I have been hooked by the topic of junk food. I wrote several posts based my previous knowledge: Obesity is not a personal choice, Why fast food is not banned? and “Supersize me” surprises me. Now I continue reading articles, watching documentaries, looking for research evidences on this topic. The more I dive in, the darker it gets. The extent of the problem is much larger than I expected. The complexity of this issue is far beyond my imagination. I will summarize some of the things that I learned below:
- Junk food* makes people getting addicted the same way as cocaine. Ironically, most people believe drug dealers should be put into prison but they support food industry by saying that being fat is due to lack of self control and will power. They should as well support drug dealers because taking cocaine is a personal choice.
- Exercise can only burn off a small fraction of the calories we consume daily. It takes 42 minutes of cardio to burn off a Big Mac, another 40 minutes for the large french fries and again 30 minutes for the large coca cola. So if you eat one Big Mac meal, you need to do cardio for 2 hours to burn it off! And this is only 1 meal in the day. Exercise is good for health but not very helpful in losing weight if you do not change your diet.
- Junk food is the modern tobacco. Food industry is doing the same thing as tobacco company: poisoning the world. The only difference being food industry can do whatever they want without any restrictions, even targeting the children.
- Junk food with Low-fat label is loaded with sugar or artificial sweetener, which is not any better than fat. It makes people think that they are eating healthy food thus they will consume more.
- Junk food is everywhere, not only in fast food restaurants, supermarkets, vending machines, but also in schools, book stores, petrol stations, hospitals, office buildings. No matter where you go, you can see junk food within your reach. If there is alcohol everywhere, can we control the prevalence of alcoholism? Then how could it be possible to abate the surge of obesity if our living environment is filled up with all these addictive food?
- To eat healthy is a tough battle between you and the whole environment you live in. You need to be a superman to fight against millions of enemies jumping onto you everyday, food advertisements on TV, internet, newspaper, radio, in the metro, the shops, on the street; fast food restaurants on the streets, in the shopping centers, in the school, near the office; thousands of packages in the supermarkets, convenient stores, book shops and many more.
- Whenever the government tries to impose regulations on food industry, people get excited and start calling “Nanny state”. “The government is trying to control what we eat.” “I have the right to eat whatever I want.” Thus the battle against the food industry has never been successful though all doctors and nutritionists are advising people fast food and processed food are bad for health.
- This is the strange situation of our modern times: we know junk food is bad for health and we let the food industry do whatever they want, including advertising and selling it to our children. No parents would give a cigarette to a toddler but many would add coca cola to the milk bottle.
*Junk food includes fast food and all kinds of processed food.