We’ve all heard them: the endless amounts of fad diets. The cure-all promises they make about health. One might tell you that food you’ve been eating your whole life is unhealthy. Another might tell you that a certain food will cure all your ailments.
In a world with endless streams of information, it can be difficult to sort out what’s true and what’s fiction.
It can be difficult to determine what is junk food vs healthy food.
Read on to discover the impact of food on your health and to help you decide on junk food vs healthy food.
Junk Food vs Healthy Food – What’s the difference?
To understand the impact of these foods on our health, it’s first important to understand their definitions.
Unfortunately, the term “junk food” is often interpreted as a subjective term.
What qualifies as junk food frequently changes with whom you ask. What qualifies as junk food for one person may not qualify as junk food to another.
As a general rule, junk food most often refers to food with little to no nutritional value.
What differentiates junk food vs healthy food, though, is that junk food contains an abundance of calories.
These calories usually come from the high fat content, sugar and simple carbohydrates within the food.
No matter where it comes from, junk food contains very few vitamins and nutrients.
Another determining factor when discussing junk food vs healthy food is satiation value.
Most junk foods do not satiate an individual for long. That is, they do not keep the person feeling full for an extended period of time.
If food can cause harm to the body, it should be labeled as unhealthy.
Healthy food, on the other hand is often high in nutritional content.
The term “healthy food” refers to food that is beneficial to our health; thus, a food that is healthy will aid in your journey toward overall health.
It should be food that helps prevent chronic diseases and illnesses. Healthy food should also aid in one’s vitality and longevity.
Another tell-tale sign of healthy food is satiation value. When looking at junk food vs healthy food, satiation value is a huge sign.
Most healthy foods leave you feeling fuller for longer. Not only that, but they are also high in fiber, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates which take longer to digest – thus, they keep you feeling fuller for longer.
When determining if food is healthy food vs junk food, a good question to ask is, “is this adding to my health or subtracting from it?”
Can you eat junk food and be healthy?
Some people wonder if they can eat junk food and still be healthy.
This question is difficult to answer because there are so many conflicting factors.
The most important thing to know when attempting to answer this question is frequency.
How often are you eating junk food? Is it a major part of your diet? Is it the only thing you’re eating? The frequency will tell you a lot about the health effects of junk food in your life.
See, the reason junk food is so detrimental for your health is due to the lack of nutrient content.
Nutrients are essential to the health and wellbeing of all humans. In fact, humans need nutrients simply to survive.
Why are nutrients so important? Because of what they do for us.
- Provide energy for our daily lives and activities.
- Are the substances that allow our bodies to grow and maintain health.
- Provide materials to help the body grow and repair from injury and sickness.
- Keep our immune systems healthy to protect us from deadly diseases.
- Aid in all of the functions of the body such as maintaining body temperature, breathing and digesting the foods we eat.
In short, nutrients are the foundation for health. When a diet consists primarily of foods that lack nutrients, the food simply isn’t doing anything for the body.
In fact, they are doing more harm than good! Junk food can make a person feel full enough to the point that they stop eating healthy foods altogether.
When someone does not obtain an adequate amount of nutrients from healthy foods, it’s called malnutrition.
Malnutrition can cause:
- trouble breathing
- hair loss
- periods of light-headedness
- heart palpitations
- feeling faint or fainting
- tingling and numbness of the joints
- menstrual issues
- poor concentration
Should you completely avoid junk food?
That’s a lot of scary symptoms. You may be wondering if you should avoid junk food altogether.
Well, that’s a question you’ll have to answer yourself.
The important thing to do is know the risks associated with junk food.
Here are some examples:
Due to the high fat and sugar content in most junk foods, it’s thought to be addictive.
Regular consumption of these foods can stimulate the habit formation center in your brain.
This may make it difficult to stop consuming junk foods and, in turn, this can lead to obesity or other problems.
Increased likelihood of obesity
Because of the empty calories in junk food, many people over-eat. They don’t feel full so they continue to eat or drink these foods.
Eventually, over time, this can then lead to obesity.
Increased likelihood of heart disease
Regular consumption of junk foods has been proven to raise our bodies’ triglyceride levels.
High triglycerides can increase your chances of getting heart disease which is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Increased likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes
When the body becomes insensitive to insulin, diabetes occurs. Insulin is the hormone that lowers blood sugar.
Due to the high sugar content in junk foods, regular consumption may lead to Type 2 diabetes.
In fact, junk food consumption may cause excess body fat, high blood pressure and low HDL cholesterol. All three of these increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It’s important to note that all of these risks are associated with the consistent consumption of junk food.
Eating junk food in moderation will not cause any of the above issues.
When making a decision on junk food vs healthy food, consider your own health goals and your ability to moderate your diet.
Consuming junk food now and then may actually be helpful to many people in assisting with their dieting goals.
Does junk food make you gain weight? Junk Food vs Healthy Food in Weight Gain
It’s available everywhere and it’s cheap. When deciding between junk food vs healthy food, financial implications and ease of access may be factors.
Junk food is all around us and it’s often cheaper than fruits, vegetables and healthy meats.
Many people associate health with their weight. This leads many to ask, “Does junk food make you gain weight?”
The truth is, however, that as long as it doesn’t affect their weight, it should be fine to eat.
Unfortunately, regular consumption of junk food has a high correlation with obesity.
This is simply because of the number of calories and the amount of sugar and simple carbs in junk foods.
In fact, the average junk food meal contains twice as many calories as your average healthy meal!
Excess calories lead to weight gain. To make it simple, if you ingest more calories than you burn, you’ll likely gain weight.
However, with junk food, it’s easy to over-consume because these foods do not make you feel as full as healthy foods.
This overconsumption of calories will, over time, inevitably cause weight gain.
While you may be able to increase exercise to burn more calories, your nutrient quality will still be low.
Low nutrient quality may eventually lead to malnutrition and a whole myriad of health problems.
That’s not even mentioning the fact that junk foods are often associated with various cancers and other health problems.
These health problems may be costly to fix, so no money would actually be saved in the long run by eating cheaper foods.
As well as the long term costs, you may also gain weight on top of this! For most people, it’s best to eat healthy, nutritious foods to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Why is junk food so popular?
So, with all the health problems it creates, why is junk food so popular?
Well, there are a few reasons so many people jump on the junk food train.
Even if you have only a few dollars, you can go to almost any fast food restaurant and get a meal.
The same goes for grocery stores; produce and meats are much more expensive than their junk food or unhealthy competitors.
With so many families struggling with poverty, it makes sense that junk food is an easy go-to.
It’s beneficial in the short-term financially.
Junk food is everywhere, in vending machines and fast-food restaurants.
At the click of a button or by simply stating what you need, you can have food in a matter of seconds or minutes.
People are busy, and this convenience is an easy way to fill yourself up without the effort of cooking.
Junk foods are usually sweet, salty or fatty. Combinations of these are highly addictive and satisfying.
When you combine that with the availability and cheapness of junk food, it’s addictive.
People form habits and no longer cook for themselves because of the convenience and satisfaction of eating these foods.
Whether it’s one of these reasons, or all three, it’s easy to see why junk food is so popular.
Some people just can’t get out of the habit and others just enjoy their junk food and don’t want to change.
Whatever the case, it’s popular and shows no signs of changing in the future.
What are the benefits of healthy food?
So, you know all the bad stuff that comes with junk food, but what about healthy food?
Does it have benefits? Well, of course it does.
Here’s just a few:
Fewer calories in healthy foods mean a lower calorie consumption.
This leads to weight loss or helps you to sustain a healthy weight.
Reduced cancer risk
The maintenance of a healthy weight decreases cancer risk.
Also, eating healthy foods is proven to decrease the risk of colorectal and other cancers.
Reduced diabetes risk
Because healthy foods are low in sugar and high in nutrients, the risk of Type 2 diabetes is almost eliminated.
Prevents heart disease and stroke
Healthy foods protect the heart and other vital organs, decreasing your chances of getting heart disease or suffering from a stroke.
Strong bones and teeth
Nutrients in healthy foods provide the foundations necessary to keep bones and teeth strong and healthy.
When adults form good eating habits, the children around them will follow.
This leads to a healthier new generation and can have a snowball effect on generations to come.
Numerous studies have found a correlation between eating healthy foods and mood.
Eating healthy foods can potentially help decrease feelings of depression and other mental health disorders.
Prevents dementia and cognitive decline
The nutrients in healthy fruits, vegetables and meats are beneficial to cognitive function.
Studies show that eating healthy foods can prevent dementia and cognitive decline that comes with age.
Helps you sleep
Eating healthily helps you to manage your weight. Weight management can help to prevent the development of sleep apnea, which can make it difficult to sleep.
Additionally, regulated insulin levels that come from eating healthy foods will also aid in sleep.
How to create quick and easy fat burning recipes.
If you’re ready to take the healthy food plunge, home cooking is pivotal. Cooking at home ensures that you know exactly what’s going into your food.
It gives you control of what you put into your body.
After you learn the foods that are necessary to burn fat, it then teaches you how to eat them.
With easy-to-understand and easily-made recipes, you’ll be on your way to fat loss in a jiffy.
If you’re struggling with junk food vs healthy food, make a commitment to change.
There’s nothing more valuable in your life than your health!