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Dodge junk food, warn nutritionists

Most people know junk food is unhealthy – but they still eat it. Health-e News spoke to some residents of Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape to find out about their sugary habits.

Andiswa Dotyeni said simply that she eats cakes, burgers, and sugary snacks because she likes it. “I eat knowing that it causes skin problems and I put on weight, but I crave it.”

Tozi Lugongolo said he ate junk food “just for fun”.

“I eat chips, chocolate, sweets maybe twice a day. I have gained a lot of weight and my face is oily and pimply. I want to quit but it’s one of my favourites,” he said.

Learner Zanele Manxasana said that during a break she buys unhealthy food – cakes, chips and sweets. She said she knows it causes obesity but she eats it because it’s convenient.

Choices

Nutritionists tell us it’s important to make healthy food choices and be physically active.

Bulelwa Majova, a nutritionist at Holy Cross Hospital, said junk food may lead to a higher risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases among other chronic health problems.

She said people could make better nutritional choices with just a few simple changes like starting the day with a healthy breakfast, eating more green vegetables and fruit and less starch, and drinking water rather than fizzy drink.

Majova said people who abandon junk foods will experience weight loss, their mood will improve and they will sleep better and be healthier.

“When you want to know if what’s on your plate is healthy or junk ask yourself: What are the healthy nutrients I am taking in and how fresh is this food?”

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.

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