ISLAMABAD  – The growing trend of fast or junk food outlets is a big source of income in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi but at the cost of the citizens’ health.

The increasing number of fast food outlets in every nook and corner of the twin cities clearly indicates how the youth have turned towards the unhealthy trend. Although unhealthy, the demand for the junk food is on the rise with outlets mushrooming across the city. Retailers say that youngsters and office workers are their main customers. Bilquees Kuaser, a housewife, while talking to APP, complained, “My 18-year-old son Ali wastes a lot of money on junk food daily as he doesn’t like vegetables and grains cooked at home. I can’t always cook meat as we need a balanced diet for a healthy life.”

According to the perturbed mother, since her son studied in a college she could not keep a check on him, but she tried her best to motivate him towards healthy and home-cooked food. She said the ingredients present in the junk food were considered unhealthy when regularly eaten, and her son got ill whenever there was a sudden change in weather as his immunity system was weak.

However, Athar Abbas, a student who was having a zinger burger at a fast food outlet in the Super Market, was of the view that the junk food was delicious and definitely irresistible.

The great taste of burger and chicken roll paratha influences thousands of other girls and boys like him who opt for junk food. “It’s not only me who is addicted to this sort of food but my family members also cannot resist eating the food at various cafes,” he said with a watery mouth.

Shahzad Khan, a sales boy at a fast food chain in Melody Food Park, opined that a large number of costumers, with a majority of youngsters, visited the place from offices and educational institutions on lunchtime.

He said there were five to six other outlets as well and all of them were doing good business, “We clean all utensils properly and use good oil while preparing food,” he claimed but refused to name the oil they use.

According to various researches, processed and pre-prepared food, which can be cooked fast and handed over to customers within no time, are eliminate hunger and taste great, but do not provide essential nutrients and eventually results in weakness and fatigue.

The extravagant junk meal rich in oil also makes one start feeling drowsy and fails to concentrate. It is bulked out with pasta, breadcrumbs, corn flour, processed potato, processed egg and milk products as well as hydrogenated vegetable oil, saturated fats, gums and sugar substitutes, and then made to taste good by the addition of herbs and spices, salt, monosodium glutamate and sugars. It also contains artificial colours and preservatives as well as some

artificial flavouring just to complete the unhealthy package.

Dr Baig at Polyclinic told APP that constant use of junk food resulted in a drop in blood circulation due to fat accumulation. “It results in lack of vital oxygen, nutrients and proteins that can stale your grey (brain) cells temporarily leading to poor concentration.” “The impact to health from fast food is quite staggering when it is consumed on a regular basis.

By replacing fresh wholesome food with processed additive-laden food, blood pressure rise, cholesterol level increases, retard metabolic rate and also weaken immunity system which is very important,” Dr said.