Yet strangely enough I have a passion for junk food……
……but not in the way you might think.
My love for junk food is all about my love of helping people resist its evil temptations as most people tend to eat junk food just for the taste it offers and not its nutritional value.
And that’s one of the reasons why I always say “healthy eating = healthy aging”.
I like Michael Pollan’s take on junk food too; “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t”.
Marketing can also be a powerful tool when it comes to junk food choices.
How so you might ask?
It can steal both your health and your money.
Think about this for a moment.
How many kids drive their parents crazy wanting one of those useless little toys they hand out when you buy a “big whatever”?
And you end up buying that “big whatever” just to keep the kids quiet (read happy) because they were sucked in by the ads on TV
Because of marketing, the masses can be fooled into believing certain foods are good for you when in actual fact they are not, setting the stage for pharmaceutical companies to come in. Breakfast cereals in a box are a classic example here.
Find out if you are a serious cereal offender?
This is how the massive multi-national processed/junk food industry operates.
By using persuasive marketing strategies, they can convince millions to purchase their goods, which are far from being good for you. In fact, many of these junk foods are slowly killing you.
Ok, that may sound a bit dramatic, but it is true and I am only trying to help you by getting a message across here.
At their core, they are anti-nature being so highly processed that the ingredients they originally come from are now not something grandma would even recognize.
The fact is, junk food is NOT REAL FOOD, it is just that……..JUNK.
5 good reasons why junk foods and processed foods should be considered anti-nature:
1. Junk Foods are loaded with Sodium
Much of the sodium we consume on a daily basis does not come from real whole foods we eat, but rather from the processed foods we consume every day.
There are so many foods containing excessive sodium that you are unlikely to even realize it.
For example, maybe you don’t have a natural taste liking for such “salty foods”, but love sweet.
That soft drink or soda you are consuming is also loaded with a sodium derivative, even though you can’t taste it. Such are the hidden dangers of processed food.
2. Junk Food relies heavily on Simple Sugars
If you rely on processed foods for “nourishment”, you aren’t really getting what you paid for.
You may notice that while consuming junk for sustenance, you are more frequently constipated, which is due to the lack of complex carbs and fibre.
Good vs Bad Carbs: Simple, or bad carbohydrates, they just enter the blood stream and are speedily absorbed, disrupting blood sugar levels in the process.
Good carbs from natural or real foods consist of more complex low GI carbs, health giving vitamins and minerals and have fibre to help promote digestive health and regularity and they also encourage your body to a life of disease free longevity as well.
And I am sure by now we all know about the problems associated with high sugar diets…….it escalates weight gain and lifestyle diseases. Then we jump on the yo-yo dieting treadmill going round and round until we end up realizing that diets don’t work.
Another trick for you to be aware of – it is with “low fat” foods.
When you take out fat you are taking out flavour so it has to be replaced with something to make the product palatable.
So they add that other well known poison……sugar. If you don’t believe me then go to the nutritional panel and check the number of grams per 100 grams of full fat against the low fat version – 4 grams is equivalent to one teaspoon. This measurement will shock you especially if you start checking breakfast cereals in a box.
3. Processed Foods Contain Artificial Fats
If you think all fats are bad, you are dead wrong.
In fact, natural fats are ALL good for us, and even essential to our diet.
The ones that have been given all the bad raps are mainly trans fats. They are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them remain solid at room temperature.
Hence the name hydrogenated oils which you will see on the nutritional panel on most processed foods…….so steer clear of these.
Good oils are usually liquid at room temperature like olive oil. It is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, it contains large amounts of antioxidants and it has some great anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation speeds up aging, and contributes to many of our chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
4. Many Processed Foods Contain Anti-Nutrients
Did you know that white potato is considered an anti-nutrient?
Yes, white potato is known as an anti-nutrient, in the sense that it prevents absorption of other nutrients, bringing down the nutritional value of the entire meal.
And guess what?
White potatoes are a favourite inclusion in processed foods.
And who doesn’t buy a box of fries when they go to Maccas?
White potato is cheap, and arguably tastier than sweet potatoes, making them the perfect addition for the purveyors of junk foods to increase their massive profits even further at the expense of your health.
Processed foods also play havoc with your gut flora leaving you feeling tired and listless and promoting diseases like diabetes 2 in your body.
5. Preservatives and Additives Found in Junk Foods and Fast Food is Slowly Killing You
No food is meant to be kept for months without spoilage, or rancidity occurring, so why can processed foods be kept for so long?
You can thank additives and preservatives, which are basically chemicals that artificially extend the life of foods. Here’s a good example……check out this 6 year old Happy Meal.
So are these additives and preservatives helpful?
Sometimes, definitely. But more often than not, they are a hazard to your health.
Even though many are “safe” in very, very low concentrations and approved for human consumption by the FDA, they are frequently used in amounts far exceeding their safe limit, and consumed much more often than occasionally.
It’s the old story of the more you eat the more the buildup in your system.
Therefore, while we can’t fully blame the FDA for approving these chemicals, they should use some common sense and realize people do not consume these processed foods once in a while.
Dr Gabe Mirkin also has some interesting thoughts and recommendations on junk food here: Desire for Junk Food is in Your Genes.
My Conclusions about Junk Food
Processed foods and junk foods are the furthest thing from being natural regardless of what the big boys might claim. So don’t let the power of marketing fool you. Choose wisely when shopping for your family……their future is in your hands (or should I say trolley).
It is much like what Thomas Cobb says about the food you get on a road trip, “Road food is always neutral in colour and taste. It only turns exciting a couple of hours later.”
Also let’s not forget, many foods are GMO produced, which raises yet another set of ethical questions when it comes to consumption.
To me, the verdict is clear – fresh eat whole foods, closest to its original source and therefore, you are treating your body with respect.
As my friend James Clear says, “If it’s not a good idea to fill your stomach with junk food, then it’s probably not a good idea to fill your mind with “junk” thoughts or your day with “junk” energy or your life with “junk” people. The work you do, the enthusiasm you bring to life, the people you hang out with — these aren’t just life decisions, these are health decisions
I firmly believe fitness, good health, longevity and independence in your retirement years is a relationship solely between you, your body and what you put in your body.
So, in other words, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”
And just before you go, give yourself a shock and check out this list of 20 Common Ingredients Found in Processed Foods – it will put you off junk food forever.
Since I first wrote the above article there is further new evidence to hand that should ring some alarm bells next time your arm extends out to that vibrant coloured box of Coco Pops.
A new report produced by the US Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 26 of 28 oat-based cereal products tested had ‘harmful’ levels of glyphosate. As most people will be aware, glyphosate is the main ingredient of Roundup and is the most popular weed killer used by farmers around the world.
I originally came across this information here in the Daily Mail
The article in the Daily Mail also goes on to say, “None of the products in the new report had levels above what is allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but the EWG argues that customers should be concerned that any levels are being detected in products consumed by children everyday. However, government agencies, manufacturers and advocacy groups seem to be conflicted about what is – and is not – considered safe.”
Apparently The Cancer Council of Australia has also called for an independent review of Roundup as glyphosate has not been formally reviewed in Australia in the last twenty years.
As alarming as this information may be to mothers of young children, I still believe the real problem with these products lies with what I originally alluded to in my writings above – and that is their “Junk Food” status.
Most of these products are highly processed junk food full of sugar and other questionable additives not found in quality fresh and health giving foods. Not the breakfast of champions and they don’t deserve a place in your pantry if a healthy lifestyle is what you care about for your family.
And just before I sign off…..here is a CNN news report I just came across about dozens more breakfast foods testing positive.
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. Help a friend to a better and healthier life……like and share. Thanks.