Sometimes, when you have an urgent need to dispel your hunger, you may be lazy or unable to get a proper meal, prompting you to seek for the quickest possible means to get satiated. During these periods, most person will rely on junk foods, which are easily made high calorie foods, with abundance of fat, salt and sugar, and of an overall low dietary value due to poor nutrient optimization especially during the processing. However, the nutritional impact of these junk foods are variable, depending on the content of the mixture and the method of preparation.

Why do people eat junks

Junks have become a common meal in an average adult’s life, constituting more than 30% of his weekly source of energy. These meals are usually composed of fats, salt and sugar, which the body can easily get an excess of, and they are more often served at fast food restaurants, conveniently packaged and tasty, making the consumer coming back for more. Hence, most people take junks due to availability, ease and short time of preparation, savory and luxury.

Common junk foods

There are several forms of junk foods, from liquid sugary carbonated drinks to snacks, semi-solid flour-made baked foods like white bread, and fried and grilled foods like fried meats and chips. Other commonly consumed junk foods are burgers, pizzas, ice creams, hot dogs, chocolate and candy bars, doughnuts, processed meat etc.

Health impacts of junks

These junks are usually deficient in essential nutrients, fibers, proteins and mineral, and will offer little or no dietary importance. And due to their high sugar and fats content, they have been linked to be a predisposing factor to certain diseases like:

  • Obesity and overweight: This is a very common and alarming aftermath of over consumption of junks. Junks are high calorie diets filled with fats and sugar, and when the body gets an excess of these substances, it tends to convert them to body fats, causing massive weight gain and increased Body Mass Index (BMI). Obesity itself can be disabling, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis, immobility and serious aesthetic concerns.
  • Diabetes Mellitus (type 2): Due to the high sugar content of junk foods, intolerable increase in blood glucose levels becomes a common result of junk consumption. Coupled with the weight gain, junk eater tilt towards a tendency to develop type 2 diabetes Mellitus.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Due to the excess fats in the diets and body, and subsequent deposition within the walls of blood vessels and around the heart, there will be narrowing of the lumen of these vessels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Cancers: Some junk foods like hot dogs have been linked with cancers of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Fatty Liver: The surplus of fats in the body leads to its deposition on the liver, causing the liver to become fatty from no other cause, and gradually impairing its functioning.

Minimizing junk consumption

Over consumption of junk foods have been a major health concern, especially in the developed nations. Discouraging this practice will rely heavily on educating people on the need for proper feeding habits, while enlightening them on alternative methods of preparing and preserving food. Teaching people how to manage their incomes, to channel enough funds to healthy eating is also necessary.


Excessive consumption of junks, and other unhealthy feeding practices are imperious to the health of the consumers, and directly or indirectly causes an increase in their mortality rate. This avoidable habits can be shunned and discouraged, if the junk eaters are provided with the proper information on healthy feeding routines.

Onyeka, N. Victor
Clinical Medical Student,
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria.