Due to its tastiness and convenience over prepared nutritious meals, junk food is so loved by the youngsters. However, the dark side of junk foods is not an unknown fact. Several research studies have shown that fast foods and processed foods have increased childhood obesity, heart disease and diabetes and other chronic diseases
Here are the top four foods that can contribute to a teen’s health issues:
Soda is high in calories. A 20-ounce (567 grams) bottle of Coca-Cola contains 17 teaspoons of sugar and 240 calories … empty calories devoid of any nutritional value.
Although this may seem obvious, one of the dangers of soda is that it doesn’t provide much needed nutrition to our bodies. In addition, in 2012, a study from Harvard University found that people who drink only one can of soda a day dramatically increase their risk of chronic heart disease (CHD). Compared to participants who drank the least soda, those who drank the most were 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack.
For a healthier alternative, drink water with a splash of real fruit juice in it.
- Fast Food Burgers
Despite their deliciousness, however, burgers can contribute to weight gain and have other harmful effects on your child’s health. These junk food are also believed to displace healthier foods in your diet instead of being more nutritious they lead to poorer overall diet quality.
Burgers can be high in sodium, with a double hamburger with mayo containing 1,081 milligrams. A small one-patty burger without mayo has only 258 milligrams of sodium. A high-sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
- French Fries
Because French fries are deep fried in oil, they are very high in fat and calories, which can pose a number of serious health risks if consumed regularly. French fries also contain a lot of salt and acrylamide, a chemical that has been associated with cancer.
And then there’s the chemicals in fried potatoes: Acrylamide, which is especially present in overcooked fries and potato chips (and toast) has been linked to cancer risk in animal studies, and is likely a risk to humans, too.
- Chips, Cheese Puffs and Other “Junk” Foods
Commercially available chips and crispies are usually high on fat content. Excessive consumption can lead to weight gain. They are also high on sodium content, which is added for taste and is also a component of preservatives.
Cheese puffs are crunchy, cheese-flavored, puffed corn products containing basically no real ingredients and no nutritional value. A serving of Cheetos (about 21 individual pieces) has 150 calories and 10 grams of fat, but essentially no positive nutritional value. Furthermore, Cheetos are highly processed and have artificial colors and flavors added.
So, teach your child about nutrition and show them that healthy eating isn’t about forbidding any one food or food group but enjoying a variety of foods in appropriate amounts. Provide treats in moderation so they don’t feel like they are missing out and gorge on them away from home.