In today’s culture, people judge food by its convenience and taste. Processed and fast foods are quick, easy, and taste fairly good. Children, especially, enjoy fast food and packaged snacks. While this may seem a good solution to this fast-paced society, it is actually a dangerous habit. Fifteen percent of children ages six to nineteen are overweight, and the number is growing (Back to School). Even if a child is not obese, he often does not eat healthy and faces the danger of becoming overweight. Processed and preserved foods and fast food negatively affect elementary-aged children’s health and future lifestyle.
First, consider the convenience factor. Processed and preserved foods are easy to obtain and stay fresh for long periods of time. However, these foods are unhealthy because of the refining process and additives. “Refining destroys and devitalizes most of the food’s goodness” (Jordan 1). The Health Department still allows food to be bleached, even though there is a toxic effect.
There are several different types of convenience foods today. They share the same qualities, such as chemical additives and less nutritional value than real food. The level of chemicals they contain differentiates them. The first is processed food, which is real food infused with chemicals and preservatives in order to keep the food fresh longer. To attain this goal, it is stripped of nutrients and pumped with additives that your body is unable to efficiently digest (Jordan 1).
The second type of convenience food is junk food. This contains very little real food and is made of processed food, fats, chemicals, and preservatives. The chemicals that junk food contains are less expensive than real food, so it is cheaper to mass-produce.
The last type is fake foods. These are basically chemicals with gum and sugar fillers. Fake foods are nutrient-poor and loaded with calories. They satisfy hunger briefly but deplete the body of key nutrients and induce cravings.
These convenience foods’ energy output exceeds nutritional input. Consequently, your body is forced to work harder to digest, absorb, and eliminate what they offer in nutritional value. Because of this, modern convenience foods do not provide sufficient nutrients to allow a child to reach full potential of health or proper functioning. They are key factors in chronic degenerative diseases, learning disabilities, and dental disease (Sheppard 1). However, these dangerous foods are what make up many children’s diets today.
Secondly, consider low-fat food. Many believe this is the solution to unhealthy foods. The problem with this method is that while low-fat foods do not contain fat, there are high amounts of sugar and salt added. This makes up for the loss of taste and texture when the fat is removed.
Low-fat foods are more dangerous than full-fat foods for several reasons. Firstly, all the sugar and salt added is just as unhealthy as fat. Secondly, people tend to eat more of a food when...