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Fast Food and Obesity in Children

Are Fast Food and Obesity Linked?

Yes, there are several things about junk food that contribute to obesity in children. First, there are the large serving sizes that are easy to note. In recent years most fast food restaurants have come out with "super-size" portions of burgers, fries. In addition there are "pizza by the slice" restaurants, where one slice is almost the size of a plate. Moreover, they are visually appealing, tempting children to indulge in these calorie-laden foods.

Children who eat fast food frequently also tend to show less liking for nutrition dense foods. Red grapes, oranges, guavas and dark green leafy vegetables not only have a high nutritional profile but also help to release body fat. However, as fast food enthusiasts do not give much importance to vegetables and fruits, the body tends to hold fat stubbornly. To simply put, greater attachment to unhealthy eating among fast food lovers eventually causes obesity.

Fast Food in School

Since the late 70's, schools have been offering meals similar to fast foods in place of the regular school lunches. These schools report over 15,000 items sold each week, especially to those from higher income level families. In addition there are those teenagers that who work for these restaurants and eat there at least one meal during their work schedule.

Advertising for Children

Advertising, including television ads, billboards, and other advertising, including toys in boxed meals, has had an effect upon children as never before. Children these days are growing up with low concern for their health and more concern for what tastes good.

Without enough parental supervision, these kids grow up with little nutritional discretion and usually these kids grow into adults with both weight and health problems as well as teaching another generation that it is OK to waste money on unhealthy foods. So it is not only the young people of our generation that are being affected by the junk food industry, it is going to have an effect for generations to come, if something isn't done about its consumption.

It's Up to Us!

As is expected the fast food industry is not going to think it possible to suddenly change its direction after years of offering poor food choices. It will have to come from the consumer demanding healthier food choices. Our vote comes with where we shop and what we buy. Our children and grandchildren will grow up with weight and other health problems if they continue eating the way they are.

Suggestions for Lowering Obesity Rates in Children

Banning fast food advertisements that potentially target kids may help to curb the rising obesity cases in children. Promoting these junk foods in the form of advertisements lures children into eating unhealthily. The influence of these ads is so high that children prefer to visit a fast food joint to satisfy their hunger cravings, rather than having their home cooked meal. In Canadian city Quebec, the government has prohibited fast food chains from advertising their products for children. This government policy is being strictly implemented for the last 32 years and the efforts have met with some success. Statistics show that the obesity rates have skyrocketed in other Canadian cities but in Quebec the percentage of obese children has dropped drastically.
School authorities should ensure that their meal programs for children provide nutritionally balanced meals free from fatty foods. Also, junk food such as hamburgers and soft drinks should not be made accessible during the school hours. Making it mandatory to prohibit sales of fast foods in the school campus can help to reduce childhood exposure to unhealthy foodstuffs.
It is said that charity begins at home so do healthy eating habits. Though parents have to meet unrealistic deadlines at the office, they need to strike a balance between personal and professional commitments and ensure that the important meals of the day, (breakfast and dinner) are not a standalone event. See to it that everyone is present at the dinner table during meal time. This can help parents to keep a track of what their children are eating everyday. Studies show that having meals together can go a long way in decreasing the likelihood of obesity in children.

On the whole, we can read all the studies that show links between fast food and obesity, especially in children. We can look on as medical science proves that it causes obesity, but if we, as consumers do nothing and continue to feed these foods to our children, the health problems that will be the end result will be our own fault.

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Healthy Food Combinations

According to Kosher food system, the `lamb should never be cooked in its mothers milk", effectively, meat and milk should never be eaten together. This may have started as a religious dictum, but actually has roots in the wisdom of the ancient men. Meats and milk cannot be digested together, so it is not a good idea to eat them together. Eating them in one meal will cause indigestion, toxins and putrefaction of the food. What better way to stop their men from committing this mistake did the ancient Jews have, than to have religion forbid it? Similarly, the people of Eastern cultures believe that eating fish with milk causes deadly diseases, which may or may not be true but certainly helps to keep people off milk and fish combines.

It is a scientific fact that different food groups are digested differently, in different places in the system and using different chemicals, even different times. So in order to have a digestive system running efficiently, it is a good idea to check out what we are eating with what. Some of our foods, like starchy groups require an alkaline environment while certain others, like protein foods, require an acidic medium (Hydrochloric acid) to complete digestion. If both are taken in one meal, the stomach cannot digest all the food, and the result is a sodden, sorry chemical reaction that takes away all the digestion we need, the food eaten having done nothing but caused toxification of the system. Undigested food rots inside the stomach causing release of toxic gases, and over a long term, causes serious disorders, the roots of which we may then be unable to trace. Constipation, nervous disorders and a slowdown of the general metabolism is bound to occur.

According to a recent study, an average American male carries about five pounds of undigested, putrefying red meat in his digestive system. Now imagine keeping 5 pounds of red meat in a dark damp corner of your kitchen, day in and day out, letting it rot. Got the picture? That's his stomach. To combat these situations, the following guidelines must be kept in mind while planning a meal:

1. NEVER eat starch and acids (sugars such as juice or fruits) in one meal. For instance, white bread and citrus juices cannot be digested together. Fats and sugars (fruits) should not be mixed in any one meal. Simply put, one should never eat cereals, bread, potatoes or other such foods with berries, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, or other acid foods. So there goes the classic English breakfast, as well as the All American one.

2. Proteins (nuts, seeds, dried beans, dried peas, peanuts, lentils, milk, eggs, cheese, flesh foods) and carbohydrates (potatoes, Lima beans, mature corn, winter squash, artichokes, chestnuts, yams, pumpkins, grains, carrots, beets, coconuts) should not be eaten in one meal, and there should be only one kind of protein in one meal. The protein based foods will excite acids in the stomach while the starch or carbo-foods will start the alkalis flowing, and any chemistry student can tell you that the two will instantly neutralize each other, forming a watery solution, digesting neither. The food then rots inside while we are happy we have a full stomach.

This rotting food is the cause for all kinds of problems, the main ones being digestive stress, including gas, heartburn, cramps, bloating, constipation, foul stools, bleeding piles, colitis, and so forth. Medicines will only give temporary relief and till the system clears out the garbage accumulated inside, nothing will be cured. The blood stream will absorb the toxins produced by putrefaction, pass it on and the result is allergies, hives, headaches and nausea.

3. Desserts at the end of the meal are a BAD idea. They cannot be digested after all the carbohydrate and protein intake, lie on top of the bulk of your food and do not get digested, creating fermented alcohols, vinegars and acetic acids.

4. Melons should never be eaten with any other fruits or foods. They cannot be digested with anything else.

5. Good combinations include proteins with low starch or green veggies, for example, meats and leafy vegetables or low starch veggies. Green leafy vegetables can also be digested with starchy vegetables (rice and spinach).

6. As far as fruits go, never mix acid fruits (orange, grapefruit, pomegranate, strawberry, pineapple, tangerine, lemon, lime, and kiwi) with sweet fruits (banana, dates, raisins, papaya, fresh fig, grapes, persimmon and other dried fruits). They cannot digest together.

7. Fruits should preferably be a separate meal, but tomatoes can be combined with low starch vegetables and oily proteins like nuts.

8. Milk cannot and should not be eaten with meat, but is a good combination with fruits, except citrus fruits). In fact, traditional meals containing toast, eggs, bacon and milk are one of the most toxic food combinations that can be eaten. The stereotype of steaks mashed potato is a complete no-no and can cause more damage than anything else.

9. For drinks, wine (red or white), should never be drunk with ale or beer, but a shot of whiskey or gin is not so bad.

Some basic cooking methods also harm the food. For instance, the science of food and health, Ayurveda says that honey should never be cooked. In fact the ancients go so far as to say 'uncooked honey is nectar, cooked honey is poison". Cold milk (unless straight from the udder), may also cause problems in the stomach, so milk should, almost always be taken warm, it speeds up digestion. We can safely assume each of the ancient sciences tally well wit modern scientific research; the old men know exactly what they were talking about!!!

Ayurveda also says that chilled water is very bad while taking sips of lukewarm water during meals aids digestion. After a meal, it is a great idea to finish off with yogurt or buttermilk with a dash or ginger and a pinch of cumin powder. To keep it light, one could use two large tablespoons of yogurt and these additives in one cup of water instead of full yogurt.

And finally, the mantra for a long and healthy digestive system: NEVER eat to your full capacity, leave alone overeat. ALWAYS leave the table only two-thirds full, that way you will not overburden your system, nor put on weight. Adhere, and be saved!!!

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