Saturday April 20, 2019

Stuff of death: Why fast foods should be avoided?

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By Nithin Sridhar

People across the world are rapidly moving away from the consumption of traditional food items and are moving towards fast food.

Fast foods are often processed foods that can be served very quickly. These fast foods are an integral part of the “Western diets” which are high on fats and oils.

A 2014 global study revealed that there is a global dietary transition owing to rising incomes and urbanization. People are abandoning consumption of their traditional foods and are adopting diets that are high in refined sugars, refined fats, oil and meats.

The study concludes that if these dietary trends are not countered and rectified, it could prove fatal to both environment and human health.

By 2050, the changing dietary patterns could become the main cause behind an estimated 80% increase in global emission of agricultural greenhouse gases.

On the health front, the dietary changes could lead to increased exposure to type II diabetes and coronary heart disease.

 

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The situation in India is no better. According to this 2012 paper, the fast food industry is growing by 40% a year in India. It quotes a 2005 survey conducted by National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), that revealed that Delhi people spent an average of Rs 371 on processed foods and beverages per month. But they spent only Rs 290 on vegetables and a third of it on fruits. The total value of the junk foods consumed in 2003 was Rs 41,000 crores.

These facts should raise an alarm among people towards the growing dietary transitions that will prove harmful if not mitigated.

Fast foods are harmful to human health because they lack nutritional value. They lack in essential proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some foods have very high-calorie content but absolutely no essential nutrients.

Consumption of these unhealthy foods result in exposure to various diseases and medical conditions.

A 2013 study in UK found that those who ate fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, white bread and butter and cream doubled their risk of premature death or ill health in old age.

 

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A recent study was carried on the diet intake of 926 men with non-metastatic prostate cancer. They completed diet questionnaires for a median of 5.1 years after diagnosis and they were further monitored for a median of another 9.9 years. It was found that people who followed western dietary pattern had significantly higher risk of dying from prostate as well as higher risk of dying from other causes. The people who consumed fruits, vegetables etc. in their diet, exhibited significantly lower risk of dying through prostate cancer or other causes.

Apart from this, high sugar intake may cause dental cavities and type II diabetes. The Kidneys may be affected due to excess salts. Excess fats and oils may lead to gastritis. High Cholesterol, Obesity, and increased blood pressure are other common conditions induced by excess fast food consumption.

Therefore, there is an immediate need to monitor our dietary patterns and reduce the consumption of fast and junk foods and replace it with healthier alternatives: home-made foods, fruits, and vegetables.

mcD

Next Story

Death Rates from Prostate Cancer have Declined in Dozens of Countries: Study

Only four of the countries surveyed, including Bulgaria, saw an increased incidence of prostate cancer, it said

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FILE - Doctors treat a patient with prostate cancer at an operating room in Ramat Aviv Medical Center's Urology department in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 5, 2016. VOA

Death rates from prostate cancer — the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men — have stabilized or declined in dozens of countries since the turn of the century, the American Cancer Society reported Tuesday.

In 33 of 44 countries surveyed, the incidence of prostate cancer had stabilized in the last five years for which data was available — and in seven countries, it was down, the report found.

Only four of the countries surveyed, including Bulgaria, saw an increased incidence of prostate cancer, it said.

“In the most recent five years of data examined, prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are decreasing or stabilizing in most parts of the world,” the study’s author MaryBeth Freeman said.

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Only four of the countries surveyed, including Bulgaria, saw an increased incidence of prostate cancer, it said. Pixabay

Prostate cancer deaths were down in 14 countries surveyed and stable in 54 others. Only three countries experienced a rise in prostate cancer deaths, according to the study findings, which were presented Tuesday at a conference in Atlanta.

The United States had the biggest drop in prostate cancers, which Freeman attributed to a decline in the use of a controversial diagnostic test that identified too many non-dangerous tumors.

The incidence of prostate cancers rose in the U.S. during the 1980s and early 1990s when the PSA, or Prostate-Specific Antigen, blood test became widely available.

The test is imprecise, however, and yields too many false positives. It identifies higher than normal levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, which could be a sign of cancer but is more often a symptom of other diseases.

prostate cancer
“In the most recent five years of data examined, prostate cancer incidence and mortality rates are decreasing or stabilizing in most parts of the world,” the study’s author MaryBeth Freeman said. Pixabay

Moreover, some prostate cancers are not aggressive and do not grow enough to pose a risk.

ALSO READ: Does IVF Raise Risk of Cancer in Children? Find it out Here

A false positive, on the other hand, can have harmful consequences for the patient: anxiety, complications linked to biopsies, or anti-cancer treatments.

In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an expert panel that reviews the effectiveness of preventive clinical services, advised against use of the PSA test.

In 2018, it revised the recommendation to say that taking the test should be an “individual” decision for men 55 to 69. At 70 and after, it advised against its use. (VOA)