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Hallway Hero or Hallway Villain?

By Andre Joshua T. Aniñon

We’ve all seen it—it stands as an extra in numerous scenes of movies and television shows. As the camera pans through the halls of a fictional high school, the lens captures the light it gives off behind its glass, together with the many packs of chips and biscuits hung in its metal branches.

This school year, Silliman University welcomed this little extra to the cast, and was given the role to be the little hallway snack port around campus. This new friend of ours, is the snack vending machine.

A convenient metal box, the snack vending machine serves as a stop-over to students whose stomachs grumble for a little snack—but are far from the grasp of kiosks, or are in the middle of walking to their next class. No time to order a Daily Student Meal? No time to head to Oriental Hall? The vending machine is there to save the day. As students meet with their hallway friend, a variety of food choices is right at their disposal—all they need are a couple of coins. However, much like students and friends, the hallway superhero has its flaws.

Lining most of the vending machine’s metal branches are nests of junk food—and various Health classes have already engraved into our minds what these are capable of. Containing bouts of calories but little nutritional value, there is no denying that these addictive packs of chips are dangerous to our health.

According to WebMD, junk food has low satiation value, causing an  individual to yearn for more chips even if a thick layer of crumbs already stick to their fingertips. One never feels full even though they have eaten a lot, leading to overeating and in the long run, obesity and heart diseases. But that is not all that this type of food can do.

A survey also showed that in women, the risk of acquiring polycystic ovarian syndrome increases with consistent junk food consumption. A study in China also linked an increase in breast cancer rates in the country with that of junk food consumption.

In many products classified as junk food, one can find alloxen, a by-product of bleaching white flour. In healthy animals, it destroys cells produced by the pancreas, causing diabetes. Craving something unhealthy? Might as well consume the glue used in envelopes and postage stamps—dextrin, the component found in this glue, is also found in some junk food. Our many Health classes were not joking with their warnings.

However, due to its inexpensiveness and availability, there’s no denying that completely throwing away junk food would only happen if the planets align. And due to the convenience a vending machine provides, the planets will only distance themselves farther way.

There’s no harm in indulging in the chips the new hunger savior in campus provides, as long as we don’t overdo in our consumption. It’s not just having too much love that kills you; too much of junk food can as well. In things delicious and unhealthy, moderation is key.

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