Fast Food and Childhood Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition that is growing out of control in countries that rely heavily on processed food. Two of the major contributors to childhood obesity are junk food and fast food. In the United States alone, it is estimated that between 16 and 33 percent of children and teenagers are obese. Furthermore, obesity is responsible for killing over 300,000 Americans each year (1).
Before food was mass produced, most of it was locally grown or raised without the use of harmful chemicals. Nowadays, it is grown using harmful synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. In addition, some of them are genetically modified. In the United States, corn, soy, canola, cottonseed and sugar beets are often genetically modified. Genetically modified food has been link to obesity (2). What makes this type of food more dangerous than conventional food is that genetically modified food can alter or damage human DNA (3).
Did You Know Fast Food Contains Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)?
Fast food is often contaminated with genetically modified organism (GMO) due to the fact that conventional vegetable oil is used to cook it. In the United States, the top vegetable cooking oils that are usually genetically modified are corn, soy, canola and cottonseed. If these oils are used to cook fast food, then there is roughly a 90 percent chance that it has genetically modified ingredients in it. The fact that a lot of fast food products contain some form of soy is evidence that they are often contaminated with GMO.
There hasn't been any long term studies done on how GMO affects human health. For this reason, the health effects of GMO aren't well understood. However, animal studies have shown that GMO causes birth defects, sterility, cancer and obesity (2) (4) (5). Furthermore, many of the animals' offsprings died prematurely. Since GMO is linked to infertility, it is a threat to the survival of many species on Earth, including the human race.
Other Unhealthy Features of Fast Food
Most fast food products are cooked using hydrogenated fat since this fat is cheap and has a long shelf life. Unfortunately, when this fat is heated to high temperatures, it undergoes a chemical reaction, turning into a carcinogen. One thing about fat is that it is great at storing energy. The more fat a food possess, the more calories it generally has. High calorie processed food is one of the major contributors to childhood obesity.
Fast food products are usually added with chemical additives that are harmful to your health. Children are even more sensitive to these toxins. Some of these chemicals are 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo(4,5-b)pyridine (PhIP), polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs), sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate (7).
Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity
- Restrict the amount of processed food that your children eat. Processed food is often high in refined sugar and it lacks essential nutrients. Refined sugar isn't the same as natural sugar found in nature. Unlike refined sugar, natural sugar is accompanied by mineral activators and other synergistic components that are important for preventing sugar from breaking down into toxic metabolites, which can destroy healthy cells (6). Refined sugar is also great at causing weight gain because it causes spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Turn of the TV as much as possible because TV shows have a lot of food ads. To make matters worse, they often contain negative subliminal messages. These subliminal ads are designed to hypnotize your children's mind, making them vulnerable to compulsive behaviors, such as food addiction. Conventional food ads are often used to target children, so that they can condition kids to eat processed food instead of healthy organic food.
- If your children like playing sports, get them involve in sport programs at an early age so that they are used to being active. Being active in a sport is a great way to stay in shape. Many sports involve a lot of running and teamwork. This is great for burning calories and improving teamwork skills.
By teaching your kids to avoid the harmful ingredients in fast food and to eat healthy, it will dramatically reduce their risk of obesity. The sooner you teach your kids how to eat healthy, the sooner you can protect their mind from being poisoned with unhealthy food habits.