Are you one of those mothers who is afraid to drive through the route where the junk food shop is? Or are you the mum who always melts under the constant whining of “Please! Mum! Please. Just this time!” If your answer is positive, then you are not alone, there are so many moms out there who are equally worried about their toddlers junk food habits.
10 Harmful Affects Of Junk Food On Your Toddler
First three years of your child are the building blocks of his life, it’s his learning period where he notices and imbibes even the minuscule details around him. It is also the time when your child is developing and growing rapidly. Most importantly, this is one of the crucial times when your child’s brain development is taking place. So he needs the right nutrients to keep him going during this phase. But rapidly increasing junk food habits are not only putting a full stop on your child’s development, but is also harming them in number of ways. Here are 10 ways by which junk food is spoiling your toddler. And moreover, when it comes to junk food, no one can just stop at ‘one’ – the fats, the sugar and the salts are absolute magnets and leaves one craving for more.
1. Fast food deprives your child of a healthy meal:
In such a tender age when your toddler has just learnt new food habits and is accepting to learn new tastes and textures, the habit of the junk food can prove to be addictive. Your child may have problem in adjusting to the much simpler home cooked food or fruits in his diet. It is advisable to start training children about food as soon as they can talk since they are most influenced by their families during the preschool years. It can also cause a binge eating disorder in children
2. It can arrest the brain development:
A recent study has suggested that the toddlers who are in habit of eating regular junk food before the age of three have a lower IQ five years later. And as if this was not enough, the worst part is that even if you improve their diet in later years still it will be too late and the ill-effects can persist for a lifetime. Junk food can also affect your child’s concentration levels and make your child’s performance in school less than satisfactory. Know how first few years are crucial for your child’s brain development – click here
3. Junk food can cause aggression:
Eating junk food is not only responsible for health hazards in your child, but also put them at a risk of behavioral problem – like aggression, irritability and can also make them prone to violence
4. Can cause dental issues:
Eating junk food high in carbohydrates and sugar means more acid production in your mouth. These acids are hard for the teeth and can cause toothache and decay as well. Click here to read about cavities in children
5. Junk food can be allergic:
Your toddler is still in a process of building immunity against various diseases. He is still taking all his vaccination, but by eating junk food he is setting up the stage for various conditions like asthma, eczema, and a variety of allergies
6. Constipation and other digestive problems:
Fast Food food has approximately zero fiber content. The less fiber consumption means more digestion related problems and the one which will come into the focus first will be constipation and stomachache. Junk food will leave no space (and taste) for healthy foods like fruits and high fiber foods. When the battle is between the fatty, sugary food and healthy, normal food, the former will always win
7. Poor growth and lower immunity:
First three years is the time when the maximum development of your child takes place, in this particular period he needs a complete nutritious and balanced diet. But the cycle of nutrition gets disturbed when he eats more junk food rather than a complete healthy meal which means less intake of protein, vitamins and minerals which can result in poor growth and less immunity
8. Obesity and weight gain:
A chubby baby surely looks cute but it’s far from benign. While eating fast food food he is more likely to consume higher amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates and added sugar, which place him at higher risk of weight gain. And a chubby child often grows into fat adult, which puts him at risk of obesity and obesity-related health problems. Junk food depletes the body off energy (though it is appealing and appetizing for young kids), and this energy depletion can make them physically less active. This can again result in an undue weight gain and impair development. Read more about childhood obesity here
9. Sleeping disorders:
Having colas, or other sugary drinks with dinner can affect your toddlers sleep cycle. The caffeine from sodas acts as a stimulant which keeps them awake for much longer period and also has negative effects on their metabolism
We all know that junk food consumption for a long-term clogs the arteries. But a recent study has found that the clogging of the arteries gets initiated just immediately after one, just one junk meal. So if you think that it’s okay to let your child eat junk, and you will manage to wean him off it later, it can actually be late. Read more about hypertension in children, click here
An army of experts and studies is constantly reminding us the health hazards of fast food but they are not there when your toddlers pull that sweet smile and cute face which will melt you immediately. So don’t worry if you can’t make the change in his food habits at once in fact it’s much recommended to take it with slow and steady pace but remember what needed is your step by step junk food replacing plan.