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|Is fast food always junk food?|
You’ve your homework, you feel hungry, got just half an hour before you go out to meet your friends. There's no time to cook a meal; what you need is some fast food. Most people think that fast food is junk food. What is junk food? Food that contains too much of the wrong things and too little of the right ones. So there is too much sugar, salt and fat in it. Typical junk foods are: hamburgers, fried chicken, chips, cakes, sweets, ice creams, biscuits and crisps.
But fast food can also be healthy. What
about a banana? An apple? A pear? A
piece of cheese? Some yoghurt? A glass
of milk? You can kill your hunger with a
bag of chips, but it's much healthier to
have some fruit or a glass of milk. And
these things won't make you fat.
So why do so many young people choose junk food? One reason is that they see so many advertisements for junk foods on television. Research shows that the more TV children watch, the more they ask for the advertised junk foods. As a result, they eat far too much sugar and fat and not enough fruit and vegetables. Another reason is that they do not know much about food. They do not know what they are putting into their bodies, and what it is doing to them. If they did, they would not eat so much junk food. Don't forget that you are what you eat!
Are there more and more young
vegetarians? Is it a growing trend
among today's teenagers? Marian
Cooper from Purdue University, Indiana,
says it may just be: "Fifteen per cent
of the teenagers we asked said they
were vegetarians. Others reported they
would be vegetarians if they could. This
doesn't mean that there will only be
vegetarians in a few years. It seems,
however, that the idea is attractive for
quite a lot of teenagers."
Marian Cooper says that there are three types of vegetarians:
There are those who do not eat any red meat, who will eat fish or chicken or turkey. Then there are those who do not eat any meat, but eat cheese and eggs and drink milk. And finally, there are those who do not eat any meat or milk products.
Here are some comments from some of the teenagers who Marian Cooper interviewed: 15-year-old Lynn Nordstrom of Miami, Florida, said she became a vegetarian because she didn't like the idea of eating animals. She and other veggies started a club called "Don't Kill Animals for Food" (DOKAFF). Her friend Mayra Morales said that she gave up meat when she read about chickens kept in batteries and cattle that are kept in extremely small spaces all the time. Gina Kovarsky of Albany, New York, said that her parents turned vegetarian and that they didn't eat any meat at home any more. At first, she had some meat with her school dinners, but when the school cafeteria began to offer vegetarian meals, she gave up eating meat altogether.
Teenagers who become vegetarians have to be very careful, however, because their growing bodies need the right kind of food. "Becoming a vegetarian is a big change in your diet," says Marian Cooper. "You should talk to your doctor before you take such a step."
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