How can the family differentiate between Fast Foods, which are defined as foods that are prepared for eating in a few minutes, and Junk Foods that do not contain vitamins, minerals, or proteins? Rather, it contains calories from carbohydrates (carbs) only, for example, soft drinks and sweets. Or contain calories from carbohydrates and fats, such as potato chips. These foods or drinks (empty foods) provide the body with calories, and their excessive intake leads to weight gain and obesity (the main gateway to many serious chronic diseases).
In an exclusive statement to Al-Madina newspaper, Therapeutic Nutrition Consultant, Dr. Khalid bin Ali Al-Madani, Vice President of the Saudi Society for Environmental Sciences, member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Society for Food and Nutrition, confirms that with the change of lifestyle as a result of rapid development and the rise in the standard of living, fast food meals have spread in the markets, which They are defined as foods that are ready to eat in a few minutes. This definition does not only include hamburgers, fried chicken, pizza, French fries, and sausage, but also shawarma, grilled chicken, foul and falafel sandwiches, samosas and others. It may be possible to get fast foods that are low in fat.
Why do children and teens prefer fast food?
Dr. Al-Madani attributes the commercial success of fast restaurants to the ease and speed of presenting them in packages that are usually used for one time and wrapped in a modern way, as children and adolescents prefer home foods for the freedom to choose for themselves the quality of foods, and the increase in the percentage of fat that gives them the distinctive taste, in addition to the availability of their favorite soft drinks. and play areas for children.
With the spread of these restaurants, specialists in human health, especially in terms of nutrition, paid attention to the nutritional value in terms of quantity and quality, and the extent to which the individual is provided with his nutritional needs. The problem of fast food depends on the number of times it is eaten per day, week, or month, and whether the main meals or just between meals. These meals are characterized by the following:
1- Limited, meaning lack of diversification.
2- Usually high in fats in general and saturated fats in particular, which leads to high cholesterol in the blood.
3- They contain a high percentage of simple sugars available in soft drinks.
4- They contain a high percentage of sodium, which increases the burden on the kidneys and may lead to high blood pressure.
5- They often contain a high percentage of calories, which leads to an increase in weight.
6- Low in calcium, vitamin B group, vitamin A (A), and vitamin C (C).
7- Lack of fiber, which performs a mechanical function, as its roughness provokes peristalsis of the intestine, which leads to easy passage and softening of the fecal mass from the intestine.
Food pyramid Advice for the family to compete with Junk / Fast Foods
Dr. Al-Madani advises the family to compete with fast food restaurants to serve the same meals, but with improving the nutritional value in quality and quantity, by adding fresh salads and vegetables. In addition to milk and low-fat sauces, replacing soft drinks with fruits and juices, replacing animal oils with vegetable oils, and preparing lists of nutrients for fast food. Offer low-calorie foods as part of a meal or as a complete meal.
The idea of the food pyramid can be easily applied to fast foods, for example, a small hamburger that contains cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and onions, in addition to juice, represents the five food group in the food pyramid. As well as pizza made with wheat, tomato sauce, cheese, other vegetables, pieces of ground meat and fruit juice. As for the fried chicken meal with potatoes, salad and a glass of milk, it represents at least four of the five food groups in the food pyramid.
It can be helped that fast foods contain the five food groups in the food pyramid by following these steps:
1 Reduce the portion of meat or cheese.
2 Remove the skin from the cooked meat.
3- Eat vegetables, salads and fruits.
4- Use lemon in place of salad dressings or butter.
5- Choose drinks that are low in sugar.
6- Eat fat-free or low-fat milk
7- Eat natural juices instead of soft drinks