Chew on these
Here are some junk food facts
for you. Do you love junk food or do you
avoid it? We grew up in the fifties. Our treats were
Popsicles, Cracker Jacks, and black licorice. We ate these
unhealthy snacks long
before the term "junk food"
Michael Jacobson coined the phrase "junk food" in 1972.
is the founder and executive director of the Center for Science in the
Public Interest (CSPI), a
food watchdog group.
What is junk food?
Someone once said, "It's like pornography. I can't define it but I know
it when I see it."
If you ask Americans to name examples of junk food, they might
candy, snack foods, and sodas. But what are the junk
There are two
kinds of junk foods:
There are two
kinds of unhealthy ingredients:
that have little or no nutritional value. Examples of this
the foods named above: candy, packaged snack foods, and sodas. Even
eat these every day know they are eating junk food.
that may have some
nutritional value, but which also contain unhealthy ingredients.
examples are hamburgers, french
fries, and pizza.
- Ingredients that are OK to eat in very small
quantities but that are harmful when we eat a lot of
them. Examples might be sugar, salt, oil, and white flour.
- Ingredients that are so harmful we should
them. Clear examples are trans fats, artificial flavors, and artificial
We would add meat, poultry,
fish, eggs, and all dairy products to this group. Animal foods do have
some nutritional value. They are also highly contaminated. They are
with dozens of our
most common diseases.
If you are a meat eater or a dairy lover,
these junk food facts may be hard to swallow. We suggest you read The
China Study by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. for some hard
about animal foods.
Or order the Latest in Clinical
Nutrition DVD by Michael
Junk food is everywhere
Do these definitions make you uncomfortable? Many people consider
burgers and pizza to be something different: not
but somehow better than junk
People don't think restaurant meals are junk food either. But
restaurants fry their food in oil and flavor it with oily, salty
these meals are no more nutritious than a hamburger.
we sit down at a table and eat a vegan reuban sandwich off a plate,
does that mean it is no longer junk
Let's face the junk food facts. Many foods that people eat every day
are actually junk foods:
- Processed breakfast cereals that contain white
- Sandwiches on white bread, filled with
mayonnaise, meat, and
cheese...or with highly processed vegan substitutes
- White pasta covered with salty, high fat
- Ice cream, whether from dairy, soy, or coconut
Junk food, obesity, and addiction
So what is wrong with eating a little junk food once in a
while? It depends on the quantity you eat and your definition
of once in a while. Are you trying to lose weight? Be aware that food
companies spend millions of dollars on research to design irresistible
Here are some junk food facts that might amaze
you. Scientists fed junk food to rats for many weeks. When they removed
the junk food and gave them healthy rat chow, the rats refused to eat.
for two weeks
before they finally broke down and ate the chow.
That is how addictive
this stuff can be. Remember the potato chip ad that says
"Bet you can't eat just one"? They aren't kidding. See our discussion on how
people get addicted to food.
We find junk food everywhere: in grocery stores, gas
stations, vending machines, at work, and in schools.
Food companies market junk food to all of us, but especially to
If you have children, try to keep junk food out of your house. Save it
for special occasions outside your home, and read nutrition labels
carefully. To learn more, read the book Food Fight by Kelly