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JPD
03-14-2015, 05:32 PM
I am aware that I have absolutely horrid eating habits, and since I want to try to change that around, I'm challenging myself to go from Mon to Fri with no junk food whatsoever.

The main issue I've seemed to encounter is what is considered junk food. This tends to vary greatly.

Somethings, like cookies, and candy are obvious junk foods, but there are other things, like crackers, yogurt, granola bars, cereal, that some people classify as not junk food, yet others classify these as junk food.

In your opinion, what for defines what junk food is?

Also, is there anyone who wants to try to take this challenge with me?

mjr
03-14-2015, 06:13 PM
I'd always heard the definition of "junk food" is something that has calories but no nutritional substance, or something high in fats/sugars.

For instance, potato chips, or cream-filled pastries.

Aragarthiel
03-14-2015, 07:09 PM
In my opinion, just about anything that tastes good. If it tastes bad, it's probably good for you.

firecat88
03-14-2015, 07:17 PM
To me, junk food is stuff like cookies, chips, and anything else found in the 'snacks' aisle of the grocery store. Yogurt and string cheese, to me, don't really qualify because they at least has some health and nutritional value (probiotics, calcium, protein). Same with granola bars, because those are high in fiber depending on what kind you get.

cindybubbles
03-14-2015, 07:44 PM
Carb-related snacks, like chips and popcorn can be junk food. Even the "healthier" kind can't be that good for you. Also, please read the labels on every food package so that you know what you can have and what you can't.

But too much of anything, even healthy stuff, is also bad.

AccountingDrone
03-14-2015, 07:49 PM
Is it eaten as part of a meal? And I include a scheduled snack as a meal - my nutritionist has programmed in 3 snacks and 3 meals per day - breakfast is almost always oatmeal made with raisins and cinnamon, then a morning snack, lunch is almost always a chopped salad, afternoon snack, dinner is the only really changeable meal and an evening snack, which is almost always a single serve cup of no sugar added applesauce. My morning and afternoon snack may be as simple as a tablespoon of hummus and a small pita, or handful of celery or a single deviled egg, or a wasa crispbread/cracker with a smear of brie [effectively about 150 calories or so.]

If it is not part of a planned and balanced diet, then it is junk food. If you have planned a cookie or granola bar as a snack at a specific time, it is not junk food. If you walk through the kitchen and grab it because it looks good, then it is junk food. [why yes, I am very OCD about controling my food intake =)]

Kittish
03-14-2015, 10:43 PM
Most yogurts and granola type things I classify as junk food because of the high sugar content. Generally they have as much sugar as a candy bar. Granola is super easy to make at home, though, and you have direct control over what goes into it if you make your own. Plain unsweetened yogurt that you add a couple of teaspoons of jam or preserves to reduces the sugar content of that dramatically.

I also classify pretty much all fast food as junk, it's usually loaded with fat and salt and heavily refined carbs.

Sodas are junk, and even sugar free types can sabotage a diet. There' a fair bit of evidence that sugar substitutes trigger carb cravings. A twelve ounce can of regular soda has over a quarter cup of sugar in it!

MoonCat
03-15-2015, 12:45 AM
The higher the fat, carb and/or sugar content, combined with being very highly processed, the junkier it is. This means McDonald's burgers, shakes and fries count as junk, for example. Potato chips, cheese curls, pork rinds, and other stuff like that also. Read ingredients labels: See all those long words you can't pronounce? Also a sign of junk food. The more chemicals, "flavor enhancers" and such the product has, the farther away it is from food that's good for you. High calories with low nutritional value is another clue.

Non-junk food means fresh fruits and veg, whole grains, fresh meat cooked without a lot of additives, low-fat or no-fat dairy foods such as skim or 1% milk, cheese and yogurt. By cooking food yourself, you know what's in it and how it was prepared, and you control all of this.

If you want to see some healthy suggestions for meals, check out the American Diabetes Assocation website. Even if you're not diabetic or pre-diabetic, they have some very good, sensible and achievable suggestions for healthy eating. Note: This is not "going on a diet." It's more of a lifestyle change.

csquared
03-15-2015, 01:01 AM
Junk food is everywhere. Food manufactures load up healthy foods with sugars to make them taste better. That 6oz container of Greek Yogurt with fruit has more cards that you should eat in a meal. That Granola bar is held together with sugars, and it doesn't need that chocolate & caramel topping. If it has been packaged, it has been salted. Salt, fats and sugars. Pick two. If they take one out, they add more of the others.

Unless you raise your own food or go vegan, it is hard to avoid the junk.

So just cut back. Eat more vegetables. Stick to lean meats. Reduce your carb and salt intake. Avoid fried foods. Dump the empty calories (candies, chips, cookies, etc).

ETA: Just saw Mooncat's post. I'll second the ADA Exchange diet (been on it for three years).

MoonCat
03-15-2015, 05:14 AM
I will respectfully disagree with the comment about Greek yogurt, only because you can get some lighter varieties that only have 8 or 9 grams carb. Even the regular ones often have no more than 20. I consider that acceptable, as long as I haven't already something else that has about that much.

There is also this: The most recent data (http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2015/02/02/salt-is-not-the-killer-that-cdc-thinks/)suggests that you are actually more at risk for health problems when your sodium intake is too LOW.

AccountingDrone
03-15-2015, 09:41 AM
Most yogurts and granola type things I classify as junk food because of the high sugar content. Generally they have as much sugar as a candy bar. Granola is super easy to make at home, though, and you have direct control over what goes into it if you make your own. Plain unsweetened yogurt that you add a couple of teaspoons of jam or preserves to reduces the sugar content of that dramatically.
!
My favorite is our homemade yogurt with unsweetened applesauce and a shot of cinnamon, about 1:1 apple sauce to yogurt.


If you want to see some healthy suggestions for meals, check out the American Diabetes Assocation website. Even if you're not diabetic or pre-diabetic, they have some very good, sensible and achievable suggestions for healthy eating. Note: This is not "going on a diet." It's more of a lifestyle change.
You might be able to get a nutritionist consult if your insurance will cover it [if you have insurance that is =(] But really it is fairly simple. Eat low on the food chain, try to make as much as possible because the store bought crap is loaded with sugars or salts you don't need. I prefer to make most stuff from scratch because I can customize it - make it more or less spicy or sweet, add or remove stuff, tweak flavor profiles in general =)

There is also this: The most recent data (http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2015/02/02/salt-is-not-the-killer-that-cdc-thinks/)suggests that you are actually more at risk for health problems when your sodium intake is too LOW.
I have given up on the mass market/popular press reporting of food/health issues - at this point my opinion is if God put it on the earth, we are meant to use it. Just don't go nuts, eat in moderation, and be sensible.

I don't do statins, I have good labs ever time. While yes I do have to take 4 different meds to keep my blood pressure from ramping up to explodyhead levels, it is not cholesterol, my blood vessels are squeeky clean, it is not salt or anything I eat - we have figured out it is my brain being slightly miswired. I do have to take metformin, lantus, victoza - I have struggled with diabetes since I got gestational diabetes at the age of 19 and in perfect extreme athletic shape. [And since adding the victoza last june, I have lost 30 pounds! No dietary change, and certainly adding no exercise, just whacking my body into functioning better! :super:] If my body was not whacked, I would be in excellent shape with the diet I have followed for the majority of my life [my mom didn't do convenience and junk foods, that is why I really dislike sodas and most junk foods.]

wolfie
03-15-2015, 03:58 PM
Would meals served on board a Chinese boat be considered Junk food?:p

BlaqueKatt
03-15-2015, 05:02 PM
Read ingredients labels: See all those long words you can't pronounce? Also a sign of junk food. The more chemicals, "flavor enhancers" and such the product has, the farther away it is from food that's good for you.

this is closer to chemophobia than actual truth.
1, EVERYTHING IS CHEMICALS
2, labeling laws REQUIRE chemical names, not common names for example:
Pyridoxine, Adermine Chlorhydrate, and Adermine Hydrochloride are all names for vitamin b6, b12 has even more.

the chemist that makes this did so to prove a point.

these are the labels that SHOULD appear on common foods(Kiwi, passionfruit, egg, bananna, blueberry (http://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/inspiration/food-chemistry-ingredients-organic-all-natural-fruits-eggs-are-not-what-youd-expect-0150653/))

JPD
03-16-2015, 01:24 AM
Thank you for all your help with this, if anyone wants to join me in the challenge, these are the rules I came up with for the challenge:

No obvious junk food items -Candy/cookies/soda ect.

Unlimited healthy foods -Meat/Veggies/Fruit/Nuts/Dairy with no sugar added

Things that blur the line between healthy and junk food items - limited to 2 servings from this category per day

Anyone can join, We are starting on Monday morning, and lasts through all of Friday.

Seshat
03-16-2015, 02:34 AM
Definitely not junk:
Fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, meat, dairy, herbs, spices, wholemeal or wholegrain flour, a limited amount of sugar, a limited amount of natural vegetable oils (preferably olive, linseed or one of the more nutritious oils). Enough salt to keep you healthy.
With the dairy, limit the amount of cream (or processed-from-cream stuff, like butter).
Animal fats must be restricted, though oily fish are fine.
Organ meats are fine, but skin tends to have animal fat attached to it.


Still not junk:
Processing any of the above in a healthy way. Preferably steamed, grilled, lightly boiled, baked, roasted. Preferably not deep fried. Shallow fried can be fine - especially if done in a style similar to stir-frying.
Casseroles, stews and soups are also fine, as are sauces, dips and dressings constructed from the stuff above.
Dietary fibre - ie, the part of vegetables that your body can't digest.
Most added vitamins - eg vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

Junk:
White flour and anything made from it. More sugar, oil, butter than you need. Skin with the fat still attached (eg pork rinds). Anything that's mostly fat, anything that's mostly sugar. Anything that's mostly starch (eg some things made from potato).
Anything indigestable other than dietary fibre (eg olestra, some sugar substitutes).

MoonCat
03-17-2015, 02:05 AM
this is closer to chemophobia than actual truth.
1, EVERYTHING IS CHEMICALS
2, labeling laws REQUIRE chemical names, not common names for example:
Pyridoxine, Adermine Chlorhydrate, and Adermine Hydrochloride are all names for vitamin b6, b12 has even more.

the chemist that makes this did so to prove a point.

these are the labels that SHOULD appear on common foods(Kiwi, passionfruit, egg, bananna, blueberry (http://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/inspiration/food-chemistry-ingredients-organic-all-natural-fruits-eggs-are-not-what-youd-expect-0150653/))

My point is that the more highly processed something is, the more likely it is to have hidden fats and sugars. For ex., one trick they use nowadays is to list "evaporated cane juice" instead of calling it what it is: Sugar. If you look at the nutrition label, it will tell you the total amount of fat, sugar, carb, etc., in the product, but you should also note the serving size.

When you prepare your own meal with fresh meats, vegetables, whole grains, fruits, dairy products, or whatever, you control what goes into your meals. You can't get much control with a frozen entree that someone else formulated.

Seshat
03-18-2015, 03:21 PM
I'll add an addendum.

It's perfectly fine to have something that's junk food, on one condition: You actively enjoy every bite.

The moment you're eating it 'because it's nearly finished', or on autopilot, or because it's there or because you always eat X when you watch Y ... you're stuffing yourself with empty calories and possibly adding unnecessary sugar to your teeth.

If you're having dessert at a restaurant, or cake at a cafe, or a doughnut with your coffee, get it to take-away. At each mouthful, stop what you're doing other than eating, and really focus on the cake (or dessert or doughnut or whatever).

Eventually you'll get to a point where you realise you aren't enjoying the mouthfuls as much as you did when you started. At that point, put it in its take-away container and take it home (or to work), either for yourself for later, or to give to a family member.


The same with chips, cookies, and the like. Stop, and dispose of the wrapper thoug... no, sorry. Eat each chip or cookie thoughtfully.

JPD
03-20-2015, 02:39 PM
Update:

I failed the 5 day challenge, I had made it 3 days, then on the 4th day I ended up eating a bunch of junk food.

I am thinking of trying again soon though.

NecessaryCatharsis
03-20-2015, 11:39 PM
Update:

I failed the 5 day challenge, I had made it 3 days, then on the 4th day I ended up eating a bunch of junk food.

I am thinking of trying again soon though.

In my opinion if you do get off track for a bite or two, don't think of it as 'I failed' because then you seem to give yourself permission to go nuts and eat way more crap than you would in a normal week. If you instead think, 'I really enjoyed those two bites, and it will give me more willpower to get through the rest of my week' you might make it easier on yourself to reduce the overall amount of junk food you eat, as a long term change. That's how it went for me anyways.

Sapphire Silk
03-21-2015, 03:44 PM
Read ingredients labels: See all those long words you can't pronounce? Also a sign of junk food. The more chemicals, "flavor enhancers" and such the product has, the farther away it is from food that's good for you. High calories with low nutritional value is another clue.

I largely agree with the rest of the post, but let me just point out that just because the ingredient is a long scientific name does not mean it is bad for you. Many very healthy things for you have long scientific names. You need to look up what the ingredient actually is, and whether or not there is any valid scientific evidence the ingredient is unhealthy in some way. Some are (sugar substitutes increasingly look as if they trigger insulin resistance leading to fat buildup), while others aren't.

Processed foods in general are not as good for you as foods made with fresh ingredients because they are usually high in sugar or fat, and that leads to weight gain. However, using fresh ingredients isn't any better if you are still producing meals that are high in sugar or fat. For example, if you are cooking everything with butter, you're still eating a high fat diet.

Unless you raise your own food or go vegan, it is hard to avoid the junk.

So just cut back. Eat more vegetables. Stick to lean meats. Reduce your carb and salt intake. Avoid fried foods. Dump the empty calories (candies, chips, cookies, etc).

Vegan isn't healthy, either. Essential vitamins we need, B vitamins in particular, only come from animal sources. Vegans have to turn themselves inside out to get these nutrients while eating only plant sources of food.

It is the BALANCE of fruits, vegetables, and meats that is important. Check out MyPlate.gov to see what your proportions should be (the ADA diets are also pretty good for general health). Generally we need a larger proportion of veggies to meats and fruits, balanced by high fiber grains.

If you eat a healthy, balanced diet most of the time, an occasional treat won't hurt you. It's when you treat yourself every day that you're slipped away from a healthy to an unhealthy diet.

There is also this: The most recent data (http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2015/02/02/salt-is-not-the-killer-that-cdc-thinks/)suggests that you are actually more at risk for health problems when your sodium intake is too LOW.

We've known for decades that too much salt increases your risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. So it made sense to doctors that lowering salt intake might decrease risk.

What repeated studies have found is that it does not decrease your risk; the study cohort on low salt was just as likely to die as the control group.

The reasons why are unclear. Some early evidence suggests a hormonal stress reaction. And we need a certain amount of sodium for our electrical systems (the sodium potassium pump) to work.

Years ago, the recommendation was to eat between 2 and 4 grams of salt per day if you were healthy, and no more than 2 grams if you have hypertension or a risk of cardiovascular disease.

Then they made it 2 grams for everyone.

Then they made it less than 1500 mg for everyone.

Often people complain that scientists don't know what they're talking about because the recommendations always change. The peer review process means our knowledge is always being refined. The media has a tendency to overhype study results and make it seem like all scientists agree with the conclusion of one study, and that the results should be applied across the board.

In fact, different doctor groups have different opinions, and sometimes it's hard to know who's right if you're not able to really to evaluate the evidence yourself. So it's a good discussion to have with your doctor, who knows you and has a better idea of what might be best for the individual patient.

Marmalady
03-25-2015, 10:13 PM
In your opinion, what for defines what junk food is?

Anything that I enjoy eating :cry:

BookstoreEscapee
03-26-2015, 06:24 PM
I get plain Greek yogurt and add a little raw sugar (inevitably waaaay less than any pre-sweetened brand will have), some vanilla extract, and fruit - my favorites are fresh or frozen berries or apricots (you can get them in cans but fresh is better when they're in season). Last night I experimented with making a smoothie with plain Kefir (like a drinkable yogurt) and frozen strawberries, a banana, and a little honey. It was yummy.

Jester
03-31-2015, 04:56 AM
Junk food is relative. I have vegetarian friends who think much of what I eat is junk, because it is meat. Or it is produce that at is not certified organic. Etc, etc.

The things I would say are definitely junk: cookies, cakes, ice cream, candy, pies, chips, popcorn, most microwaveable processed foods, soda, pretzels, and such. Also, most fast food. I say most, because I do not consider subs to be on the same level as fast food burgers and fries. Say what you will out Suway, and much of may we'll be mostly or partly true, but eating there is still healthier than eating at McDonald's or a Burger King, neither one of which I've eaten in over 10 years.

I will take the challenge with you. But I challenge you further. Not Monday to Friday, but an entire week. No classic junk food. Eat healthy. And despite what some people say, healthy is not automatically or even usually synonymous with tasting terrible.

I will not eat any of the stuff I menitoned above as being junk food. Nor pizza. No buffalo wings. (Which are a particular favorite of mine.) No tacos. No nachos. No pastries. No cookies, candy, chips, popcorn, pretzels, ice cream, cake, pie, fast food, or overly processed bullshit. (I will NOT, however, give up beer. This is not negotiable. Besides, it's healthy....it's liquid bread!) No soda. No energy drinks.

What I think is fair game: all fresh produce. Salads of all types. Sandwiches. Soups. Pasta. Rice. Real meat. (Spam isn't.) Real cheese. (No Cheez Whiz or yellow American
"cheese.") Ribs. Steaks. Pork. Lamb. Fish. I don't drink coffee or tea, but if you do, I consider them fair game. Juice. Gatorade and similar drinks.

I'll PM you my phone number, if you want, so we can text back and forth with our progress, and to ask questions when we're unsure if something is or isn't junk. (Chances are too that if you think it is, it is.)

One caveat: I cannot do this April 7-13, as I will be on vacation. It's not that I don't think I CAN do this while on vacay. I really don't eat a lot of junk food in general. It's that I am going to have a lot on my plate, I am going to be doing a lot of running around, and I just don't want to limit myself while on this vacay.

Whether or not you do this with me, I do have a bit of advice. For breakfast, rather than shoving some fast food nonsense or even a good but fatty breakfast sandwich into your mouth, have a bowl of fruit. I've been doing this for breakfast for the last two and a half years, and it gets my day off to a fantastic start. I sometimes will still have that egg, sausage, and cheese sandwich. But more than not, I wont.

Let me know if you're up for this. Or if you have any questions. Either way, you have my full support.

Good luck!

If it is not part of a planned and balanced diet, then it is junk food.

If you walk through the kitchen and grab it because it looks good, then it is junk food.

I respectfully disagree. I often walk through my kitchen and grab a snack because it looks good. It is rarely junk food, however, as I really don't buy that stuff, almost ever. Some things I've just grabbed as snacks in my kitchen include nuts, fruit, green beans, hummus, pickles, pepperoncinis, cheese, etc.

AccountingDrone
03-31-2015, 12:38 PM
I respectfully disagree. I often walk through my kitchen and grab a snack because it looks good. It is rarely junk food, however, as I really don't buy that stuff, almost ever. Some things I've just grabbed as snacks in my kitchen include nuts, fruit, green beans, hummus, pickles, pepperoncinis, cheese, etc.

If you are serious about food control, then you don't just grab food because it looks good, you eat because it is time for a scheduled snack, or you are experiencing hypoglycemia and *need* to get your blood glucose up. Eating because you are bored is really not a good idea.

Though your week long food challenge looks like great fun, I can't play because I don't do anything not on a meal plan unless I am on vacation or on a road trip and random food may happen because of a supply fail. I posted this weeks menu over on crosstalk (http://crosstalk.kinja.com/menu-for-the-week-1694494518).

Jester
03-31-2015, 06:31 PM
If you are serious about food control, then you don't just grab food because it looks good, you eat because it is time for a scheduled snack, or you are experiencing hypoglycemia and *need* to get your blood glucose up. Eating because you are bored is really not a good idea.

If you are serious about food control, no.

But the question was, in essence, "what is junk food." You may not think it is a great idea to munch on some cherries without planning it, but you can't honestly call them junk food.

And I don't eat when I'm bored, I eat when I'm hungry. Which is not always the same time of day. Other than my morning bowl of fruit, I don't really plan ahead for the vast majority of my meals. I am not serious about food control. I am serious about not eating crap, and for the most part, I dont.