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REVIEW of Health 02
Junk Food Habits

Being reminded what we should and shouldn't eat is all part of modern-day living. Not that we don't already know, but many of us ignore the advice because preparing and cooking the ideal food is inconvenient. Take-outs save time on cooking and, we reason, they can't hurt if we only have them once in a while. The same applies to snacks - potato chips, salted nuts, flavoured crispy noodles, cakes and biscuits - just occasional treats, we tell ourselves. Before it is realised, we are hooked on junk food. Unhealthy though it may be, it soon becomes a major part of the weekly diet; and trying to get off it seems an impossibility because it tastes so good, far superior to the so-called healthy alternative we could knock up in the kitchen.

Anyway, surely it contains the same stuff, doesn't it? Well, some maybe. The basic ingredients are still there - meat, potatoes, rice, vegetables - the problem comes from the additives. Many aren't included simply to enhance flavour and colour: they are there to make us want more to the point where we become addicted. Add to these the fats and oils they are cooked in and every time the smell of burgers, pizzas, or Chinese drift on the breeze, anyone who catches a whiff just has to have some. And aren't they wonderful? Actually, no! They are loaded with fat and grease, carbs and calories, plus a multitude of alien inclusions that mess with our metabolism and brains, not to mention the damage they are doing to general health. Junk food really is a curse and we need to do something to kick the habit.

There are ways, but it won't be easy. The first step is to recognise associations - times when junk food is usually eaten; combinations of food and drink that seem to go well together - like the pie that just isn't the same without a bucket of fries; and the bag of crisps to go with the salad roll. Wash these down with a soda and it's the real-meal deal. Back home and relaxing in front of the television is never quite as satisfying without a drink and some snacks; and this unhealthy grazing tends to continue even after the evening meal. If that was take-out, it's a double whammy!

When a particular activity (or non-activity) suggests a certain food-type, especially the unhealthy kind, it's time to introduce a change that severs the link. Still hungry after tea? How about a club sandwich and a glass of milk instead of the beer and pretzels? Substitute water for soda or alcohol. It is less likely to be a regular partner of junk food. In fact, because it cleanses the palate, the taste of whatever is eaten is considerably stronger. Try some potato crisps after a glass or two of water - you'll probably have to admit that the lingering after-taste is predominantly salt and fat. For more undeniable evidence that this rubbish is doing you no good, take a look at your hands - they'll be coated in grease. Then, it should hopefully be realised that the high-fat, artificially flavoured, over-processed junk isn't as great as it seemed; but I can almost guarantee that normal healthy food will still taste as good as ever, better even.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Health 02 click here

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