What do you think of junk food

We recommend fast food, but not junk food.

3. Junk food: what is it anyway?

“Junk” means something like “garbage”, “crap”, “scrap” in English. “Food” means “eating” or, more broadly, “food”. Junk food is therefore understood to mean inferior food. So the question arises: what is “inferior”? A look at nutritional science creates clarity: There, junk food summarizes foods and drinks that provide a high level of energy with a relatively low nutrient density. That means: Lots of “empty” calories (especially in the form of sugar and fat), hardly any vitamins and minerals. [12]

Junk food vs. fast food

Junk food is often referred to as "fast food". However, it is important to draw a clear line between these terms. “Fast food” means nothing else than “fast food” - that is, food that is quickly and easily prepared and available. The term fast food refers to the preparation time, junk food to the quality. So fast food can also be healthy, while junk food can take a long time to prepare.

Here is an example: An apple can be called fast food because it can be eaten quickly and at any time on the go. However, from a nutritional point of view, it is not “garbage” because it supplies our body with valuable vitamins, minerals and much more. “Fast” does not automatically mean “unhealthy”. It's not about speed, it's about the ingredients.

Ingredients of junk food - too much bad and too little good

Put simply, junk food has too many “bad” and too few “good” ingredients. As the name suggests, it is rubbish for our body: empty calories that neither fill us up nor provide us with the necessary nutrients.

Too much…

One of the defining characteristics of junk food is its high calorie density. It provides a lot of energy, mostly in the form of sugar and fat. These are mostly refined sugars and saturated fatty acids. Both of these have been shown to be harmful in large quantities and can lead to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. [13-15]

Furthermore, junk food usually contains a lot of salt, which can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. [16]

There are also a large number of chemical colorings and preservatives as well as flavor enhancers. Some of them have a negative effect on central aspects such as metabolism, organ function, [17] blood values ​​[18] or memory performance [19]. The risk of cardiovascular disease can also be increased by excessive consumption of additives. [20]

Too little…

What is missing in junk food, on the other hand, is what keeps us full and healthy: fiber, high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals and secondary plant substances. Most of them only contain traces, if at all. So if you eat mainly junk food, you run the risk of developing deficiency symptoms in addition to the risks already mentioned. At least now it is clear: stay away from junk food! But you have to recognize it first.