Junk Food

Junk food is a term describing food that is perceived to be unhealthy or having poor nutritional value, according to Food Standards Agency. Junk food is lollies, soft drink, potato chips, hot chips, ice cream, and hamburgers, hot dogs and other kinds of take away food.The term is believed to have been coined by Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972. The term has since become common usage.

Junk food typically contains

  • high levels of fat, salt, or sugar and
  • numerous food additives such as monosodium glutamate and tartrazine;
  • at the same time, it is lacking in proteins, vitamins and fiber, among others.

It is popular with suppliers because it is relatively cheap to manufacture, has a long shelf life and may not require refrigeration. It is popular with consumers because it is easy to purchase, requires little or no preparation, is convenient to consume and has lots of flavor. Consumption of junk food is associated with obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dental cavities. There is also concern about the targeting of marketing at children.Other foods such as rice, roast potatoes and bread are not considered junk food despite having limited nutritional content. Similarly, breakfast cereals are often regarded as healthy but may have high levels of sugar, salt and fat.Many critics believe that junk food is not harmful when consumed as part of a balanced diet and some believe that the term should not be used at all.Some types of chips that are said to be “junk food” may actually be partially beneficial because they may contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. It should also be understood that the detrimental effects of the empty calories may outweigh the benefits of the unsaturated fats. These foods tend to be high in sodium, which may contribute in causing hypertension (high blood pressure) in some people. Junks foods often have too much salt. There’s a lot of salt already in foods such as bread, breakfast cereals and biscuits and cakes. So people are getting more salt than they need when they eat junk food. Too much salt is unhealthy for the heart. Soft drinks, cordials, biscuits, cakes and lollies all have loads of sugar. That’s what makes them taste so good! But too much sugar makes people fat, rots the teeth, is bad for the blood and may cause other diseases. Junk food does have some of the good things that the body needs for good health. And the body needs some salt, fat and sugar for energy to burn while we work and play. However too much fat, sugar and salt is bad for our health and eating lots of junk food will overload your body with these things.

It is probably OK to eat junk food sometimes! But people should look for foods that are low in fats and salt and sugar. Choose grilled fish and chicken rather than fried, fish burgers instead of beef, grilled lean beef burgers, and vegetarian pizza and pizza with seafood instead of fatty meat type pizza.

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