Soda pop, cookies, potato chips, and ice cream are all delicious and convenient snacks. They taste great and require little to no preparation. But how healthy are they in a part of our daily diets? Many would say that these treats are junk food, meaning they carry little to no nutritional value. Junk food is OK to consume in moderation, but when it becomes a habit or a routine, it can cause harmful side effects such as weight gain, diabetes, or high cholesterol. Candy bars, cakes, and other sweet treats are also considered junk food. Although they taste delicious, they contain loads of high fructose corn syrup, which is sugar in its most potent form. Consumption of too much sugar can cause a myriad of health problems.
One can cut down on the harmful effects of junk food by considering them an occasional treat only. Always be sure to read the nutritional facts on the label, and be sure you know what a serving size is according to the package. Most people think a bag of candy is one serving size, but according to government standards, it is usually about a third to a fourth of the actual package. If you do decide to eat the entire thing in one sitting, be aware that you must multiply what is on the label times the actual number of serving sizes in order to get an accurate reading of the number of calories, sodium, and sugar you are ingesting.
Junk food can be fun to eat, but should never be part of a daily diet. Try to balance what you eat by incorporating whole grains, fruits, protein, and vegetables every day to help counterbalance the harm that junk food can do. Remember that junk food contains little to almost no nutrients, so you are adding on calories without any added benefit. While a night out for ice cream or that piece of birthday cake is an enjoyable experience, it’s important to keep in mind that it should be reserved for special occasions only. Everyone deserves to treat him or herself every once in a while, but try not to reward yourself with food. Instead, go shopping and buy a new CD or DVD, or go to a movie or dancing. Avoid equating good things with bad food, and you will be much healthier in the long run.