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My personal preference is to refer to it as “unhealthy food”, but it is what it is! If there’s no junk food in your house, you’re so much less likely to put in the effort to go get it. Make it your policy. Refuse to buy unhealthy food at the grocery store. A ‘Visual cue’ such as: “Out of sight, out of mind!” written on a dry erase board in you kitchen can help.
Understanding the Impact of Unhealthy Eating Habits In today’s globalized world, unhealthy food can be found everywhere. We literally see it everywhere we go – in grocery stores, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and on television. It’s positioned in stores, and advertised on TV so often to make it tempting…very tempting.
Typically, “junk food” refers to foods that contain little nutritional value but lots of calories. However, opinions on what constitutes unhealthy food can vary. For example, some might consider pizza to be in the category, while others would argue that it can be a healthy option if made with ingredients like whole-wheat crust and vegetables.
I often mention in my Wellness Academy classes that one of the main issues with unhealthy food is that it is low in satiation value. Low satiation value means that people tend not to feel full after eating it. This can lead to overeating, particularly when unhealthy food replaces more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. Snack food and fast food are two categories of junk food that are particularly problematic, and why I say: None of that in my house.
Commercially-prepared snack foods like chips, candy bars, and cookies are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Similarly, fast food meals like french fries, chicken nuggets, and soda are often low in fiber and high in fat and sugar. One study even suggests that the nature of fast food itself may encourage overeating, due to factors like its high palatability, calorie density, and low fiber content.
It’s impact goes well beyond just physical health; it can also affect mental health. Advertisements for junk food often target children with foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt and low in nutritional value. Watching these ads has been shown to increase children’s consumption of junk food. To counteract these effects, try to choose restaurants that offer healthier options. Look for products low in sugar and processed ingredients, limit your TV viewing, and keep telling yourself: “No”.