Its hard for children to avoid junk food altogether unless they live in remote outbacks. Even as mothers struggle to serve healthy nutritious meals, there are some innocent-looking snacks which can be dangerous to their health and well-being if consumed in excess.
These are the easiest snacks to serve. Available in a wide variety and enticingly advertised, they are regularly stocked in most middle class homes. Consumed in excess, they can be dangerous because they contain empty calories from the refined wheat flour (maida) thats used to make them, and seldom contain the nutrients and fibre that is available in whole wheat. They also tend to contain high levels of sugar and salt, and most brands use unhealthy hydrogenated fats (transfats). Eating one or two biscuits occasionally is a different thing, but when children down whole packets of cream biscuits, it could lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and metabolism problems.
Carbonated drinks are at the top of the list of dangerous snacks. While its common knowledge that they contain unhealthy amounts of sugar, they also contain phospohoric acid and fructose corn syrup. All these ingredients can lead to liver damage, diabetes, and calcium depletion in bones (and therefore osteoporosis). Other substances such as caffeine and aspartame (in sugar-free versions) can cause jitters, brain damage and cancer.
Opting for sugar-free snacks is the latest fad. But all things sugar-free dont guarantee freedom from bad effects. Non-natural sugar-free (especially acidic) products can damage the teeth. Aspartame, a commonly used sweetener, can adversely affect the brain, and lead to nausea and seizures. It is commonly found in sugar-free bubble gum, colas and sugar-free biscuits.
Fried potato products
Large calories intake apart, the fat and sodium content of potato chips and French fries are monumental. Eating chips regularly can send a childs sodium levels soaring leading to hypertension, obesity, diabetes and peripheral artery diseases later in life.
The process of frying, especially when oils are reused, generates carcinogenic substances, which can cause cancer. Packaged chips also contain a variety of unhealthy chemicals in the form of flavouring substances and preservatives. If children insist on french fries, make them at home.