What is a Junk Food?

Junk food is an empty calorie food. These foods have little enzyme producing vitamins, minerals, amino acids and contain high level of calories from fat. So these are unhealthy foods. Junk food are foods that are bad for your health.

Our health depends on what we eat daily. Foods are the building blocks of every cell in the body. Our body cells, the building blocks of our body, are responsible for the proper functioning of the whole body. Without adequate nutrition, we cannot expect ourselves to be healthy. The nutrition comes from what we eat and drink. It is important, therefore, to know what is good for our body and what is not.

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Junk Food Facts

What is a Junk Food?

  1. Any food that has poor nutritional value is considered unhealthy and may be called a junk food. A food that is high in fat- especially trans fat, sodium and sugar is known as a junk food. Junk food is easy to carry, purchase and consume.
  2. It has little enzyme producing vitamins &, minerals and contains high level of calories. When we eat these empty calorie foods, the body is required to produce its own enzymes to convert these empty calories into usable energy. This is not desired as these enzyme producing functions in our body should be reserved for the performance of vital metabolic reactions.

  3. Generally, a junk food is given a very attractive appearance by adding food additives and colors to enhance flavor, texture, appearance, and increasing long self life.
  4. Since it is high in fats and sugars, it is responsible for obesity, dental cavities, Type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
  5. A fast food may also be a junk. Look into the calories, sugar and salt present in fast food of different make. Fried foods like doughnuts, croissants, pizzas, burgers and hot dogs are at a greater risk for experiencing depression and anxiety.

Fried and processed food, particularly fast food, contains high amounts of oxycholesterol, Reports Scientists from China in the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in August 2009. Oxycholesterol is a little-known type of cholesterol which may prove to be the lethal to heart health.
A healthy diet rich in antioxidants can counter these effects.

Some junk food pictures of beef burger, french fries, coco cola, and potato chips and cinema popcorns are given below.

Junk Food Pictures

Pictures of Junk Food

Cinema popcorn: Popcorns are healthy but the one sold in cinemas are nutritional horror. The Center for Science in the Public Interest compared in Nov 2009 some popcorn and drinks combos sold at key movie theater chains in USA and found the following:

A medium popcorn and soda combo at Regal, the United States' biggest movie theater chain, contains 1610 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat.

At AMC theaters, a large popcorn contains 1030 calories and 57 grams of saturated fat.

The high calorie counts could be due to the fact that corn was popped in coconut oil. Popcorn cooked in canola oil showed lower levels of saturated fats but similar levels of calories and sodium.

List of Junk Food

  • Sugars, Refined foods, like sugar and plain flour (maida) based items including white bread and most packaged goods, like Twinkies and sugar donuts, etc. Our body eventually turns sugars into fat. If you consume just 3 tsp of sugar daily, imagine how much sugar you would have consumed by the time you are 50 years of age, it will be about 275 kg !, about 5 time your weight !!
  • Fats & Hydrogenated oils They are found in cookies, chips, candy bars, fried foods, muffins, bologna, etc. etc. Many snacks, such as potato chips, cheeseburgers and fries, have high levels of fat, sugar or salt-ingredients that are usually best limited to a small portion of your diet. The saturated fat mainly comes from animal products. Remember there is nothing that is useful for our body in foods with hydrogenated or trans fat.
    The excessive fats stick to our arteries and cause the blockages leading to heart disease and strokes. They can also aid to cancer, arthritis, PMS and sexual dysfunction.
    Some fats like Omega-3 fatty acids are good for our bodies.
  • Salt: Excessive salt is not good for our body (Daily Salt Recommendation). However, sodium in moderate amount, along with potassium, maintains the water balance in our body. But too much sodium can cause high blood pressure. Pretzels, chips and many canned food items contain excessive salt. (High sodium food list)
  • Below is a detailed list of junk foods:
    1. Fast food: Fish & Chips, Pizza, Burger, Fried chicken, Sausages, Noodles, Pasta, Noodles, etc.
    2. Snacks &, Desserts: Hot-dogs, Donuts, Potato chips, French fries, Crisps, Popcorn, Sweets, Biscuits, Icecream, Tacos, Potato wedges, Pancakes, Biscuits, Cookies, etc.
      French Fries, Potato Chips and other deep fried snacks are sources of cholesterol, trans fats, and salt that work towards clogging the arteries. French fries are full of fat. So, when you eat a large serving of 220 g, you are exceeding the safe limit for trans fats.
      In fried potato chips 50-60 % of calories come from fats.
      A packet of Maggi noodles has around 3 g of salt, whereas the recommended salt intake is 6 g daily. Maggi has a lot of empty calories, with 70 % of it being just carbohydrates!
      White pasta is full of cream. Instead, you should eat pasta in tomato sauce.
    3. Carbonated Beverages contain a very high concentration of sugar. Their sugar-free or zero varieties contain sweeteners like aspartame that are harmful if consumed over a period.
    4. Burgers are the worst junk foods. They contain everything we shouldn't eat. They contain sauces high in sugar and sodium, fried patties loaded with trans-fats, cheese containing high amount of dairy fat and mayonnaise with preservatives and egg yolks.
      Vegetarian burgers contain 35 % calories, while non-vegetarian burgers 47 % calories that come from fats.
    5. Ice Creams: Creamier ice creams are the worst junk foods. A single serving of most ice creams can contain more than 15 g of fat and high amounts of sugar, increasing waistline.
    6. Pizzas are relatively safe as they had low levels of salt and fats. But, those packed with cheese were in the danger zone.
    7. Drinks & Soft drinks containing sugar: : Coke, Pepsi, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Lemonade, Hot chocolate, Milkshake
    8. Cakes: Creamy cakes contain a highly processed, uncooked form of carbohydrate. This kind of white bread has a high glycemic index which in combination with the high amount of sugar ensures that the blood sugar levels are boosted instantly.
      Try Indian sweets like kheer and rasgulla instead of cakes and pastries.
    9. Sugary Cereals Most of the popular brands of so called healthy cereals coated with sugar, like fruit loops that contains a high concentration of synthetic sugar, are actcually not healthy.

Indian Junk Foods

Indian Junk Foods

Many Indian foods are eaten without knowing their harmful effects. The restaurants in India serve dishes loaded with ghee, oil or vanaspati (trans-fat). Wedding dinners serve the worst foods.

  1. Poories, Parathas, Kulcha, Bhature, etc. are deep fried breads, which are junk. Indian Foods Calorie chart See the picture of Indian junk foods.
  2. Snacks Kachori, Tikki, Kofta, Tikki-chole, Pakora, Bhujia, Potato Chips, Bikaner Namkeen, Aloo Bhujia, Pani Puri, etc. all are in junk food category. Note that the thinner the Bikaner Namkeen or bhujia (Haldiram foods nutrition), the more unhealthy it is. You can eat roasted potato chips or fingers, baked samosa & kachori, instead of deep frying them.
  3. Korma, Biriyani and Kabuli are high in fat.
  4. Indian sweets and desserts that are not good: Jalebi, Ladoo, Halwa, Ghewar, Gulab Jamun, Imriti, Malpua, and similar.
  5. Deep fried pappadums are high in calories. Eat roasted papad instead.
  6. Companies tend to sell their products by not disclosing crucial nutritional information and claiming that they are healthy.
    For example, Top Ramen instant noodles, Haldiram Aloo Bhujia, Lay's American Style Cream and Onion and Bingo Oye pudina chips available in India claim to be trans-fat free. But actually a test revealed that a packet of Top Ramen noodles contains 0.6 g of trans fat, while it is 2.5 g in 100 g of Haldiram's Aloo Bhujia.
  7. You never know what the Halwaiis (Sweet shops) and Chaat shops are using in their products when you buy sweets and namkeens by weight from them.
  8. New Junk Foods in India: Burgers, Sugary cereals, Creamier ice creams, Creamy cakes, Carbonated beverages

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