Fast food contributes to obesity: Not loving it?

A healthy diet coupled with regular exercise is important to maintain good health and lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disorders brought on by lifestyle.

Arun: It’s Saturday evening at last! I am starving, let’s go out and have dinner.

Sakshi: Where do you want to go, Zam Zam, KFC, Dominos or Marry Brown???

Arun: Let’s head out to Marry Brown, I want fried chicken today ☺

Sakshi: OK, let’s go, and we could catch a movie after that!

Arun: I am game ☺

Sounds familiar? I am sure most of you have this conversation every week or at least once you have planned to dine out just for the sake of it or been too tired to go home and cook a meal. So what if you feel like tickling your taste buds with fried calorie-rich food? It’s Saturday night out with your family and time to let your hair down after a hectic week. What else to do but give in when such a lip smacking menu beckons?

“It’s busy all week in here, weekends are crazy. People have to wait in queue for a table. We have families, youngsters and office goers who come in a group. Most of them spend an average of a two to three hundred on a minimum,” says a waiter at a leading restaurant in Trivandrum.

Restaurants that cater to multifarious cuisines and new spins on classic dishes have gained popularity like never before. Flashy signs and new-fangled, mouthwatering dishes displayed on huge billboards are overtly tempting. The aroma and flavours floating in from road-side joints is too much to resist. And before you know it, going out to eat and doing take-out becomes a habit.

Eating out and getting together with family and friends is fun, more so when life and work becomes too monotonous or when the lazy bug strikes. But what if it becomes a fad and fashion, something to show off or a peer pressure? Do we ever stop to think at what cost all this comes?

Recent studies indicate rising instances of diabetes, hypertension and increased cholesterol levels among Keralites that have been linked to unhealthy, modern food habits and a sedentary lifestyle. This comes as no surprise as the city increasingly succumbs to a fast food culture. The mall culture has also significantly influenced the way people shop and eat.

“Sunday is the only day I can take rest. My family and I prefer to eat out after shopping. The children love it,” beamed Priya, a home-maker living in PTP Nagar.

“My son says that most of his classmates regularly eat at the bakery. So I have to take him too when he refuses to have home-cooked food,” said Lakshmi, an employee working at a private firm in the city.

Experts warn that impulsive eating and unrestrained food habits are unhealthy and lead to obesity. It has been shown that an increased consumption of junk foods, bakery items made from refined flour and sugary drinks can lead to overweight and Type-II diabetes in children. Trivandrum was in the news recently for all the wrong reasons when a young man died after consuming shawarma, an Arabian delicacy, bought from a popular outlet in the city. Even after such shocking incidents, big hotels and restaurants continue to have the item on their menu and people frequent joints that dish out junk food that are high in fat content.

So much for the fast food culture. Equally on the rise is getting into crash diet programmes and consuming weight reduction pills that are aplenty in the market. Although they may bring temporary results, fad diets may do more harm than good in the long run according to nutritionists and may cause serious side effects. Lured by scams and empty promises, consumers give in to drastic measures because they are easy to fall for and easier than exercising regularly. Blame it on cramped lifestyle in flats, an overdose of TV time and the advent of IT jobs that demand long periods of inactivity.

A healthy diet coupled with regular exercise is important to maintain good health and lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disorders brought on by lifestyle. A balanced diet should include portions of fruits and vegetables and eight to ten glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.

It is good to indulge once in a while, but not always. So next time you feel like snacking, reach out for some fruits or nuts. Go for a walk in your neighbourhood and catch up with friends instead of watching TV. Take your kids to the library and get them to read when they want to watch cartoon. Switch off the mobile and meditate for a little while. Always find some ‘me time’ to be with yourself. Lower your stress levels and stay alert and energized throughout the day.

Your body will thank you!

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