What does junk food mean?

What is Junk Food

Junk food, also colloquially, “ fast food ” or “ fast food ”, is a pejorative term for “a food high in calories but with reduced levels of nutrients ”.

Junk food often contains high levels of saturated fat , salt, or sugar, and numerous food additives such as monosodium glutamate and tartrazine; at the same time, it lacks protein, vitamins and dietary fibers, among other healthy attributes.

It has become popular with manufacturers because it is relatively cheap to produce , has a long shelf life, and may not even require refrigeration.

It is popular around the world because it is easy to find, requires little or no preparation before consumption, and can display a wide range of flavors.

Around the world, junk food consumption has been associated with obesity , coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and tooth decay. There are also concerns about marketing to children.

Classification of Junk Foods

What constitutes unhealthy food can be confusing and, according to critics, is influenced by class, culture and moral judgment.

Hamburger and fries-type fast food provided by companies such as McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, and Pizza Hut are labeled as junk food .

Other foods, such as white rice, baked potatoes, and white bread are also not considered junk food despite having reduced nutritional content compared to whole foods.

Similarly, in the United States, breakfast cereals are traditionally considered healthy , but can contain high levels of sugar , salt, and fat.

Health Effects

One of the main consequences of eating junk food is that the more you consume, the less likely you are to follow a healthy diet.

This eating pattern is related to the increased incidence of obesity and its complications.

People who eat large amounts of nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Junk food fans can experience significant increases in cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as weight gain.

Junk Food in Childhood

In childhood, the intake of this type of food is one of the main causes of obesity and, therefore, its sale has been prohibited in schools.

Although everyone knows that it is not healthy, it is very common to replace a proper meal with less nutritious snacks.

And the consumption of foods considered junk food does not happen only in bars or vending machines. Margarines, oils and sugars also fit into this food category and should be consumed in moderation.


Around the world, junk food has been the subject of government campaigns aimed at restoring healthy food consumption.

In the UK, ads targeting children are banned during child protection times.

The ban included marketing with celebrities, cartoon characters, and health and nutrition claims.

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