What is Junk Food?

- POSTED ON: Sep 28, 2012


What is “Junk Food” anyway?
Is it an "edible food-like substance"? The opposite of:

“real food”
“proper food”
“healthy food”
“organic food”

Not necessarily.
Junk food is slang - an informal term - for food that contains a high level of calories from sugar or fat, with little protein, vitamins or minerals.

The definition of Junk is anything that is regarded as worthless, meaningless, or contemptible; trash. The definition of Trash is anything worthless, useless, or discarded; rubbish, So Junk or Trash is something worthless. The opposite of that would be Treasure, as the definition of treasure is a valuable or precious possession of any kind.

There’s a wise old proverb that says: “One man's trash is another man's treasure”, meaning that something that one person considers worthless may be considered valuable by someone else.

Whether something is trash or treasure is a matter of an individual’s perception. This proverb is applicable to current popular culture and its food issues.

The most common viewpoint is that junk foods include salted snack foods, candy, sweet desserts, fried fast food, and sweet carbonated beverages. Although every person has their own list of foods that they call junk foods, society uses the slang term “junk food” as though we all agree on exactly what these specific foods are.

White sugar and white flour are carbs that become glucose when ingested, and will provide life-sustaining physical energy, just like other carbs. This, when used together with a bit of protein, some fat, and an added multi-vitamin-mineral pill, is a diet that many modern humans use to sustain reasonably healthy lives. We see the term “Healthy” everywhere nowadays, but “Healthy” really only means not-sick and not-dead.

Recently I saw an article headlined: “Junk food is an issue of national security”. And in fact, there appear to be foodie terrorists everywhere ... People who insist on forcing their strong opinions about which foods are trash, and which foods are treasure.

Nowadays, one can’t go for long without being exposed to the assertion ... (everything seems to be believed by someone) ... that some specific micronutrient, such as carbs, or animal proteins, or fats  cause heart disease, cancer and/or Alzheimer’s disease.

Assertations abound that chemicals used in processing foods, or genetic changes in the way food is now grown, or foods fed to the animals providing protein products make many of the major foods unhealthy and unsafe.

There are many opposing opinions on which food micronutrient, or which of the chemicals within foods, will kill us or make us sick. People can’t even totally agree on which ones will make us fat.

In my lifetime, I’ve personally experimented with a great variety of different food plans. Some were labeled “fad” diets. Some were labeled “crash” diets, Some were labeled “healthy” diets. Some were labeled “balanced” diets. Some were labeled “low-fat” diets. Some were labeled “low-carb” diets. Some of these food plans tried to distinguish themselves by redefining themselves … insisting that they weren’t “Diets” at all.

No matter which food plan I was currently on, there were always plenty of “nutritional experts” around to tell me that my current plan was wrong. “Nutritional Experts” across the board have delighted in telling me that my diet-of-the-moment was providing me with too few calories to meet my body’s nutritional needs, and that I absolutely MUST eat at least 1200 calories or more every day. The reality is that I’m a short, light, elderly, sedentary “reduced-obese" female and my body requires LESS than 1200 daily calories to sustain my current normal-sized weight. Despite my low-calorie intake my body isn’t shrinking into nothingness, and my recommended daily multivitamin seems to work well to effectively correct any potential nutritional deficiencies.

One common question that the “experts” all seem to find unique and meaningful about any specific diet is: “Are you going to continue to eat like this for the rest of your life?” As to any one specific diet, I find that question irrelevant, because there are literally thousands of different food plans possible. My personal choice is to engage myself in serial diet monogamy which has brought me from morbid obesity to a normal size, and allowed me to at normal size for quite a few years. Although I’m over age 60, all indications are that I’m still in excellent health.

The truth we all need to face is that the human body is designed to wear out, and even if we are fortunate enough to avoid the major diseases, we will eventually die of old age… Probably by our mid 80s, but perhaps not until we are in our 90s. The time I’ve spent visiting the elderly in nursing homes has taught me that the stretch between death in one’s mid-80s and death in one’s 90s, seldom comes with years of excellent health, and practically speaking, it might actually better to avoid an attempt to extend one’s life span for an extra 5 or 10 years.

So, are the following pictures Junk Food to YOU?





The majority classify the above foods as Junk Foods,
but would you agree with the people
who classify the foods below as Junk Foods?



Bread  (carb)  -   Butter (saturated fat)


Hot Dog in Bun with ketchup and mustard & fried Onion Rings (carbs, processed fatty meat, sugared condiment & fried food) - - - Cheese, crackers & Grapes (animal based fatty protein, wheat-flour carbs & high sugar frutose carb)

Roast Beef Sandwich  (fatty red meat, wheat carbs) -  Tuna Salad Sandwich (wheat carbs - mercury tainted protein source?, mayo- fat & carb, chopped eggs - cholestrol)


Beefsteak, green beans, carrots & roasted white potatoes  (fatty red meat, high starch vegetables) - - crisp fried bacon (processed fatty meat with nitrates).

The examples above demonstrate that almost every food seems to contain some micronutrient or substance that SOMEONE can find objectionable.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Sep 28, 2012 wrote:
Hi Phyllis, WOW what a lot of effort you put in your blogs. All the items at the top I don't bother with. I saw the Hershey's commercial on TV and remarked to my wife look what a dollar will buy now 1.44 oz of air chocolate. The cheese and fruit plate looks good, nothing wrong with bacon either I have 1 slice with 2 eggs everyday. One Hot Dog would be plenty and hold the fried onion rings (too many on the plate). Could not tempt me with a potato-sald sandwich. Oh! that plate with the O'Brian potatoes, veggies, and steak would be my call for sure. Nice work here, will make folks think before they load that grocery cart.

On Sep 28, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks John. Some days my articles are extensive, some days not. They all get stored in the Archives, and I like to refer back to some them over time. What various people with differing food plans (diets), label "junk food" often grabs my attention. =D

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