Do You Know Nutrition?: Junk food has little or no nutritional value

June 21, 2011 at 1:21 a.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

By Phylis Canion

Everyone has always teased me about being a junk food junkie, however, the older I get the more I am beginning to realize years of eating unhealthy are gradually taking a toll on my body. I feel a lot older than I am and am convinced it is because of years of eating junk food. Can you please share some information about where the term "junk food junkie" came from? The joke is not on me anymore.

Junk food is typically defined as food with little or no nutritional value and high in calories, fat, sugar, salt and quite often caffeine.

The term "junk food junkie" came about in the 1960s (and we really didn't even have junk food back then), but became very popular in 1976 when the song "Junk Food Junkie" reached the top of the charts.

Junk food is the leading cause of obesity in the United States because of the over-consumption of sweetened cereals, canned sodas, candy, processed food and fast foods.

Did you know:

A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and that the metal in the can cost more than the ingredients (which is mostly additives, sugar and caffeine).

The average American consumes more sugar in two weeks than a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year.

Corn dextrin, a common thickener used in junk food, is also the glue on envelopes.

The creamy middle of a twinkie is not cream at all, but mostly shortening.

All of the additives and preservatives used in junk food, such as common food dyes and sodium benzoate, can cause children to become hyperactive and easily distracted.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on junk food eaters, 84 percent ate no high fiber, 82 percent ate no cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower (the real cancer fighters), 49 percent ate no vegetables other than potatoes and 41 percent ate no fruit.

Sugar sales on a yearly average generate approximately $230 million.

Of the $7 billion spent on food advertising last year, only 4 percent of all advertising by food manufacturing was spent on basic staples like poultry and vegetables.

Nestle Purina Pet Care spent more than $29.7 million last year on ONE cat food product. And what is wrong with this picture?

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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