Junk Foods, Fast Foods, Fats : What’s good, What isn’t good?

Introduction : Food for the body is like petrol for a car. It is a prime requirement for our body as it is essential for the attainment of growth (by making new cells) and for repairing of the body, as it replaces damaged cells. Every human should eat a balanced diet, which should comprise of proteins, or body-building foods; fats and carbohydrates, energy-giving foods; crucial vitamins and minerals; fiber or roughage, and water in a particular quantity; so that their bodies can function properly.

Junk Food : But when we eat a diet which is not rich in any of these nutrients or contains a huge amount of a nutrient, we can suffer from many diseases as everything in a very less or in an enormous amount can be dangerous. As the name suggests, such food items which are like ‘junk’ or ‘waste’ for the body are termed as ‘junk foods.’  They can be healthy or junk. Some example of junk foods are soda, chicken, pizza, soft drinks, nachos, french fries and milkshakes. Junk foods do no good to our body and are therefore, unimportant and it is better to avoid intake of these food items in larger quantities. These foods are generally high in saturated and trans fats, sugars and salts but lack other important nutrients and fibres. Now the question is that, why are junk foods termed as ‘no nutrient’ foods when they contain fats and sugars (both of which are a part of a balanced diet)? The answer to this is that junk foods provide us with fats, which are very necessary for our bodies, but excess of anything can be harmful, and thus, the excessive amounts of fats in junk foods is dangerous to health as the excess fats are deposited in the body and lead to obesity. Saturated and trans fats are important to our body and yet are harmful: everything has its pros and cons. Excess sugars can lead to heart disease. Fibres are good for our digestive system as they keep our gut healthy, helps slow down digestion which leads to more proper and not fast but less breaking down of food and helps in many hemorrhoidal, cardiac and digestive diseases. As junk foods have lots of fats and sugars, and less fibre, they can be termed as ‘junk’ or ‘bad’ food.

The term ‘Junk food’ : Many, in fact most, people use the terms fast food, junk food and street food interchangeably, even when they are scientifically different things. Fast food is a pre-prepared, quick and easy-to-cook food item which is generally junk too, but it can also be healthy if it has vegetables and fruits present in it. For example, Ready made 2-minute Oats are fast food, but are very healthy. Junk food is a food item which has no nutritional value, no calories and the nutritional value is poor. Street food is  quick food prepared on a cart or truck parked on a street.

Fast Food : The word fast food literally means a kind of meal that can be prepared quickly. Most people prefer these foods because most of them are pre-prepared and thus, save time.

As everything has its own pros and cons, fast and junk foods also have advantages and disadvantages –

Advantages : They have only some benefits —

  • In this busy world, many people live in a rush and have lots of work to do. Thus, it’s difficult to find time to cook a meal. As fast foods are ready in a few minutes, they solve this problem.
  • Additionally, the restaurants which sell these foods can be found easily. If you are out somewhere and you are hungry, there will be at least one or two fast/junk food restaurants at a short distance. Here, you can get a meal in a matter of seconds as the food is already prepared and just needs to be packed.
  • But the main reason why people prefer junk/fast foods are because of their amazing taste. Since most of them like pizza, pasta, spaghetti, chips, burgers them are fried or baked, they develop a very pleasant taste; and who doesn’t want something tasty to eat?

Disadvantages : Since I have been telling that these foods are generally unhealthy, they are naturally going to have many disadvantages –

  • The fast foods have pre-prepared base ingredients and thus they can also be referred to as ‘partially stale or old’ food.
  • Fast/junk foods are mixed with many artificial (and harmful) preservatives like sodium benzoate and sulfites, to resist them from getting expired or staling. These preservatives have many side effects on human health. Preservatives are a good thing for food manufacturers because products can be made, shipped and stored until purchase without going bad, meaning they don’t lose money from spoiled food but their effects on health can be lethal – they can cause an increased risk in cancers, leukemia, brain tumors, diarrhoea, muscle weakness, fainting, skin irritation and asthma.
  • Since these foods are tasty, they cause a sudden increase in our energy levels and lures us to eat more amounts of these foods causing more harm to our health.
  • These foods can cause stress and decrease in concentration.
  • The high levels of sugar and fat in these food can lead to an enlarged risk of obesity. Extra calories are stored as body fat. The cooking oils and preservatives make it difficult for our body to utilize this fat, thus, making us obese. Obesity further causes many other diseases like
  • The high-levels of sodium, sugars and oils cause damage to the cardiovascular system. Extra cholesterol is stored inside our arteries and clogs them. Thus, the heart needs to pump harder and this increases the danger of heart diseases.
  • Liver damage is also another risk of consuming junk/fast food. They are often filled with trans-fat, a type of artificial fat. It builds up in our liver and thus, can cause damage to it.
  • These foods don’t contain much of proteins, dietary fibres, vitamins and minerals and thus, eating too much of them can lead to a weak immune system. We can be affected by deficiency diseases cause by these deficient nutrients in our diet.

As one can see, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and thus, we should avoid these types of foods and not eat them on a regularly basis. But the main question is even after when we know the cons of eating fast and junk foods, why do we eat them? It is a human tendency to always want to eat something tasty, and thus, we console ourselves by saying that just one more meal would not effect us so much and we tend to eat these foods every time by pledging to ourselves that we will not eat them in the next month or so. Thus, we always want to eat these foods, and many times, even if we are full and cannot eat more, we still eat more junk/fast food because of their peasant taste. Besides the taste of the food, the catchy visuals and advertisements of fast (or junk) food companies also encourage us to want to try a new type of fast/junk food dish. These restaurants use technology to make the real images of food into more appealing images. What may seem to be a normal slice of cheese in reality, may look like an enormous, rich, pure yellow, perfect slice of absolutely yummy cheese; and all the vegetables seem very fresh and energetic, which in itself is enough to compel their customers to want to eat the food. Also, these brands use catchy titles and new types of arguments to support the eating of more fast food (which is actually harmful to the eaters’ health but the companies dont care about that, they care about business and money!) like “Packed with extra vegetables, a purfecctllyy delicious yet healthy complete bonanza!” or “Eat like a Maharaja: Maharaja McBurger!” According to me, we should ignore all these false descriptions and stay away from eating too much of fast/junk foods. It is advisable to eat three-four junk/fast food meals in a month at the maximum.

Fats and misleading facts about them : The word ‘fat’ has two meanings: the energy-giving nutrient ‘fat’ and the adjective one meaning stout – ‘fat.’ The nutrient fat is very important to our body as it provides us with energy. Energy is very essential as it is required to perform all life processes! But in the current world, people believe that fats are bad and they should be consumed in a very less quantity since fats make us ‘fat’ or stout and being obese has its own disadvantages like diabetes, sugar, hypertension, high blood pressure, etc. Many people start avoiding fats and dont even touch fat containing foods. This can be harmful for health since fats provide us with energy and we may suffer from low-energy or fat deficiency diseases. It is another misleading rumor about fats (especially saturated fats) that they can get stored in our blood vessels and cause heart disease. But the reality will only be understood if we forget some flawed science rumors. Most people believe that they should avoid eating fats because they cause cholesterol and cause heart disease. But the truth is that there is no relation between fats and heart disease. Sugar is the actual culprit in blood vessel blockage. Saturated fats do increase LDl A (bad) Cholesterol but these LDL Type A cholesterol do not cause heart disease and its the LDL Type B (carbohydrate-made cholesterol) which causes it. Fats also help white blood cells to recognize viruses or bacteria and thus, are important for a good immunity system. But fats too have their own cons. If we consume them in a large quantity, the excess fats are stored in our body cells and this leads to obesity (but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat them at all).

Conclusion : To sum up, I believe that as fast foods and junk foods are generally unhealthy we should keep our taste buds in control and control our intake of these foods, because their disadvantages outweigh the advantages; after all Prevention is better than Cure!

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My Learning Experiences at Global Wings

‘Global Wings,’ is an institute that has literally lived up to its name – It has helped students to develop wings to soar high in the sky and gain global attention. It is not the boring tuition type institute, but a fun-filled activity room.

My journey with Global Wings started an year ago when I asked Ritu Mami for some advice on how to improve my literary skills and publish my writings. She enrolled me for the ‘Lets Write’ program and asked me to write an essay every week.

Soon, the program commenced and I started to write on the given topics and publish it on the blog. My writing skills began improving post by post. I could see the change in my writing style. Earlier, my essays were dry, cold and normal, but later, I got used to of using difficult vocabulary, I could write more complex sentences and my grammar improved drastically. My writings were now rich and entertaining. Now, I also used some quotes, real life examples or some proverbs in my essays.

All in all, Global Wings has enhanced my public speaking, literary skill, creativity and imagination. It has helped me a lot to improve my English.

I hope that we continue writing and writing… and keep climbing up the uphill road to success…

Vacations are Here!

Summer Vacations are probably the best time of the year. It is also the happiest period in a student’s life. Vacations are the time for fun and rejuvenation. They last from around the second week of May till the middle of July.

The purpose of the summer vacations are multifold. One is relaxation. Students get tired after the end of the annual examination.  They need rest to recoup health and vitality. The second purpose is to tide over the scorching heat of the summer months. The third purpose is to provide a chance to students to make up their deficiency in any particular subject. It also gives an opportunity to visit new places. Travelling is a wonderful experience and it has its educative value too.

Poem on Holi

The festival of colours is round the bend, 

The evil spirits are about to end.

Everywhere there is joy and glory, 

But why is it celebrated? Here is the story.

Once upon a time there lived Hiranyakashipu, a mighty king,

He was the evilest among everyone and everything.

He wanted everyone to pray and obey him,

But there came a voice of a boy singing a God’s hymn.

And to everyone’s surprise he was Prahlad, his son,

Hiranyakashipu said angrily, “Now you are done.”

Hiranyakashipu’s sister Holika had got a boon that the fire will,

Never hurt her and thus she sat on the pyre with Prahlada to grill.

But the mighty Lord Vishnu took an avatar of a half lion – half man,

He killed Hiranyakashipu and Prahlada and Vishnu won.

Is it Fun Having A Pet?

From many angles, it is proved that animals are our friends. We establish intimacy with them by keeping them as our pets. Sometimes they are kept in cages. There are some pet animals who are allowed to stay with us freely. Both, animals and birds can be our pets. Dog is a faithful animal – it plays the role of a watchman and guards our house at night. When they see their master in danger, dogs come at rescue. Dogs are the most courageous animals.  Our friends may turn faithless but dogs will never.

Cat is another pet animal. It it generally kept for the sake of fashion but the merits of a cat cant be denied. Cats save our houses from the rats that ruin the food grains. There are some people who keep rabbit, mongoose, white mouse, etc. as pet, because these animals are beautiful to look at. Besides animals, some people keep birds as pets. Parrots and peacocks are mostly favored for their attractive features. Parrots and myna are talking birds. They call the members of the family by their names. Very often they quote a few religious words which please their masters.

Why do we have pets? It’s a very interesting question. Actually having pets can be wonderful , rewarding experience as they teach us a lot of things. They make us loyal and the teach us about friendship we can see that most of the people who have pets their relationship with their pets showed them how two people should be friends. Having pets also teach us responsibility and how to take care of others because pets need care, nutrition, and attention. We learn more about animals if we have a pet because we are forced to read books or to watch animal shows to know if our pet is hungry, what should we feed it or if it is injured or sick, how should we deal with the situation.

There are many reasons for and against why we should keep a pet. Many people consider their pets to be members of the family, and treat them with love and respect. The feeling often appears to be mutual, as our dogs and cats seek us out to play, to be petted, or to just simply sit in our laps. They provide unconditional love and devotion. To deny them and us this relationship seems unthinkable to some.

These are some points against the keeping of pets- One argument is that cats, dogs and other pets suffer too much at our hands. Theoretically, we may be able to provide good homes for our pets, and many of us do. However, in the real world, animals suffer abandonment, cruelty, and neglect. Another argument is that even on a theoretical level, the relationship is inherently flawed and we are unable to provide the full lives that these animals deserve. Because they are bred to be dependent on us, the basic relationship between humans and companion animals is flawed because of the difference in power.

To sum up, there are more advantages than disadvantages. Really, pets are such agreeable friends and we learn a lot from them.

Graduating to the Middle School…

Is it good to be in the middle? Sometimes, no, like when you’re in the middle seat on a long car ride. But sometimes, yes, like when you’re in the middle of a great movie. What will happen next? Middle school is a little bit like that.

Middle school is called so, because it is in the middle, elementary is behind you and high school awaits you. Middle school consists of sixth, seventh and eight grade.

I am right now in the fifth grade. And going to sixth is a big change for me. Leaving all the friends and my dear teachers is hard for me. However, I am keen to meet my new teachers and friends.

Another big change is that from now on there are going to be Summative Assessments. In the Summative Assessment, anything from all the books can come. So, I need to revise and be up-to-date with the syllabus every time. There may be some surprise tests also.

Science and Social Studies are divided into further subjects like History, Civics, Geography and Physics, Biology and Chemistry.

Middle school students have lesser opportunities for extracurricular activities. Till now, I had enough time for recreation and for hobbies like Tennis and Piano. Now I will have lesser time to do all that stuff as I will need to study more and will have to maintain and utilize the time well.

I will have to learn the new dress code and will have to maintain it on a regular basis, to prevent my name to be put on the defaulter’s list. I would better watch out for my discipline to avoid red and yellow cards. From now on, teachers will not forgive us if we do something wrong i.e. they will treat us as grown-ups.

All this makes me feel a bit scared. But, I promise that I will overcome these difficulties and be the best student in my class.

Celebrating Spring!!!

With all those butterflies and honeybees buzzing on the orchids, daisies, buttercups and daffodils  in a valley surrounded by mountains almost touching the sky, spring is my favourite season. The spring season rules India in late February till the mid of April.

The spring season, often called the King of all Seasons is the most beautiful and colourful time of the year as mother nature is at her full mood of happiness as the trees put on new leaves, flowers bloom, petals blossom and fruits fruit out. The birds chirp melodious songs, while the bees buzz around every flower, collecting pollen and preparing honey. Oh! I love to gaze at the flowers so fragrant to smell : narcissus, hyacinth, lilies and roses.

The weather is pleasant as it is neither hot nor cold and there is a gentle breeze at all times. Thus, many families go for outings and picnics in the wild to feel the essence of flowers and rejuvenate themselves. I love flying kites with my father at my terrace.

Many harvest festivals like Basant Panchmi and Baisakhi take place in this season.

For the poets and painters this is a wonderful season to compose poetry and draw sceneries. They get inspiration from Spring.

Beauties of Spring, not only feast our eyes, gladden our hearts and purify our souls, but they have also a spiritual message. We should not pollute our Mother Nature and preserve her for the benefit of mankind.

Long live ‘Spring’ to delight, inspire and teach us!