Junk food! We just can’t seem to get away from it.

Below are a number of junk food questions, and beliefs, with short answers to hopefully steer you away from a very watered down 21st century wisdom concerning an optimal diet.

Junk Food Question (JFQ) #1:

Q: “Can I count a plate of “French Fries and Ketchup” as one serving each of a vegetable and a fruit?” (Yes, many young people do!)

A: Ketchup: Unbelievably, in 1981, during the Reagan administration, Congress actually ordered the United States Department of Agriculture to issue new standards for federally financed school lunch programs, which would enable schools to economize; one of the USDA's proposals was to classify ketchup as a vegetable. Well, thank goodness, that didn’t happen (still not sure who is making “those” decisions on what your child is eating at school though!). Not so much because the “supposed” primary ingredient, the tomato, isn’t a vegetable (it’s a fruit), but because Ketchup is a condiment, not a food, and an unhealthy one at that. If the Ketchup you use is organic and made up of only real food, I thank you for the effort, but the majority of the Ketchup consumed today is made up predominately of cheap salt and even a cheaper sugar and should not be ingested (at all). French Fries: And though many grade school, high school and even college students do consider their plate of fries as a serving of nutritious vegetables (it’s a high starch carbohydrate), they are wrong in their assumption. Potatoes, even in their raw form can cause all sorts of havoc on one’s health. But beyond the potato’s high sugar content and high-glycemic index rating, if this food is cooked in a trans-fat (plastic) or even a vegetable oil (rancidity/high omega 6’s), it even becomes more deadly.

Junk Food Question #2:

Q: “A slice of pizza is a well-balanced meal, correct?” (Please look at what young people call food today!/Answer pertinent to the hamburger as well)

A: Is the pizza crust made up of quality whole grains? Did the cheese come from a grass fed animal, free of hormones and antibiotics? Is the cheese free of preservatives, additives and coloring? Are the vegetables organic? Does the meat come from a free-ranging grass fed animal? If not, you are consuming a meal that contains nothing of redeeming nutritious value. The truth is, if you are consuming cheap food on a regular basis, you can expect to have your health challenged, and possibly, your life ruined! If an engine of a car is ruined from cheap oil, you can always purchase a new one, if your body is destroyed from cheap food, you can always…

Junk Food Question #3:

Q: “Consuming fat will make me fat, right?!”

A: Actually your chance of being lean and healthy without consuming a good amount of healthy fats is minimal, at best. For more information on this very misunderstood fact, go to The Myth of the Lipid Hypothesis.

JFQ #4:

Q: “My favorite professional athlete helps market Gatorade, McDonalds and Pepsi. Look at them!”

A: These endorsement deals are all about the money, not about what the athlete did or didn’t do to achieve their lofty status as a superstar! Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant…does it look like they have “bodies by Gatorade, McDonalds and Pepsi”?

JFQ #5:

Q: “Yes I can cook. It’s called the microwave.”

A: For a number of reasons, some controversial I will admit, I am not a fan of the microwave. My major reason for not endorsing microwaves as a way of cooking food is the amount of heat that is created within the food and the amount of damage that may follow (to the food, and then you). My concern with microwaves is that foods can quickly heat up to over 200 degrees with enzymatic issues beginning to occur at around 117 degrees. I believe once the food has been altered by extreme heat; be it enzymes, proteins, fat or even vitamins, we are no longer able to receive the vitality from the food that was initially intended. Another point is this; microwaves are perfect for cooking altered, processed, refined, manufactured, convenience and frozen meals. And since in my opinion these are non-foods anyway, I guess the point is mute, as you cannot remove something (vitality) that isn’t there in the first place. But, if you are cooking real food, cook it conventionally, and whenever possible, keep the heat low.

I hope that this little Question and Answer Section on Junk Food Questions has helped you in understanding that there is a lot of money behind the marketing of fast, convenience, altered and junk foods. We are bombarded by it daily and if we don’t become discerning at all times concerning our food intake we will fall victim to all of the risks that unhealthy food create.

Take the wisdom from these junk food questions and begin to implement it into your everyday life!