Junk food. Foods designed by scientists to taste delicious and make us crave them. So craveable and addictive in fact that although we acknowledge it’s terrible for our bodies we eat it anyway.
Junk foods may seem fine, even great while we are eating them but they don’t come without consequences. Sometimes deadly consequences.
What is Junk Food?
Junk foods are defined as foods that are high in added sugar, salt or fat and low in nutrients. As you probably know an excessive amount of sugar, fat or salt isn’t good for our bodies.
These foods are produced in a factory, highly processed and are lacking in nutrients necessary for optimal health. Twinkies do not grow in nature, but apples and kale do.
I’ve got 6 reasons why it’s worth the effort to ditch toxic junk foods from your life.
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According to the CDC
- 6 in 10 adults in the US have a chronic disease
- 4 in 10 have two or more chronic diseases.
- Chronic diseases include
- Heart disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Chronic lung or Kidney disease
- Chronic disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. as well as being a leading driver of health care costs of $3.8 trillion annually.
How to Uncomplicate Healthy Food and Chronic Disease
2. Toxic Chemicals
400+ chemicals are found in food – many of which can make you sick or even cause cancer. Considering that we eat multiple times a day, it’s no wonder why your food can be one of the biggest sources of toxins.
Take a look at some of the food labels next time you go shopping. How many different unrecognizable ingredients do you see? Not only are hundreds of different chemicals used to make our foods, but they care actually are GROWN using chemicals.
Thousands of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are applied to the fields where most food is grown. Their sole purpose is to kill pests. The question remains: what do you think the effect is on our bodies when we inevitably consume these unavoidable residues?
Nobody can tell what long-term effects these chemicals will have on our bodies. The increase of chronic disease is an indication they may be having a negative effect.
3. Dinosaur Brain
Dinosaurs are known to be big, but did you know they have tiny brains? Dr Daniel Amen coined the term “the dinosaur syndrome”. In other words “Big body, little brain”
Brain scans show that as your weight goes up the physical size of your brain goes down. Size definitely matters when it comes to brain function and brain scans don’t lie.
Unfortunately Junk food and the typical standard American/Western diet is contributing to obesity. Which as we just discussed leads to smaller brains! Fortunately you can improve your brain by changing your diet to avoid junk food.
Change Your Brain Change Your Life
4. Lacking in Nutrition
When we eat junk foods, it takes the place of real unprocessed foods. Eating less nutrient dense foods means we end up consuming less nutrients overall.
Malnutrition isn’t always associated with starvation or extreme poverty. Lack of nutrition can also come from a diet limited to processed junk foods.
In fact malnutrition is the number one cause of death in our society today.
5. Junk Foods are Making Us Fat
How do Junk foods make us fat?
First you should know that food companies spend millions of dollars to make their food enjoyable to eat so customers will buy it over and over again. Food scientists are hired to engineer the perfect junk foods for this purpose.
In order to do this lots of sugar, unhealthy fats and refined salt are used.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Take into account the fact that many junk foods are created to be addicting, and that the processing and ingredients make junk foods much higher in calories and more calorie dense its no wonder that people are becoming obese and unable to lose the weight.
6. Addiction & Cravings
What causes junk food cravings? As we just discussed junk foods are actually designed to make us want more.
Some people are more susceptible to food addictions than others. One of my favorite vlogers is Susan Pierce Thompson. You can take her susceptibility quiz to find out how food affects you. If you score high then food addictions can be frustrating and detrimental to both physical and mental health.
How do we stop a junk food addition?
Tips to Avoid Junk Food
- Fill up on veggies, legumes and whole grains instead.
- Try a 9v9 challenge. Eat 9 (1 cup) servings of vegetables everyday for 9 days.
- An easier challenge – Eat 2 different vegetables at every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
- By adding in the vegetables the junk food gets pushed out when you the vegetables make you feel more full.
- Learn to read food labels.
- Let’s not assume that you won’t buy at least some processed foods. Because most of us don’t have the time or energy to grow everything we eat.
- Avoid the dirty dozen food additives As these are KNOWN to be dangerous to our health.
- In the end it’s a lifestyle change
- It’s not about perfection.
- Try for a 80/20 diet. Eat well 80% of the time and give yourself a bit of wiggle room with the 20%
- Need some help? Check out my Super Simple Beginners Guide to Clean Eating.
Junk food is toxic in so many ways. If you continue to eat a lot of junk food you will ingest toxic chemicals, gain weight, shrink your brain, become malnourished and likely get a chronic disease all of which lower your quality of life.
Or you could learn to avoid junk food and find yourself feeling a whole lot better both mentally and physically. Knowledge is power.