This may be true to a certain extent but it is the 21st century. People nowadays are more health-conscious than ever before. Many fast food joints like Subway are aiming to produce healthy food options.

4. On-the-go-Meals

“Fast food – a modern approach to food consumption that provides food service within reach.”

Catchy isn’t it? Fast food joints are spread all over the world, open and serving anytime of the day. Fast food deliveries and drive-thrus are a vital part of our society. People can enjoy their food while working, driving or watching a movie in the comfort of their homes (because well, cooking is just too old school).

5. A variety in food

No article on fast food advantages and disadvantages would be complete without us talking about this. The fast food choices being offered these days is just mind blowing. So many different flavors, from different cultures and taste palates. You can pick a different fast food item for every day of the month and you’d still have countless things to try. Kinda get’s the taste buds excited, doesn’t it?

Disadvantages of Fast Food 

1. Unhealthy Food Choice

Even though many fast food joints are now offering healthier food choices, most of the fast food is still quite unhealthy. Most fast foods like french fries, burgers, pizzas have high salt and calorie content.

Likewise, beverages and desserts like cakes, shakes and ice creams contain sugar in high quantities which may cause an increase in blood sugar leading to diabetes. We also know that the body loves to store carbohydrates as fatty deposits.

Since, fast food is so healthy (no it’s not), fast food joints like to offer upsizing their meals and drinks. Man by nature is quite greedy. Most just cannot let such an opportunity go, opt to upsize their meals and eat more than they can digest. This leads us nicely onto our next disadvantage of fast food.

2. Obesity

Historically, fast food is known to be very fattening because of its high calorie content. The cooking process of most fast food items specially the really mouthwatering ones involve a lot of grease use. This is pure unadulterated unhealthy fat. Eating such junk food leads to obesity and therefore the obesity problem in America.

Obesity is a common medical condition in most countries with a fast food culture. Not only is obesity bad for your physical appearance it can lead to a slew of health problems including heart disease and reduced life expectancy.

3. Adverse Effects of Additives and Preservatives

Most fast food contains food additives and preservatives. A lot of these additives and preservatives are harmful for the human body. Some of the preservatives have been known to contain carcinogenics and can lead to cancer. French fries and pizza may contain sodium in high quantities. If too much is consumed, this can cause issues in the cardiovascular and kidney function.

4. Low Quality of food

Fast food is a fast turning food item that needs quick preparation time. Hence most of the restaurants are involved in making fast food in bulk which naturally lowers the quality of the food.

There have been more than one case of fast food restaurants being busted for being unhygienic. It is quite easy to comprehend that some fast food restaurants may not take appropriate measures to wash and prepare the vegetables or meat due to time constraints.

5. Hampers Quality Family Time

Fast food advantages and disadvantages would not be complete without us talking about its social effect.

Family meal time has always been seen as an opportunity where members of the family gather to spend some quality time together while eating and chatting. With the emergence of fast food joints, people are now spending less time together since they can just order in and continue to eat while doing what they were doing.

6. Bad eating habits in kids

Fast food may be a fun treat for kids at times but visiting a fast food joint too often is not advisable. It can lead to the formation of unhealthy eating habits among young kids and teenagers. Youngsters have always enjoyed the unhealthy but fascinatingly tasty fast food. They are more inclined to eat fast food junk like pizzas, burgers and fries. Once a habit develops turning them to healthy alternative to fast food may be harder than you imagine.

Fast Food Advantages and Disadvantages – Conclusion

In this fast-paced world fast food is very much a permanent part of our lifestyle. To sum it up, the argument for fast food advantages and disadvantages will never end. If someone wants to eat fast food, there are always justifications for it. What is vital is to make healthy food choices. You can be a little careful ordering in. Order a salad, a grilled sandwich in bran bread or boiled/mashed potatoes instead of french fries every once in a while.

If you are weight conscious you need to get off junk food fast. You can try the 21 day no junk food challenge. No junk food challenge results have been quite amazing for most and it could really do wonders for your weight and overall health. Moreover, it is important to be active and workout. If you can’t quit eating fast food, at least minimize its harmful effects.

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