One in six young people eat fast food TWICE A DAY, according to the BBC Good Food Nation Survey.

The study of more than 5,000 people also found that half of them thought “a meal isn’t a meal without meat” and the typical adult now eats meat at least twice a day, with only six meat-free days a month.

The head of health information at World Cancer Research Fund, Sarah Toule, said “It’s frightening that people, especially younger generations, are eating so much junk food loaded with fat, sugar and salt, but offers little nutritional value.”

“Especially high in calories, junk food leads to unhealthy weight gain – which in turn increases the risk of 11 cancers later in life. It’s also worrying that people don’t know they’re eating a dangerous amount of red meat,” she added.

The rise of cheap, processed food

A separate study published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) analysing the food and drink habits of 150,000 households from 1974-2000 found that we now spend less than ever on food.

In the 1950s, we spent a third of our income on food. By 1974 this had dropped to 24% and now its just 11%.

Annie Gray, resident food historian on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet, explains that although some of this reduction in food costs is due to better logistics and modern agricultural methods, “There comes a point where food doesn’t get any cheaper without corners being cut.”

Processed food is damaging our health

When junk food is regularly consumed, the excess fat, carbohydrates, and processed sugar found it contains contributes to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain, and many other chronic health conditions.

People who consume processed foods are also less likely to eat healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Studies reveal that as early as the age of 30, arteries could begin clogging and lay the groundwork for future heart attacks

And it is not just physical health…

A study published in Public Health Nutrition journal revealed that consumers of fast food are 51% more likely to develop depression when compared to those who eat little or none and according to Dr Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression”.

A separate study rom Canterbury University in New Zealand has shown that eating more fresh foods consistent with a Mediterranean-style diet, and eating less processed foods, could reverse spiralling rates of conditions such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and depression.



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