As someone very much involved with the astonishing power of foods to alleviate and even cure some medical conditions, I’m often asked: “Why is junk food bad for you?”. This situation has crept up on us over the last thirty to forty years, by the arrival of so called “junk food” — a phrase first coined by Michael Jacobson thirty-five years ago. This is food so far removed from the unadulterated, nutrient rich foods of earlier years, we are now faced with a situation where the younger generation, brought up solely on junk food are unlikely to live as long as their parents, who have eaten real food for most of their lives.
Junk food is cheap, convenient and very tasty! So what’s the problem? The problem is, it’s just too good to be true.
You see — just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch — the price you see on the supermarket shelf is simply your initial payment.
After consuming this cheap, convenient and tasty food for a while, you will discover the money you saved buying junk food will be more than mopped up by your doctor bills. Nor will it be very convenient when you have to stay in hospital because of some debilitating illness, brought about by the very things that give junk food its tempting taste: fat, sugar and salt — and not much else.
So, if I’m asked “Is junk food bad”, my answer is a resounding “Yes!”
And don’t think this is a problem only affecting seniors, because people as young as twenty-something are presenting with diseases that used to be associated with old age. There has even been a recent case of a teenager who presented at hospital with a case of scurvy — a disease caused purely by poor diet and actually eliminated way back in the 16th Century.
Scurvy was not the only disease caused by poor nutrition and such nightmares as rickets have also been eliminated, thanks to our increasing knowledge of vitamins and nutrition generally. It’s therefore sad that so many turn their back on this knowledge and set themselves up for a shorter, less healthy life than current knowledge allows.
So, now you know the answer to the question, “Why is junk food bad for you?”, you are probably wondering — if that’s the case — why is it so prevalent?
You see, there isn’t much profit in real food. By “real food” I mean food that is alive and rich with nutrients. The biggest problem is that lively food perishes very quickly. Yes, you can freeze some foods, but not all. So to give it a longer shelf life, food scientists created a wholly artificial fat — hydrogenated vegetable oil. This is definitely not something you want in your body, yet is found is pretty much every processed food from cookies to pizzas. Fortunately, the tide is turning and some manufacturers are making a merit out of not using it, now.
Another way to squeeze a bit more profit from food is to “add value”. This is done by marketing “ready meals” or “convenience foods”, which simply need to be zapped in a microwave for 30 seconds and is ideal to fill up increasingly “time poor” people. Presumably the eaters of convenience food are time poor because of all the time spent waiting in line at the doctor’s surgery. However, anyone who is so “busy” they have no time to cook and eat proper food, should perhaps examine their priorities in life.
It’s a measure of how miraculous our bodies are they can withstand this onslaught of empty junk food and go on for years before the payback time arrives in the form of kidney stones, heart disease, impotence, high blood pressure, arthritis, gall stones, gout and high cholesterol. But even then, the twin miracles of our bodies and wholesome food can pull you back from the brink at the eleventh hour and so avoid medications with unpleasant side effects or even costly and painful surgery.
It’s often said “Familiarity breeds contempt” and never more true than when speaking about our bodies and, in particular, the food we put into it. Because food is so readily available, we treat both with similar disregard, never questioning whether it will simply taste good or whether it will both taste good and actually do us good.
And, if you are still wondering: is junk food bad, consider this. If we own an automobile, we lavish attention on it and only allow the finest lubricants and the highest quality fuel to be used in it. Yet you can always get another vehicle — whilst you only get one body — and it has to last you a lifetime!
So doesn’t it make sense to ensure your body — like your shiny car — also gets the finest lubricants and the highest quality fuel?
Fortunately scientists are now making increasing numbers of remarkable discoveries about food — much of which reinforces the age old wisdom of folklore, such as “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. So, stop abusing your body with junk food and instead eat the tastiest, most wholesome foods on the planet that have been shown over hundreds of years to produce the slimmest, healthiest and longest living people. People, like the Italians, Greeks and Okinawians. Not only will you be delighted how much more energy you have and how much more alive you feel, you’ll also be delighted that the foods are not only far tastier but also more varied in their taste than your usual food.
At that point you will really understand the answer to the question: why is junk food bad for you? And you’ll also be amazed to learn it can be cooked in minutes, making it almost as convenient — but far, far tastier and better for you — than that junk you used to zap in a microwave.