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Random Question- How do you define junk food?
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Old 03-14-2015, 04:32 PM
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Default Random Question- How do you define junk food?

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?

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Old 03-14-2015, 05:13 PM
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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.

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Old 03-14-2015, 06:09 PM
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In my opinion, just about anything that tastes good. If it tastes bad, it's probably good for you.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:17 PM
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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.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:44 PM
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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.
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Last edited by cindybubbles; 03-14-2015 at 06:46 PM.

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Old 03-14-2015, 06:49 PM
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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 =)]
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:43 PM
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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!
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Old 03-14-2015, 11:45 PM
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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.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:01 AM
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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).
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Last edited by csquared; 03-15-2015 at 12:05 AM.

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Old 03-15-2015, 04:14 AM
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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 suggests that you are actually more at risk for health problems when your sodium intake is too LOW.
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