Saturday, October 20, 2018

Junk Food Busted for junk lovers

Posted On : November 12,2013

With the fast food industry in India growing at a compound annual rate of 35-40 per cent, global and national players are fighting for a larger share of the pie.

According to Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) latest publication, ‘Junk Food Busted: Why and How’ the only one losing out is you!

Authored by Sunita Narain and Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director-General of CSE, the latest publication explains why junk foods are deadly, what is the ‘fat’ problem of the world, why India should worry and why the consumer needs to be careful in a fun, non-pedantic fashion. Besides, Narain and Bhushan also point out the loopholes in Indian policy and regulations.

Colorful and gorgeously illustrated, the book deconstructs sneaky and aggressive advertisement and marketing strategies aimed at children and teenagers with a subliminal message luring them into buying junk food.

Children are seriously starved of real-time information about junk foods and the worse is that they know very little about their diet and their implications for their health.

Worldwide, 2.8 million people die each year of excess weight and obesity. India is the diabetes capital of the world. Fat India is even more at risk because their Body Mass Index (BMI) is lower than Caucasian populations.

Besides, the book outlines the link between non-communicable diseases and diet, the link between salt and sugar and disease and warns of the looming crisis because of India’s serious salt problem.  It also references previous CSE studies on the presence of pesticides in soft drinks. They also point out that soft drinks and energy drinks also contain caffeine, a mildly addictive stimulant drug.

The CSE study on what transfats do to us is also referenced and the authors list global regulations, WHO recommendations as well as what the Indian government has done to set standards for transfats.

On the question of oil, how do you decide which is the healthiest oil for consumption? According to the authors, the problem is that the Indian oil industry remains poorly regulated and is allowed to mix oils. The book provides a guide to oils and offers valuable suggestions on healthy oils based on ingredients.

According to the authors, the way ahead is to make transfats standards strict enough to hurt, make schools and colleges off-limits for fraud foods, not let ads advise the young, slap a fat tax on junk food, spread the word and watch what you eat.