Effect of junk food on health

The effect of junk food on health has become a topic of concern amongst mothers as children prefer junk food or fast food to healthy food choices as these foods are additively tasty. Many studies have shown that childhood obesity is linked with eating out too frequently and fast food being one of the family favorite convenient meals (foods are prepared in a short time and easy for taking away) and you can easily access to. Fast food and junk food are to be blamed for causing the increasing no. of overweight children globally.

Junk food is known as highly processed food which contain high in fat, sugar and salt and with little to no real nutrition. To me, there is no difference between junk food and fast food as both are high in calories and low to no dietary fiber and nutritional value. Junk food and fast food are extremely popular nowadays, You can easily access to fast food outlet and vending machines that selling these type of food at most of the public places. They come with variety of choices, easy to prepare and they are convenient for take away.

As we are bombarded with lots of attractive advertisement promoting about fast food and junk food everywhere we go – on the street, TV, newspaper, magazines etc, it is even harder for parents to stop their children from getting access to these food. Even adults are addicted to these food too.

Are all fast food= junk food?

Most fast food can be equated with junk food as these foods are made in short time, comes with variety of choices, tasty, convenient but they are highly processed with additives, preservatives, artificial colorings and flavoring. Usually, they are high in calories but little to no nutritional value.

Occasional night of eating out at fast food outlet or munching on snacks once in a while will cause no harm. If letting your children continue eating those tasty junk food and skipping their proper meal, we, as parents shall start to intervene. These foods are harmful if they are consumed without control. Before your child start to develop a taste for such food, halt it now before it is too late. Preferably, do not introduce junk foods from a young age is the most effective way to keep the junk food at bay.

Effect of junk food on health

However, not all fast food are necessarily mean junk food nowadays, some fast food outlet have turn out to provide healthy meal choices, such as green salad, wholegrain grill chicken sandwich, green bean or corn on the cob, oatmeal etc. Let’s take MacDonald’s for example,

MacDonald’s has been the world biggest fast food chain, they started serving the healthy menu ~500 calories years ago. Here are examples of their healthy meal choices in Malaysia & Singapore:

  • Chicken Porridge by McDonald’s
  • Grill chicken burger
  • Chicken McNuggets
  • HotCakes
  • Filet- O- fish
  • McChicken meal
  • Mc Egg muffin
  • Chicken muffin
  • Grill Chicken McWrap
  • Apple slices
  • Corn

They also served tea & coffee, milk and mineral water instead of high sugar beverages like juices, chocolate drink, and sodas.

When you think of eating out at fast food outlet, look for these foods on the menu and limit your visit to these outlet once or twice a week or a month even better. Order for small portion and keep high sugar beverages at bay.

Read on to learn about the effect of junk food on health, both to pregnant women and children.

Effect of junk food on health

Pregnant women

Certain pregnant women will crave for fast food during the early stage or late stage of pregnancy. It is normal but be aware that, comsuming too much of fast food during your pregnancy will be harmful to your health and also to your baby too.

According to a study, mothers who eat junk food while pregnant are programming their babies to be addicted to a high fat, high sugar diet by the time they are weaned. That’s mean your maternal diet has an effect on developing your child food preference later in life.

Maternal diet with high consumption of junk food, sodas, processed food and snacks will lead to pregnancy health problem such as Gestational Diabetes, and obesity. According to a study “Maternal “junk food” diet during pregnancy as a predictor of high birthweight”, showed that 11% of newborn weigh more than 4kg are related to mothers who are obese and consume junk food diet during the pregnancy.

Effect of junk food on health


Childhood obesity is very much associated with children’s diet with high calories, high sugar, high salt, high fats and less partake in physical activities. It is not only affect their physical health as well as their psychological health.

Junk food and soft drinks are often accompany each other in fast food set meal. Therefore, children who visit fast food outlets frequently will tend to eat more portion, because the fast food with high saturated fats, accompany with high sugar soda drinks will create this addictive tastes, make you eat more!

High fats food diet will lead to high levels of cholesterol in the blood and it is known as one of causes of various heart problem, and can cause major cardiac disorders.

Junk food also associated with high amount of salts. High sodium diet, is the prime cause of an increase blood pressure. Disorders regarding the blood pressure can have a severe effect on a child’s life.

Junk food usually are high calories with little to no fiber, essential nutrients needed for a healthy child’s growth. Fast food and junk food are processed food in high temperature, therefore, their nutrients are mostly disappeared or vanished during the processing time. Children with total absence of green vegetables and fruits diet causes a deficiency of macro and micro nutrients to thrive and develop. It is harmful to their body’s immune system to function well and are more susceptible to various diseases.

High sugar diet will also cause early tooth decay. Some children who are overweight will feel less confident, due to their physical look, greatly affecting their quality of life. So, parents, what can you do?

What can parents do?

Bringing your children to fast food outlet once in a while will cause no harm. This is what i will do to limit my kids from over exposure to fast food and junk food.

  1. Limit our visit to fast food outlet to once or twice a month. Look for healthy menu, order less portion for our kids.
  2. Make time to cook healthy food at home. Less eating out.
  3. Do not reward your kids with junk food, instead reward your kids with outdoor playground, or any physical activities.
  4. Parents shall also lead by example, do not eat junk food in front of your children. Lower your own intake of such food too.
  5. If they ask for burger and pizza, make your own pizza, nuggets and burger in healthier ways. You are in control of what goes into the recipe.
  6. Educate your children about harmful effect of fast food or junk food towards their health.

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