How much junk food is too much?
A question that we get asked quite regularly from customers doing some of our programs is how strict their diet needs to be.
This got us thinking and begs the question in general of how much junk food can a person eat without adverse consequences. There is always a price to pay in life and eating junk food does have negative consequences for health in the long-term, but what is the price and what are the consequences?
Firstly, What is Junk Food
Most people have a basic understanding of what is good to eat and what could be classed as junk food.
The obvious things that come to mind when thinking of junk food are things such as cakes, pies, chips, puddings, deserts, and perhaps foods like bacon or chocolate.
A common thing that many people believe is that junk food has to be dripping in fact or oil or sugar.
This isn’t necessarily the case. The above obvious examples of junk food are quite clear to see, but many other foods if eaten to excess, can be just as detrimental to your health.
What is Not Junk Food?
Perhaps one way of helping you to see what may be junk food is to look at what is not junk food!
Foods such as fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, grains and many other wholemeal products are obvious examples of non-junk foods.
This overall category of foods could be summed up as foods that have had little pre-processing. They are close to being as natural as possible. They are not in tins, packets or in the form of ready meals. They also may need some work to turn them into a meal.
This all seems obvious in the clear-cut cases, but there are many borderline foods which are somewhere in the middle between fast-foods and freshly picked items.
So How Much Junk Food Can I Eat?
Let’s start by saying that if eaten in moderation, it is sensible to say that most foods will cause you no harm and have few or no consequences.
However it is obvious that the better your diet, the better chance you have of achieving good health. Does this mean you can’t have some junk food in your diet?
No of course not. You just have to be sensible about it and make sure you don’t fall into the trap of eating too much junk food, gaining weight because of the extra calories, and thus potentially harming your health and reducing your energy levels.
(It seems a little weird to think that you can have more energy and vitality by eating less food. But this is what actually happens when you start to reduce the amount of junk food you consume.)
The dangerous path you may end up travelling down
Billions and billions of pounds are spent each year by food companies to “improve” the taste, appearance and satisfaction levels of the food people eat. This process on the face of it has good intentions, but there are some seriously negative consequences. One of which is the simple fact that many of these processed foods are high in calories and can be very addictive.
Taste enhances, digestive stimulants, texture modifiers and many other chemicals which sound like bizarre concoctions, are added to foods with the dubious aim of trying to get you to consume more and more.
Many of these foods can be quite delicious, and that is one of the dangers. You end up wanting to eat more than is necessary.
Often these chemical potions are added to low quality foods to improve their appeal to the consumer.
Another downside to regularly eating low quality food (though it may taste nice), is that your body despite consuming relatively large quantities, does not get all of the nutrients it needs.
So very often you and up eating more than you would otherwise do if you ate healthier foods.
Food for thought
Try to look at what you are eating in general. Have in mind the goal to improve your diet as much as you can, remembering that a little treat from time to time is not a problem. Some people decided to just go for it, and cut out all the junk straightaway and make great progress doing this. Others choose the less scary route of cutting out some junk a little at a time.
Whichever route you decide to follow, it does take some discipline and willpower, but the benefits can be enormous.
Sometimes following a program can make all the difference in the world to your success, as it can help you to discipline yourself and give you the support you may need.