Junk food is actually a slang word for fast food. Any food that contains very less nutritional value is called a 'junk food', which ultimately makes it an unhealthy food. Basically, any food item containing higher levels of sugar, salt and/or fats; is considered as junk food. It contains very little amounts of enzymes, vitamins and minerals, which are essential for a healthy body. Rather, the food is loathed with calories, that lead to many health related issues. All these things make this food an unhealthy food option, which can also lead to several lifelong diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.
Fast food or junk food is mostly popular amongst the kids and teenagers, who don't realize their inevitable side effects. People find it really hard to stop their kids from consuming fast foods. Also there are some who are not aware about the junk foods and their potential side effects. Before getting on with the list of junk food, let me introduce you with several norms used to recognize this kind of food. Let's get to know some junk food facts.
Junk Food Facts
Kids are the main target of the junk food industry. The food is made attractive by using various unhealthy food additives, artificial colorings and artificial flavorings. These additives enhance the color, flavor, taste and texture of the food. Before eating such foods, make sure that you are well aware about the nutritional facts of any fast food that you consume. It is easy to know these facts from the food label. Any food item containing more than 35% calories from fat as well as sugar, more than 10% calories from saturated fats, more than 200mg salt per serving and more than 200 calories per serving; is a JUNK FOOD! These numbers play a vital role in making people obese and one should stay away from the junk foods.
As I said earlier, foods containing higher amounts of sugar, salt and fats must strictly be examined before eating. Foods which are made using sugar (in any of its forms), flour and white breads are ranked higher in the junk food list. Most of the fast food items are made using fats from the hydrogenated oils and excessive amounts of salt. As a result, these foods play a major role to increase the levels of bad cholesterol and empty calories in the body. This doesn't mean that 'all' fats are bad. There are several healthy fats which are important for a healthy human body, for instance, omega-3 essential fatty acids! Hence, it is very important for you to distinguish between unhealthy and healthy junk food.
American Junk Food
There is a huge ado about the American fast food joints, which have remarkably spread their branches all over the world. As a result, it becomes obvious to make a special list of the American junk food. Well, here is a list of junk foods, which are high in trans fats and calories, which make them unhealthy if consumed on a regular basis.
Does this mean that the foods which are not in the list of junk food are healthy and safe for us? Well, no. As a part of a healthy diet, one must always make sure to stay away from these things and purposefully make some healthy choices. What are these healthy choices? Well, at first, get out of the misconception that there is no such thing as a 'healthy fast food'! There are a few 'junk' food items, which are healthy and tasty!
Healthy Junk Food
Items in the following list of junk food agree with the CA SB 19 Act 2001 which is about the Pupil Nutrition, Health, and Achievement.
Nabisco Corn Nuts, Original, BBQ, Chili Picante Con Limon, Red Hot, Taco
Natural Value Fruit Leathers, Apricot, Peach, Raspberry, Strawberry
Nature Valley Bars
Newman's Own Salted Rounds Pretzels
Pita Cheddar Cheese Snax
Pita Cinnamon Snax
Planter's "Heat" Hot Spicy Peanuts
Robert's American Gourmet Buds
Robert's American Gourmet Fruity Booty
Robert's American Gourmet Pirate Booty
Robert's American Gourmet Potato Flyers
Soy Nut Butter Pretzel Sticks
Tumaro's Krispy Crunchy Puffs, Tangy BBQ, Natural Corn, Ranch and Herb & Cheddar
These are some healthy junk foods, but one cannot and should not depend entirely upon them. For a healthier body and mind, you must always rely upon a balanced diet. A balanced diet including a low fat diet, with reduced levels of saturated fats and moderate amounts of salt, is a better choice for those mentioned in the above list.
To fill up all the required nutrition, you must consume plenty of iron rich foods and calcium rich foods. Having a high fiber diet is also very important. Along with it, have plenty of fresh fruits and raw vegetables, for they are loaded with all the essential vitamins and minerals. Try and drink as much water as possible, instead of the unhealthy carbonated drinks. Remember, the more you depend on the natural foods, the healthier you will be.
Making healthy fast food choices is the best way of staying fit and away from the harmful effects of the fast food. Have a happy eating!