Junk Food

What Makes a Food "Junk?" Here are 8 ingredients to avoid


Do you love the way your body looks?

(Let’s keep this superficial and ignore how you feel for right now.)

As a glamazon, I want you to roar a resounding YES!

But honestly? Most women answer no. It’s a tough subject. And a sad one.

If you long for a leaner line, you are far from alone. And you know what else you may share with the masses? A pernicious habit that could be holding you back.

I’m talking about junk food.

Junk food isn’t awful for you because of its calorie content—because you’re not concerned with calories, right? It has more serious repercussions such as messing with your digestion and your blood sugar and causing chronic inflammation. Because it’s usually high in sugar and/or starchy carbs, it also leads to cravings—usually for more junk food. Ugh. Talk about a vicious cycle.

Let’s keep this very simple. Junk food is not a benign treat. Actually, i’ts not a treat at all. It’s doing you NO favors.

The easiest way to avoid it is by not buying it in the first place. But that means you first need to know how to recognize it.

8 common ingredients to avoid

Really, there are too many to list. If you don’t recognize an ingredient as food, don’t eat it. But here are some of the heavy-hitters that you’ll see over and over again in overly processed, nutrient-deprived foods (aka junk).

Sugar in all of its forms Check out this PDF to see most of its aliases. Read this if you want to be horrified about how much of it you may be consuming

Artificial sweeteners They can raise your risk for diabetes even more than regular sugar can

“Vegetable” oils which are really industrial seed oils These are probably even worse for you than sugar, especially when it comes to causing inflammation. The main ones to look for are canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, safflower oils, sunflower oil, and grapeseed oil

Hydrogenated (or paritally-hydrogenated) oils Same effects as the industrial seed oils described above, but manufacturers love them because they’re cheap and keep your food fresh longer (think: Twinkies)

Artificial coloring These often have a # after them (such as Red #2). They’ve been shown to disrupt the immune system leading to gut and neurobehavioral disorders.While the jury’s still out about whether they cause cancer or not, foods that are healthy won’t add them.

Sodium benzoate This preservative is often added to acidic foods and sodas, but has been linked to cancer development and immune problems

Carrageenan This is used to stabilize and thicken certain processed foods, but unfortunately it’s also been linked to ulcers and certain cancers

Gums (guar, xanthan, etc.) These are generally used to thicken and stabilize foods as well, but can cause digestive upset in sensitive individuals. Do you want to take the risk?

If you don’t want to worry about remembering all of these, EAT REAL FOOD. (I think I’ve mentioned this before.)

As they say, You are what you eat. And you are NOT junk…

Do You Know How Much Sugar You’re Really Consuming? It’s Probably More Than You Think

Do You Know How Much Sugar You’re Really Consuming? It’s Probably More Than You Think

Imagine this: Take a quarter measuring cup, fill it to the brim with sugar, and then eat the whole thing in one sitting. Delicious, right?

Disgusting is more like it. Even as an intensely sweet-toothed kid, I wouldn’t have been able to do it (a teaspoon was my crunchy, decadent limit). But guess what? That’s exactly how much sugar is in a 16-ounce Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato. Sweet drinks are one thing, but did you know that sugar is hiding in processed and packaged foods that aren’t remotely considered desserts or treats? Gulp.

No, You DON’T Need to Count Calories to Get the Body Shape You Want. Here’s What to Do Instead

No, You DON’T Need to Count Calories to Get the Body Shape You Want. Here’s What to Do Instead

You’ve heard it a million times. In order to lose weight, all you need to remember is that calories in should be less than calories out. It's another way of saying "Eat less, move more."

There’s a whole industry built around this belief. While some programs are finally breaking free from this paradigm, there are still plenty of books, apps, and websites dedicated to calorie-counting. Just the thought of having to keep a running tally of them is depressing.

Do you really believe your body is a simple account ledger with income on one side and expenses on the other? You–and your body–are more sophisticated than that. Read on.

You want freedom from cravings? Here are 4 simple steps

You want freedom from cravings? Here are 4 simple steps

Let’s start with this: Losing weight is an unnecessary goal.

Losing body fat is more important, but lest you think I’m going to get into semantics, even that shouldn’t be a goal. Think of losing body fat as a side effect. Let me explain.

If you believe you need to slim down for your health, then focus on the steps you need to actually improve your health. Make that your goal. Don’t worry about the number on the scale (in fact, please throw it out!).

Feeling "Hangry?" How You Can Avoid That Awful Feeling

Feeling "Hangry?" How You Can Avoid That Awful Feeling

You haven't eaten in hours. You're struggling to concentrate on your latest work project, but an escalating mix of hunger and anger has hijacked your brain. You just can't cope. You need a caramel latte, stat. Or a "healthy" protein bar. Or even a handful of almonds. Whatever it is, if you don't eat soon, things are going to get very ugly...

Does that sound like you? I know I used to feel jittery, anxious, and unfocused when I was forced to go hours without food. My patience would drop to nil. It felt absolutely awful.

That's no way to live. The fact is, you're made to fast, remember? Humans can comfortably go for hours and hours without eating. It's actually beneficial for your health. Doing so isn't fun but it shouldn't be "hanger"-inducing, either.