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2020.10.25(Sun)

[JSR] The Hidden Truths of Junk Food on High School Students

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[LA중앙일보] 기사입력 2019/12/12 16:11

A typical after school meal for many high schoolers. With easy access to fast food, these types of snacks have become the norm.

A typical after school meal for many high schoolers. With easy access to fast food, these types of snacks have become the norm.

Sabrina Mo, Grade 9<br>North Hollywood Highly Gifted Magnet High School

Sabrina Mo, Grade 9
North Hollywood Highly Gifted Magnet High School

When the dismissal bell rings, a hoard of students rush out of school, some running to their parents’ cars to get picked up, others walking with their friends to the bus station, but most excitedly making their way to restaurants and food stores. North Hollywood High School is surrounded by a large number of eateries, including Taco Bell, Yum Yums Donuts, a hamburger store, a Thai store, a liquor store, and many more. Although students may feel glad that our school has so many places around to get food, the truth is that this isn’t as good as it seems to be. When students buy donuts, coffee, boba, french fries, burritos, tacos, etc. from these stores, the excess consumption of foods can be detrimental to our bodies.

Just a few of the harmful consequences that junk food has include effects to the brain, bones, heart, lungs, and skin. Firstly, fast foods are filled with sodium, and studies have shown that an excess consumption of this can lead to more frequent and intense headaches. Additionally, processed and junk foods can increase one’s chances of depression. Furthermore, these foods are filled with trans fats, which have massive roles in the elevation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which can cause problems such as heart attacks if they build up in your arteries. In fact, elevated blood pressure from the sodium in these foods and elevated cholesterol are two of the top contributing factors to heart disease and stroke. Finally, many fast foods are filled with empty carbohydrates, which are sugars present in foods like pasta and bread, and can cause frequent insulin spikes. These spikes can alter one’s body’s natural insulin response and even lead to insulin resistance, which all contribute to life-threatening diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.

Many people are negligent of their eating habits because they think that the risk of getting diseases like diabetes is very low. However, excessive consumption of carbohydrates leads to weight gain, since those extra sugars are stored for later use. Therefore, people who consume fast food often and don’t exercise will usually get overweight, which contributes to getting diseases like diabetes.

Many may say that they are aware of all of these risks. Yet, they continue to excessively consume these foods. One of the biggest reasons why, is that these fast food chains are so prominent everywhere we go, and many times, those restaurants are the closest and most convenient ones to eat at.

Not only is this true for high schools, such as mine, but this also applies to universities. For example, UCLA offers many food courts, and some of the restaurants include Blaze Pizza, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., Yoshinoya, Subway, Panda Express, VeggieGrill, etc. Although there are a couple of stores that offer healthier, more natural foods, a majority of these restaurants are comprised of processed foods that are full of sodium, trans fats, and carbs.

Saying that I think we should get rid of all of the fast food stores in the vicinity of my school is a lie, because I love the food that I eat after school. But, I now realize the daunting effects of these meals and hope to develop enough control to wane off these snacks for at least a while. And hopefully, others will too once they learn of all the possibly life-threatening consequences of the excessive consumption of unhealthy foods.

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