#13 Junk food – here are better ways to snack
By Mark Anthony
When it comes to eliminating junk foods, we would first need to learn what the actual definition of junk food is. According to our friends at google, junk food is defined as “food that has low nutritional value, typically produced in the form of packaged snacks needing little or no preparation’. Webster dictionary states junk food as 1) food that is high in calories but low in nutritional content. 2) something that is appealing or enjoyable but of little or no real value.
Now there is a LOT of ‘food’ out there that is extremely bad for you, but is really not technically considered ‘Junk Food’ because it does have some good nutritional value. But for today, we are not going to get too technical on you. I would rather simply present what I feel as a fraction of the major junk foods, and some better options to consider.
1. Sugary Drinks
Added sugar is the certainly one of the worst ingredient in the modern diet, and sugary drinks like sodas are loaded with them. Sugar drinks are also a ‘huge’ driving force to obesity.
Sugar, when consumed in large amounts, can drive insulin resistance in the body and is strongly linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is also associated with various serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Alternatives: Drink water. duh.! Add some lemon. And if you’re looking for something a little sweeter, add some stevia. Stevia comes in white or green powder, flakes, or you can get liquid drops in dozens of different fun flavors.
2. Potato Chips
White potatoes are very healthy; in fact, they are one of the healthiest foods you could possibly eat. However, the same can NOT be said of the products that are made from them, such as potato chips. These foods are very high in calories, fat, and it is easy to eat excessive amounts.
Several studies link consumption of potato chips and even french fries with weight gain. Even french fries themselves can be very healthy if you are baking them or air-frying them with little to no oil. But most fast food fries are deep fried, and salted; creating a high calorie, low nutrient, addictive product.
These foods may also contain carcinogenic substances that form when potatoes are oil fried.
And simply look at the calories in a family size bag of potato chips, many in excess of 3,000 calories, and I could eat the whole bag in no time at all. Now it would actually take over 20 pounds of potatoes to get the same calories as that one bag of chips. 20 Pounds.!! That would take you a week to eat. And you would be getting a satisfying fuel for the body, instead of an addictive craving for more chips.
Alternatives: Potatoes are best consumed steamed, not fried. If you need something crunchy to replace potato chips, there are better options like pretzels, or baked crackers. Even many corn chips or crackers are far lower in calories and fat.
3. Candy Bars
Candy bars can be incredibly unhealthy. They are high in sugar, and processed fats. They are also very low in essential nutrients. There are some so-called ‘healthy bars’ that are made with a lot of great healthy products, but be careful because a lot of them are also high in calories, fat, and salt.
Processed foods like these candy bars are generally designed to be addictive. They may taste good and cause some short-term satiety, but you’ll be hungry again very quickly because of the way these high-sugar treats are metabolized.
Alternatives: Eat a piece of fruit instead, or at least consider dark chocolate. Most dark chocolates are much lower in sugar and fats. Another secret to eating chocolate is to allow the chocolate to melt in your mouth as long as possible without swallowing it. You could actually spit it out and it still triggers your satiety endorphins without all the fat and calorie intake.
4. Pastries, Cookies and Cakes
Most pastries, cookies and cakes are extremely unhealthy.They are generally made with refined sugar, refined and bleached flour, and added fats which are often high in trans fats. These tasty treats are literally some of the worst things that you can put into your body. Almost no essential nutrients, but tons of calories and unhealthy ingredients.
You will almost always find a combination of sugar, oil, and salt; which creates an addictive combination.
Then you will also want to understand that these added sugars and oils create very calorie dense foods that are weight gainers.
Alternatives: Fruit is still one of the best choices when you are looking for a sweet treat. And as crazy as it sounds, drinking a huge glass of lemon water can often shock the bodies sugar desire with a jolt of sour, and the water is satisfying the thirst which may have been an imposter of hunger.
5. Ice Cream
Ice cream is one of the most desirable foods on the planet. Unfortunately, it is also one of the unhealthiest. Most ice cream is loaded with sugar and fat; making it extremely high in calories. Eating it for dessert is even worse, because you’re simply adding calories on top of calories.
Alternatives: It is possible to make your own ice cream using healthier ingredients and significantly less (or no) sugar. We have a Champion Juicer that you can simply run frozen fruits through, and presto, the best creamy ice creams made from nothing but frozen fruits.
There are also a LOT of vegan ice-creams, some made with coconut milk. There are great, but still pay attention to the added sugars, calories, and calories from fat.
Additional ‘Junk Foods’
That’s the top 5 junk foods, but just remember there are a LOT of other foods that could be considered ‘junk food’. Probably the ones that come to mind would be pizza, or burgers, or processed meats and cheeses. Now while these are technically not always categorized as ‘junk food’, them are generally high in fat and calories.
I would even add oil to the list of junk foods; it’s 120 calories in a tablespoon and no nutritional value whatsoever. That would include margarines, and butter.
Then there are sugars. Even honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar are very high calories with no nutritional value.
Some people even take it one step farther adding fruit sugar to the list of junk food, claiming that fruit juice is bad for you. Well, that all depends on the juice. Are you getting a pure juice, or a juice loaded with added sugars. And most juices have a lot of calories without really satisfying the body for fuel. But then they do have nutrients that are necessary for proper body function. So I guess the moderation card comes into play here.