Junk foods are nothing but fast foods. As the name ‘junk’ indicates that the food is poor in nutritional quality and ‘fast’ means any food which is readily available. Now a day’s people expect everything to be fast and quick. So this reflects even in eating habits. Junk food or fast food in India has changed the lifestyles of young Indian population. Fast food has made a tremendous mark in the intake amongst the population. Fast food outlets have a place in every city and town in India. It has extended its wings around the world and made a tremendous mark. National institute of nutrition (2011) has studied on the intake of fast food they had concluded that Indians had consumed junk foods worth Rs.800 crores.
Fast foods are foods that easy to prepare and can be quickly served. Most of the foods are low in nutritional quality in the sense high carbohydrate, high saturated fat content, high sugar content, low in vitamins and minerals, low in fiber, which are processed or not prepared at home contains artificial flavours, colours and additive agents.
Maida is all purpose flour, which is present in most fast foods like pizza, burger, puffs, samosa…etc doesn’t contain any dietary fiber and healthy good fat which subsequently results in hyperglycemia and elevated cholesterol levels because it is a purest form of carbohydrate. Maida is the only flour that is used to prepare burger, pizza, puffs, samosa etc. Burger and pizza has very high salt content (high sodium levels) which has effect on blood pressure. Junk food contains baking soda and monosodium glutamate apart from salt and sugar. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used in all junk foods as a flavour enhancer and frequent consumption of foods containing MSG causes burning sensations of the mouth, head and neck, arms or legs weakness, headaches and stomach upset. This particular substance increases addiction and making them to eat in larger quantity. People who consume junk foods continuously are more susceptible to obesity, heart problems and even cancer. In a study, it found that trans fat is highest in French fries, instant noodles and any kind of chips.
When there is increase in the intake of fast food leads to decrease or less intake of good nutritional quality foods. Soft drink contains around 9 grams of sugar in 100 ml which is really high. Soft drinks and fast foods reduce the life span by 13 years because they are high in calorie which in turn causes obesity. Again obesity will invite all severe and deadly diseases, such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Vascular Disease, Heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.
People are well aware that they are low in important nutrients and its impact on health. Most of them are finding difficult to suppress the habit as the foods are delicious, attractive and tempting. The factor that influenced the fast food consumption is tasty, low costs, availability, convenience, quantity and peer pressure. So people have to be aware of the ill effects of the fast foods and try to avoid or reduce the consumption to have healthier India tomorrow.