Tuesday, 12 June 2012


English: Rack with Mexican-brand snack food at...
English: Rack with Mexican-brand snack food at a convenience store near Estadio Azteca in Mexico City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many mortals have been seduced by unhealthy foods. Like stepping into quicksand, finding it hard to pull oneself out of the trap. In fact, the harder we struggle, the deeper we sink. Finding a strong foothold seems impossible.  Is there no escape for the junk food junkie? 


Knowledge is power. Before any fight, you have to know who your enemy is. Understanding their nature and be aware of the dangers they can inflict on our vital organs, are the two steps strategy toward winning the battle against unhealthy food. So lets begin by arming ourselves with an arsenal of junk information.

Why do we eat junk food?

Salted snack foods such as chips, candies, gum, sweet desserts, fried fast food and carbonated drinks and alcoholic beverages are attractively packaged, easy to carry and eat on the go. 


Sugar, Salt, artificial flavors and enhancers like MSG gives the food an added punch, sometimes even taste better than healthy food.  After eating fried chicken, we will wash it down with a big cup of carbonated drink that comes with the meal. We fee full and it satisfy our cravings.


The ingredients used are added fat, high fat meat and refined grains that are cheaper than lean meat, fresh fruits and vegetables. 


You can find junk food in every food outlets, shopping centers, hypermarkets and even petrol stations across the country. You don't even have to get down the car if you visit a drive in.

When we consume junk food, it actually gives us pleasure and alters our brain activity in the same manner as addicts to drugs. After eating junk food diet for many weeks, the pleasure centers of our brains become desensitized and in order to feel pleasure again, we eat even more.

The Junk list

Salted snack foods such as potato chips, french fries, cheese balls
Candies, Lollipops
Chewing gum
Local Sweet desserts like Cendol, Bubur Cha-Cha, ABC
Fried fast food
High sugar cereals such as Fruit candies are targeted at children.
Biscuits or cookies that has flavored cream or coated with sugar.

What are unhealthy food?

Foods that contain empty calories such as all fried and sweetened foods.

Don't have enough fiber such as cakes, pastries, white bread and processed foods which are made of refined products.

Deplete nutrients from your body and leave nutritionally deficient such as caffeinated or carbonated drinks that draws calcium from bones. 

Do damage to your body in one or more ways such as food containing hydrogenated fat like margarine, that converts to trans fat after being heated to a high temperature or re-used.

Foods to avoid

Canned soups
Street food in South Korea
Street food in South Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Baked products
Refined cereal meals,
Vegetable and non-veg fries
Fatty and fried snacks
Genetically Modified Foods
Hydrogenated fats and Trans-fats
Ice Cream and Frozzen Desserts
Processed cheese products
Sausages, hotdogs, cured meats and luncheon meats
Soda Pop and other artificial beverages

Such foods are loaded with salt, sugar, saturated fats, artificial flavors, coloring and preservatives. Some food manufacturers claim that their products are low in salt, cholesterol free or less sugar, high protein etc.  It is presumptuous to think that  their product is 100% healthy.  Why? Because preservatives, artificial flavors and coloring are still very much in the picture. So always read the food labels and small prints before buying.

Junk food & drink stall
Junk food & drink stall (Photo credit: lokenrc)

The Health Risk List

Frequent consumption of high calorie fried food, fatty dressings or toppings and leading a sedentary lifestyle can cause obesity.

Saturated and trans fat foods like fries, cheese, mayonnaise can cause cholesterol build up in our arteries which will narrow or clog causing coronary heart diseases , strokes or heart attacks.

A diet high in sugar and salt can cause blood pressure and sugar levels to rise which in turn causes hypertension and diabetes to develop in our bodies.

Fast foods are generally deficient in vitamins and minerals, therefore affecting our immunity and ability to fight lifestyle diseases.

MSC or mono-sodium glutamate which is an artificial flavoring is considered carcinogenic.

Effects of Long Term Consumption of Junk Food

Eating junk food over a long period of time causes stress to your body due to the missing nutrients, food additives, environmental pollutants and pesticide.  These factors will eventually take its toll on our system.  Premature aging, disease and other serious health problems such as kidney, liver diseases, and cancer are strongly  linked to your diet and lifestyle.

Tips on how to avoid unhealthy foods

  1. Plan ahead for each day so that you have time to prepare a nutritious meal.
  2. Pack lunches the night before to save time and start the day right in the morning.
  3. Avoid fatty and highly salted toppings.
  4. Choose oil based dressings instead of creamy salad dressings.
  5. Use mustard or ketchup instead of mayonnaise.
  6. Order pizza and add veggies instead of meat or cheese.  Get thin crust instead of thick.
  7. Make veggy sandwiches such as onions, lettuce and tomatoes instead of red meat or processed meat such as ham, bacon or cheese.
  8. Avoid using salt shaker.
  9. When eating out, choose foods that are broiled, steamed or grilled. 
  10. Choose clear veggie soups over cream based.
  11. Avoid dishes that are deep fried, pan fried, creamy or crispy as they are usually high in calories, fats and sodium.
  12. Practice portion control by ordering smaller portions.
  13. Don't go for combos or box meals as the portions are bigger and you will end up overeating which can lead to weight gain.
  14. Order a salad or soup instead of fries.
  15. Drink water, low fat milk or diet sodas or fresh fruit juice and hold the syrup.
  16. Try fruit or yogurt for dessert instead of pies or cookies.
  17. Eat slowly, relish every bite and really take the time to chew and taste the food.
  18. Never ever shop on an empty stomach.
  19. Satisfy hunger pangs or cravings with healthy snacks such as dried or fresh fruit, half a cup of nuts or whole grain cereal bars.
  20. Go online to search for recipes that feature healthy and fresh ingredients and expand your repertoire of healthy dishes for your family.
It is best if you can avoid junk food altogether. However, if there is a craving, just remember to go easy on the quantity and try to detox as soon as possible.

To know more, please read: "How To Detox Safely".
Coincidentally, a piece of my tooth filling broke away from one of my lower molar while I was chomping on potato chips two days ago. Before anyone jumps to any conclusion, I am not a junk food addict. I consider my relationship with junk food as a 'love hate' type. I love how it makes me feel while eating it but hate what it does to my body. Moreover, I only had three pieces of chip and it's made of wheat.

Anyway, coming back to my tooth, don't ask me how it happened. At first I thought it was a small pebble.  But after running my tongue over my tooth, I realized that there was a gap in between the two left molars. Happy to report that the tooth was fixed the very next day at my friendly Klinik Kesihatan for a princely sum of RM2 including the registration fee of RM1. Waiting time was 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Well for RM3, would you mind waiting that long? I certainly didn't.

My next topic for discussion is, "Empty Nest Syndrome". 

You may also like to read:

My Art Corner
African Princess

This is my attempt at drawing an adult female.  Hope you like it.

Thanks for looking and taking the time to read my blog.  I welcome feedback and please feel free to share your experiences in relation to today's topic.

Until my next post, "Here's to your health!"

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