Tasty Toxins


Before sunrise, you wake up and make yourself an overflowing bowl of cereal with just enough milk to avoid the texture of sogginess. After running late for school, you settle for buying lunch there. When you are done waiting in an endless line come lunchtime, you finally get to walk back to your table of friends with a slice of pizza and a kickstart in hand.


School ends and at home you tear open a bag of Doritos for a snack as you do your backpack full of homework. Dinner rolls around and after a long day at work your parents pick up a simple and cheap fast food meal which you finish as you study for tomorrow’s test. This is the reality for too many young adults here at school. They stuff their faces with calorie after calorie but do they know what all of that seemingly tasty food is doing to their bodies?


The long term cumulative risks that follow hide between each sugary and greasy bite they take and slowly each mouthful is a bite out of their potential life span. Here is some light on some of the common favorite foods and their nutritional ingredients which you may be toiling on your body.


  • Pizza: Despite the high levels of calories, sodium, and carbs, pizza, in general, as many know, tends to come with a film of grease on top that even a napkin can’t rid. Along with the unhealthy appearance the food makes, the salt spike that can present in itself or in meat toppings combined with the other nutritional faults can lead to health risks such as obesity and unsafe weight gain, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and possibly heart disease.


  • Fast Food: For example, a simple McDonalds’ “Big Mac,” according to the suggested consumption of saturated fat, provides for a whopping 50% in one singular meal. It also has 40% of daily suggested sodium intake. The cholesterol levels are also high and quite unnecessary. The meal is so convenient but takes a large toll on health and hurts students when it is eaten as often as it is in the Valley. The addictive meals are promised to not make you happy, in say, 10 years.


  • Cereal: In what would seem to be a great bowl to wake up to, are sugary loops that mockingly float in your bowl teasing you with great sweet flavor. They may walk the walk along your taste buds, but they do not talk the talk on a health scale. Along with the 12.9 grams of sugar being one of the highest ingredients on the label, follows the food dyes that create the fun colors that actually should be avoided. The eye catching colors are unfortunately advertised from marketing and not for your overall well being.


  • Ice Cream: One pint of Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream houses 20 grams of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, they recommend that no more than 25 grams be consumed by females and no more than 38 for men per day. Obviously this is a close call for an entire day’s worth of sweetness. Another hidden ingredient inside each chilled pint is carrageenan. It is prevalent and incorporated in to make the ice cream more suitable for production but it also leaves the consumer with possible medical risks.The Medical News Today states, “The possible side effects of consuming carrageenan include: inflammation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome and IBD, glucose intolerance, and possible risk for colon cancer.” The sweet spoonfuls are unfortunately going to come back to haunt you when you have to run the mile for P.E. but your body is not functioning to the max due to the food choices the night before and could even affect lifetime goals and experiences.


  • Soda: So tempting, yet so costly. Sipping away with a soda along with any meal seems to almost complete any sort of dinner. On the flip side, avoiding the 10.6 grams of sugar, phosphoric acid that can create heart disease, and inflated levels of addictive high fructose corn syrup that hides on the back label of Cokes that seemingly always find their ways into hands of students isn’t such a nuisance. Avoiding the need for sodas now, can keep you away from craving it as an adult and continuing to flood your body with unfamiliar ingredients. Fasting from the sweet tang of a Coke is essential when there are better options just past the can.


  • Chips: Take a bag of Doritos as example, flip the flashy red bag and find an ingredient called Monosodium Glutamate which is controversially linked to symptoms such as numbness, headaches, muscle tightness, weakness, and flushness. The ingredient is incorporated for the accomplishment of enhancing the savory flavor the Doritos play a role as. The impossible to pronounce name is one that many chips also have. Obviously the snack does nothing to help dietary guidelines as sodium is also quite up there on the label. The chips should be put to the side and fruit slices should be a go-to snack or side to lunch.


Too many times foreign ingredients that students can’t even come close to pronouncing, even after so many years of education, lay on the back of the ingredient label that continue to stay overlooked by hungry students. Suspiciously and difficult to pronounce ingredients should be a red flag when diets are monitored. Favorite cheat foods, shouldn’t necessarily be thrown out of the door because of their effects, but they should be given a second thought before the package is ripped open.


Healthy alternatives that give energy boosts that last, inflated moods, and better concentration are usually not that hard to get into your hands. Thinking of yourself first should be a priority as this high school journey is navigated. Fruits, plant based twists on hungry hometown favorites, smaller portions, and more home-cooked fresh meals are the route that veers away from health risks and ultimately leads you down a longer path of life.


Valuing yourself for the long race will leave you in a better place at the end of your run in life. Living this lifestyle means you can leave as a trusted health advocate in today’s world filled with dollar large fries and sweet tooth oriented “rewards” to help another break feasting on the fake foods and replenish their bodies with restorating munches.