Advantages and Disadvantages of Healthy Food v. Junk Food

Advantages and Disadvantages of Healthy Food v. Junk Food

Food is a topic every person out there has an opinion about. The fad of the season, newly discovered superfoods, fresh op-eds on the next big diet – these are regular occurrences in every possible media. Similarly, the healthy food v. junk food discussion has been going on for a long time. From doctors and nutritionists to concerned mothers, everyone has their take on what is right and wrong. So let us look at the benefits and drawbacks of healthy and junk foods.

THE HEALTHY FOOD v. JUNK FOOD DEBATE

Healthy foods and junk foods are polar opposite concepts. The healthy food v. junk food has been intense. Generally the former is seen as having positive effects on one’s body while the latter is seen as an unhealthy food option. But on the face of it something seems a certain way but do we have a true understanding of what is a better food choice? It is important to look at the context of our perceptions of something that is inherently seen as good or bad. 

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ADVANTAGES OF HEALTHY FOOD

Healthy food simply translates to food that contributes to personal or public health. It is a subset of a healthy diet that helps maintain overall health essential for the good health of an individual. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a healthy diet is a combination of different foods. These include staples like fruits and vegetables, staples like cereals (rice, wheat, or maize), legumes (lentils and beans), and foods from animal sources ( eggs, meat, fish, or milk). 

Nutrition

A healthy, nutritious diet should consist of adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables, fats, sugars, vitamins, and minerals. Most governments and medical institutes publish a nutrition guide that people can follow to keep themselves fit. Healthy foods like green leafy vegetables, whole grains, protein-rich foods, nuts, and other healthy fats are important dietary requirements.

Prevents Diseases

Eating healthy food is the easiest way of preventing diseases. Several studies and researches have conclusively proven that eating healthy can prevent diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, inflammation, hypertension, osteoporosis, etc. Diets rich in vegetables, fruits, and fibers have been found to reduce the risk of cancer as well.

Mental Health

There is a close link between our diets and our mental well being. Healthy foods have been known to have a positive effect on an individual’s emotional well being. People fighting with depression, anxiety, dementia, etc are advised to eat healthier foods for better mental health.

Weight Loss 

Another advantage that is Intrinsic linked to the other advantages is that it is a good healthy way of losing weight. Instead of looking for quick solutions, weight loss because of eating healthier food options is a better way of improving one’s lifestyle choices. Losing weight has been known to reduce the risks of certain diseases like heart diseases and some cancers. A diet rich in fibers and good l, lean proteins results in weight Loss without counting any calories.

Additionally, healthy foods can have a direct bearing on one’s mood and increase energy levels. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Healthy Food v. Junk Food

DISADVANTAGES OF HEALTHY FOOD

Expensive

A major drawback of healthy foods is that it is an expensive affair. Eating organic, local foods that are grown ethically without any harmful substances comes with a price tag. A 2013 research from Harvard School of Public Health estimates that healthiest diets (rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts) cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets (rich in processed foods, meats, refined grains). Therefore, not everyone can afford to incorporate healthy foods into their lifestyle.

Needs Preparation

Consumption of healthy foods requires preparation beforehand. One has to plan their meals, especially if one regularly travels. Grocery shopping means looking at the food and nutrition labels of every food item. Similarly, eating out at a restaurant can be a task because one has to research the place to see if they have healthy options or not. 

Time Consuming

Another disadvantage of healthy foods is the preparation and planning of meals takes time. Following a healthy meal plan means thinking about what you will eat very much in advance. Grocery shopping, meal prep, and counting calories – all of these are time-consuming activities.

Popular Health Diets

Weight loss plans and popular fad diets are always on the horizon. People are constantly looking for ways to lose weight instantly. With the advent of technology, everyone has become an expert at everything. But these popular health diets like the keto diet, Atkins, a raw food diet, paleo diet, etc do not have extensive research backing to them. In other words, we do not have conclusive proof of its efficiency.

Pros and Cons

PROS

CONS

Nutrition

Expensive

Prevents Diseases

Needs Preparation
Mental Health

Time Consuming

Weight Loss

Popular Health Diets

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ADVANTAGES OF JUNK FOOD

Junk food describes food that is high in calories and low in nutritional content. It is usually seen as having little or no real value. These include ready-to-eat foods like sweets, salty snacks, soft drinks, and any processed food item. Junk or fast foods are enjoyed for their taste and convenience.

Cheap and Affordable

An important benefit of junk foods is that it is cheap and affordable. Because these foods have low nutritional value, they come at a cheaper price in comparison to their healthy counterparts. One can get an entire meal at a fast food joint for reasonable prices. This is seen as a good option by families living on a tight budget.

Easily Available

Fast food joints like McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell are popular hotspots for families and friends alike to come have cheap junk meals. These places have several chains across the globe so it gives easy access to junk foods. For example, foods like potato chips, candy, chocolates, sugary cereals are junk foods that are widely available at a low cost.

Releases Endorphins

Eating junk or fast foods releases endorphins that are produced by our bodies to relieve stress and pain. This creates a sense of happiness and euphoria.

Known to Boost Performance

Many use food as a way of coping with their feelings. When you experience stress or sadness, eating your favorite foods is a way of making yourself feel better. Appetizing junk foods are known to have a calming effect and also can boost performance.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Healthy Food v. Junk Food

DISADVANTAGES OF JUNK FOOD

Health Risks

Junk foods have several health risks. The leading cause of obesity is eating unhealthy junk foods. There are low or negligent nutritional value in the contents of fast food. They are mostly rich in sodium, fats, and sugars. Excessive consumption of junk foods may cause high cholesterol, obesity, heart diseases, etc.

Adverse Effect on Mental Health

It also has an adverse effect on one’s mental health. Anything in excess is always detrimental to health. Hence, an increase in junk food intake may have an effect on mental health. 

Dangerous Ingredients

Junk or fast foods not only lack in nutrients, in addition, they also may contain dangerous ingredients. In simple words, junk food contains ingredients like trans fats that cause a number of health problems.

Processed Foods

Junk foods are usually processed foods. This means that these foods have undergone a series of processes to change it or preserve it. For instance, cereals, crackers, biscuits, and sweets are all examples of processed, packaged foods. They are canned, dried, pasteurized, or boxed into a completely new product. This loses the raw nutritional value of the foods.

Pros and Cons

PROS

CONS

Cheap and Affordable

Health Risks

Easily Available

Adverse Effect on Mental Health
Releases Endorphins

Dangerous Ingredients

Known to Boost Performance

Processed Foods

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WHAT’S THE VERDICT?

We have looked at the pros and cons of both healthy food v. junk food. In the longer run, the pros of healthy foods outweigh that of junk foods. But it is important to keep in mind that there is no perfect diet. Each individual must make choices according to their individual needs. Above all, eating should be in moderation and with care. 

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Anchita Nair