A report in this daily yesterday brought into focus the adverse effects of junk food laced with trans fat, tasting salt, and other unhygienic ingredients which doctors believe pose a serious risk to health. A new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that 8,000 people die each year in Bangladesh due to unnecessary overexposure to the toxic chemical trans fat.
An excessive amount of trans fat, a kind of hydrogenated oil, is being used in fried food, baked goods, chips, pizza dough and other fast foods, to add artificial taste as well as to prolongs the shelf life of products. And people eat these food items without knowing that they contain toxic chemical.The global trend towards unhealthy, processed and packaged foods is changing our traditional food culture. Consumption of junk food in the country is reaching dramatic proportions with every tiny shop laden with packets of potato chips, carbonated drinks and fried chicken. People crave junk food as they look very appealing. What does the junk food taste like maybe debatable, but there is no denying that they contain a trans fat, tasting salt, sugar and preservatives that cause harm to our body.
However, children’s desire to get those foodstuffs is often irresistible. They prefer junk food or other food items containing unhealthy ingredients instead of homemade items for various reasons. First, the junk foods are easily available in the market. And then their marketing gimmick – colourful packet and free gifts – draws children like a magnet. At times they insist on buying various chips only to get the gifts associated with it. Thus children are being lured to empty calories of highly processed foods.
It is a brazen act of deception against our little ones. To be more precise, the junk food companies are selling diseases and obesity with those lucrative packets of chips and other food items. Therefore, it is important to watch what children eat. The government should enforce stringent regulation and hold those food and beverage companies accountable. Sale of junk food and carbonated drinks in and around schools should be banned.