What is “Junk Food?” Most agree that the term began in the 1960s but really became part of our common language due to the 1976 chart topping song, “Junk Food Junkie.”

The most common definition most people recognize is, “it’s bad for you.” Little to no nutritional value, loaded with sugar, sodium, fat and caffeine. Junk food transcends all food groups and meals.

Breakfast sandwiches from fast food restaurants, kids sugar soaked cereals, cookies, chips of all kinds, French fries, hot dogs, bacon mushroom cheeseburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, soft drinks, doughnuts and pastries and that double chocolate fudge cheesecake for dessert. At the end of the day some American’s have consumed over 10,000 empty calories.

Is it any wonder that instances of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, and more trips to the dentists, have skyrocketed in recent years?

Fun Facts About Junk Food

  • Your body needs fats to function properly but they need to be the right kinds of fats. Junk food fats make you hungrier over several days adding to overeating.
  • If you plop your kids down in front of Saturday morning kid’s shows about 80 percent of the ads they’ll see will be for sugar packed junk food.
  • Americans love their candy. It’s a $23 billion a year market and sales continue to increase in spite of obesity and diabetes numbers.
  • Before Hostess went out of business 500 million Twinkies rolled off their conveyor belts. For all you trivia buffs out there, “What is the principle ingredient in the Twinkie cream filling?” Yep, it’s Crisco vegetable shortening.
  • Many junk foods require “thickening agents.” The substance of choice is, of course, Corn Dextrin. The same stuff is also used in the glue on envelopes and postage stamps. Taste familiar?
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is common among young women who consume a high junk food diet.
  • Baby food has to be safe right? Some baby foods have just as much, or more, of bad fats and sugars according to a survey by the Children’s Food Campaign.
  • Halloween is the biggest candy day of the year but Easter is right up there too. Easter candy is a $2 billion a year business. Easter bunnies lead the list with sales of 90 million, followed by 16 billion jellybeans and 700 million of my personal favorite, marshmallow “Peeps.”
  • Do you miss the “strawberry” in your Three Musketeers bar? Originally this candy favorite had three flavors. Vanilla and chocolate is all we have left because strawberry was dropped years ago when the price went up to high to make the bar profitable.

Some Final Thoughts

Junk food has been around for a long time. The United Kingdom gets the credit for vending machines selling gum at train stations in the 1880s. By the mid-1920s there was one vending machine for every 100 people in the US.

I don’t know about you but I’m getting hungry. Wonder if Wendy’s is still open?