Junk Food in our daily life

Introduction

In our article, we will dive in the world of Junk Food with you. You will learn stuff about the definition of Junk Food and its impact on our body and environment. In a self-made survey, we will refer to reality. We hope that, this article will learn you something new and that you can get inspired by it.

Delhi’s partner team contribution: “Junk food and the Consumer Blame Game

Definition

Foods that have a low nutritional value and are therefore considered unhealthy are called Junk Food.

Junk Food is characterized by empty calories. These empty calories do not differ from normal calories by their energy content, but this term expresses that Junk Food contains few vitamins, minerals, trace elements (Spurenelemente), fiber (Ballaststoffe) and amino acids. In addition, Junk Food contains a high content of sugar, salt, fat and often chemical additives (e.g. Hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, sodium carbonate, aluminium sulphate).

Junk Food | (c) thehealthcaresector.com
Junk Food | (c) Best Health Magazine Canada

 

What is it that we eat and drink?

To get started with the topic food and climate, we all (i.e. all participants from Switzerland, Belgium, India) had to document, what we ate and drank using a “food app” (How to use the food app, Sway presentation). We had to upload some pictures of our food, too. So our project-team made a gallery with all Junk Food, which were eaten by the students:

 

Link to main page:  “Food and Climate – a crosscultural collaboration project”.

 

Research

Now we want to share some facts about Junk Food, which we found out while doing our research:

Impact of Junk Food on our body

It has been found out that very fatty foods (f.e. burgers) disturb the formation of new nerve cells in the brain.
Foods with high sugar and fat content disturb the insulin level of the brain and replace the important Omega 3 fats, which are important for the formation and maintenance (Erhaltung) of cells. This results in a poorer memory, an increased risk of cancer and you age faster.

Of course, you probably think that döner kebab or burger also contains salad or vegetables, but this is not sufficient to cover the daily needs of our body for vitamins and minerals so that there is always a shortage of these substances. Furthermore, junk food is too rich in energy and often covers a large part of a person’s energy requirements, which vary from person to person.

You don’t usually pay attention to how much energy you consume or how much you find in food. However, this is wrong and should be changed urgently. While sportsmen pay attention very exactly to the nutrition, the normal citizen hardly makes that anymore. If the amount of energy required is exceeded day by day, you will gain weight. Of course, a little fat on the stomach is not bad, however, the weight gain can go so far that obesity of the body develops, which is connected with risks. The obesity (Fettleibigkeit) results from the sugar, which is taken by the Fastfood to itself and due to the large mass cannot be burned completely. It is therefore stored in the cells of the body and is converted into fat so that a layer of fat is formed under the skin and around our organs.

Eating Junk Food | (c) unsplash.com, NeONBRAND
Eating Junk Food | (c) unsplash.com, NeONBRAND

 

Impact of Junk Food on the environment

Junk food is not only harmful to our body, but also to the environment. The huge quantities of packaging often land in our oceans or on our streets, where animals can eat them. Global plastic production has increased by more than twenty times over the last 50 years. Every year 1,000,000 seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals (Meeressäuger) die from the consumption of our discarded plastics, according to an environmental organization.

The high meat consumption is also a big problem for the environment, with the exception of organic meat. To produce meat, huge amounts of animal feed are needed. Especially in developing countries forests are cut down to grow animal feed. Often areas where food for the hungry population should have been grown, are also used for animal feed production. Only organic meat is produced without these feeds and in harmony with our nature. Every square meter less of tropical forest increases the greenhouse effect.

In addition, the finished products often have a long transport route behind them, which is also very harmful to the environment, because of CO2 emissions.

 

Planet Earth | (c) unsplash.com, Kyle Glenn
Planet Earth | (c) unsplash.com, Kyle Glenn

 

Why is it gaining popularity these days?

Many people want their food to be fast, uncomplicated and, if possible, without getting their fingers dirty. But why is it gaining popularity?

First of all, it is very practical. For example: If you are hungry you just have to go to a Junk Food restaurant like McDonald’s, and you get your food very fast. Other examples, which show how easy it is to consume Junk Food are convenience meals. When you buy a ready-made Pizza you just have to put it in the backing oven and ten minutes later it is ready to eat. This is a reason, which is quite technical.

But there is another reason for the popularity of Junk Food which exists because of the impact of Junk Food on our body. When you bite into ready-made food such as pizza, burgers or pastries, a chain reaction sets in in the body. The main ingredients of Junk Food cause a big effect on our body. Salt activates the reward center in the brain, sugar causes the blood sugar level to rise and fall again. That works up an appetite. Fat provides a good satiable feeling in the mouth. Our brain is happy and the body is electrified. This is also the feeling our brain connects with Junk Food. It is a feeling, which we would like to experience again. So we keep on eating Junk Food. Fairly long term it is quite unhealthy for our bodies. In handling with Junk Food, we should regard to not get addicted, because Junk Food is a dependence causing substance. If we eat Junk Food rarely and inappropriate amount there is no problem with it, and you can enjoy every bite. Because even though it is unhealthy Junk Food is just so yummy.

 

Happy about Junk Food | (c) unsplash.com, angelos michalopoulos
Happy about Junk Food | (c) unsplash.com, angelos michalopoulos

Survey

To get to know how Junk Food is included in our daily life, we made a survey. 126 People around the world answered our questions within a period of one month. Most of the interviewed people are in the age of 16 to 25 years. We made some charts to illustrate the results:

 

Chart 1
48% of the participants eat junk food once or twice a week, which is not very surprising these days. 35% eat junk food once or twice a month, followed by 10% who eat fast food every day and a small percentage of 4% who almost never eat junk food. One person said that they have never eaten junk food, which seems too incredible to be true.

Chart 2
The most popular junk / fast food chains are McDonalds, Burger King and KFC. Followed by Chickeria with 16%, which however comes from Switzerland and are only represented there. This is probably due to the fact that more swiss people filled out the survey. The least represented are Subway, Quick, Dominos and Pizza Hut.

Chart 3
The answers to this question were quite balanced, because 54% thought that we should continue to consume junk food, while 46% are in favour of stopping eating junk food.

Chart 4
Half of all participants eat junk food because it is yummy. 14% eat junk food because it makes them happy. 10% eat junk food because it’s not expensive and another 10% eat it because it’s easy accessible or because they don’t have enough time to prepare their own food. Only 4% eat junk food because of group-pressure.

If you’re interested in the full analysis of our survey, you find the excel-file here: Analysis Survey Junk Food (.xlsx / 2020)

Reflection

It was one of our first time creating a survey. We thought that we can just write down some questions and share our survey. But Miss Suter pointed out that a survey has to be uncommitted, interesting and understandable. So we had to revise the survey many times. But it was definitely worth it because the end result was much better than our very first draft.

Another big part of our project was doing some research. It was very interesting to learn more about Junk Food. It is much more than just unhealthy food. Sometimes it was quite difficult to find a trustful information source. But after some research time, we found some good sources.

Finally, we could work with WordPress. It made a lot of fun to create our article with web publishing. We could use our creativity and create a nice-looking web article. We would definitely recommend others to just try it out.

In conclusion, doing our project was a very interesting experience. We learned much new stuff and worked independently.

Project-Team

Lisa Hediger, M17a, Wirtschaftschule KV Wetzikon
Noémie Käser, M17a,  Wirtschaftschule KV Wetzikon

Delhi’s partner team contribution: “Junk food and the Consumer Blame Game

Sources / Files

We have written all the texts by ourselves, using additional information from the internet. Below you can find the used sources. As we created our own survey, we also made an analysis. The complete data is visible in the attached excel file. We didn’t take the photos ourselves, however, we made the copyright test.

Survey Junk Food (kobotoolbox.org / L.Hediger & N.Käser / 2019)
Analysis Survey Junk Food (.xlsx / L.Hediger & N.Käser / 2020)
Junk Food und Fertiggerichte (br.de / author unknown / 2018)
Junk Food Reality check (sfshurgentcare.com / author unknown / 2019)
What does Junk Food to Your Body ( programs.online.american.edu / author unknown / created date not known)
Impact on environment ( ecofriend.com / author unknown / created date not known)
Environmental impact of unhealthy foods (exclusive.multibriefs.com / Bambi Majumdar / 2019)
Why are junk food and fast food so popular? (thehindu.com / Namita Jain / 2020)
Definition Junk Food (wikipedia.org / author unknown / 2019)
All the pictures are from unsplash (unsplash.com / license / created date not known)

Further information concerning Junk Food
What is Junk Food? Why is it bad for you? (food.ndtv.com / Sarika Rana / 2017)
Junk Food facts (factretriever.com / Karin Lehnardt / 2019)
Consequences of eating Junk Food ( livestrong.com / Nicole Langton / created date unknown)
How to eat healthy (self.com / Marisa Cohen / 2018)

On-topic posts on dontwastemy.energy
The Story of Chips
How much energy do I consume per day and how can I calculate it?

☷ See the project teams here »
☵ Some words about the contributions »

14 thoughts on “Junk Food in our daily life

  1. Dear Lisa and Noemi

    I really enjoyed readig the post, it was informative and hand some intersting facts that I didn’t know about. After reading this I have another view of fast food. I liked the pictures you put in of what you ate.

    What I would like to know is, how you guys think about fast food? I couldn’t see your opinion about fast food in the text.

    Overall it was a good post. It contains facts that not everyone know about. The post is well structured and it is easy to read.

    1. Dear Sangeetha

      Thank you very much for taking your time to give us a Feedback. We appreciate that.

      It makes us happy to know, that you learned something new about Junk Food because this is also our goal!

      We both like eating Junk Food. Our favorite is definitive chocolate. But we are aware that too much Junk Food isn’t good for our body and environment. Thats the reason why we try to minimise our Junk Food consumption. But we don’t avoid it.

      I hope we could answer your question.

      Kind regards,
      Noémie and Lisa

  2. Thank you very much for uploading this interesting and diversified post! I found it great that you uploaded a lot of pictures as well as the meaningful diagrams.
    It was extremely astonishing and frightening at the same time to read that foods with high sugar and fat can have a negative influence on our memory. Additionally I wrongly thought that the vitamins in a Döner Kebab are enough for the daily needs of the human body. Therefore, it is very helpful for me that you have taught me otherwise.

    I also liked that you wrote about the bad impact the packaging has on our environment. I found it dramatic to read that the Global plastic production has increased by more than twenty times over the last 50 years.
    However, since this increase is not only because of the junk food industry, it would be interesting to know how much plastic only the junk food industry produces. Were you able to find this data as well?

    Overall a really great, informative and very detailed post! Thank you very much, I will definitely look at fast food from a different perspective now.

    1. Dear Sandro

      Thank you very much for taking your time to give us a Feedback. We appreciate that.

      It makes us happy to know, that you learned something new about Junk Food because this is also our goal!

      I tried to find this data, which you asked for. Sadly I couldn’t find the data about how much plastic the Junk Food Industry needs. But it is said that every swiss Person needs one bathtub full of plastic a year.

      I’m sorry that I can’t give you the answer you asked for.

      If you got other questions, don’t hesitate to ask us.

      Kind regards,
      Noémie and Lisa

  3. You project is great, it contains a lot of very useful information. I read it with pleasure and I have definitely been inspired. It’s filled with nearly every form of information you could provide us. You’ve got interesting surveys with some nice charts! 🙂 You have also selected good pictures that make your article much more exciting to read. What might have been cool is a video, but sometimes less is more. Keep up the good work.

    1. Dear Zeynep

      Thank you very much for taking your time to give us a Feedback.

      We are very glad to hear, that you liked our post. A video would definitely be very entertaining and interesting. We will think about this for our next Project.

      Kind regards,
      Lisa & Noémie

  4. While scrolling through this website I noticed this post. I didn’t know that junk food had such an impact on our environment. The article is well structured and very informative. In many points I can share your opinions and I decide to consume less junk food.

    1. Dear Alex

      Thank you so much for commenting on our post. We are very glad that you agree with the statements in our article and also want to consume less Junk Food.

      Kind regards,
      Lisa & Noémie

  5. I saw this article and i was fascinated on first sight. It is written very understandable and is also very well structured. I found it interesting to learn more about junk food and i agree with the author of this article in many ways.

    1. Dear Marco

      Thank you for your positive feedback. It’s so nice to hear that you were fascinated by our post.

      Kind regards,
      Lisa & Noémie

  6. Hello everybody

    Thank you very much for your post and for raising this issue. I have never thought about how my consumption of junk food affects the environment. In this context, I thought it was great that you pointed out the deaths of the animals. After this fact I seriously thought about how and if there are possibilities to avoid junk food or reduce my consumption.

    In the course of reading, a controversial question about meat consumption came to my mind. It is often said that the meat in junk food such as in McDonalds burgers is “waste meat”. Did you find out anything in your research in this regard?

    All in all you have listed some very exciting facts that made me think.
    Thank you very much for the clarification in this area!

    1. Dear Lars,
      Thank you very much for your constructive feedback. In fact, around 80% of their ingredients come from Swiss suppliers. In the following link, you will find the declaration of origin of the meat of McDonald’s and in the second one more information about the origin of all their ingredients.

      https://www.mcdonalds.ch/mcd/996/20200130_Herkunftsdeklaration.pdf
      https://www.mcdonalds.ch/de/engagement/produkte/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1eCTs_Wt5wIVBc93Ch2oIAptEAAYASAAEgLcEfD_BwE

      I hope we were able to answer your question fully.

      Kind regards,
      Lisa & Noémie

      1. Hi Lisa and Noémie

        First of all, I really like about this post that it is nice to look at. It has a catchy picture and the title is interesting. I think it is good that this post has seperate paragraphs and good chosen titles. I learned more about junk food in general and got to know how it affects me in my life.

        In my opinion the reflection could be more about the topic itself. I would have liked to know what you think about junk food after the project and what was interesting to find out.

        But all in all, I think the article is very interesting to read and has much information and exciting surveys.

        1. Dear Seraina

          Thank you so much for your constructive feedback. We are happy to hear that you could learn something new from our article.

          Even after uploading this post and gaining more knowledge and consciousness about Junk Food, we still haven’t stopped eating it. We both like eating Junk Food, especially chocolate. But we are aware that too much Junk Food isn’t good for our body and environment. That’s the reason why we try to minimize our Junk Food consumption.

          For us, it was particularly interesting to learn more about the impacts that Junk Food has on our body and environment, because before we didn’t really know much about that.

          I hope we were able to fully answer your question.

          Kind regards,
          Lisa & Noémie

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