Junk Food Vs. Healthy Food

Written by Sindhu Koganti

Who doesn’t want to taste the delicious yet attractive junk food? We know they are highly processed and contain unhealthy fats. But still, junk food always wins the race over healthy food items. We often give preference to taste and neglect the nutritional value of foods.

Junk food doesn’t contain the essential nutrients and causes various health problems in the long run. Hence, choose foods that contain healthy fats and nutrients that offer you good health and well-being. In this article, we have discussed the difference between healthy and junk food, the benefits of healthy eating, and foods that are bad for your health. Take a look!

The Difference Between Healthy And Unhealthy Foods

Before diving deeper into the differences between healthy and unhealthy food, let’s be clear about a few aspects. on a few things. What exactly does junk and healthy food refer to? Healthy food contains good fats and nutrients that are vital for your body. Healthy food items offer your body the strength and the capacity to fight against various diseases. Whereas But junk food is a highly processed food and contains a high amount of calories. These foods are, harmful to your health. Most of the junk foods are available as the packaged items.

The difference between healthy and unhealthy food often depends on their calorie and fat content. So, it is always better to know how to distinguish healthy foods from their unhealthier counterparts. Following is a list of factors that you can check to keep yourself away from unhealthy/junk food.

1. Type Of Oil Used In Food: Makes A Big Difference

There are many varieties of cooking oils on the market. But do you know which is the best among those? The key difference between unhealthy and healthy oils is the amount of saturated and unsaturated fats they contain. The oils with a high percentage of unsaturated fats are considered a healthier option. Olive oil and sunflower oil are low on saturated fats and are considered healthy. Whereas oils with high saturated fats like palm oil, butter, and lard are considered unhealthy. Generally, junk foods are loaded with a high amount of saturated fats and are unhealthy to eat.

2. Nutrient Value Of The Foods: Shows Its Impact On Your Health

Healthy foods are rich in nutrients that are essential for your body. Nutrients like calcium, fiber, potassium, and vitamin D are available in leafy vegetables, dairy products, nuts, fruits, eggs, fish, whole grains, and legumes. Junk foods are rich in calories, but they don’t provide you with the vital nutrients. Also, people who consume junk foods frequently may have nutritional deficiencies.

3. Refined Or Unrefined Foods: Choose The Best One!

During refining, lots of enzymes, vitamins, and fibers are lost from the oils. The refined food becomes unhealthy to some extent. The vegetable oils are originally good for health if consumed reasonably. Usually, the oils are partially hydrogenated to increase their shelf life. It makes them into less healthy trans-fats, which are unhealthy. The processed oil has disastrous long-term effects on the body. So, always try to use unrefined and unprocessed ingredients for maintaining better health.

4. Are You Consuming Your Daily Quota Of Vital Nutrients?

Do you know how many people around the people have nutrient deficiencies? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 2 billion people worldwide are estimated to be deficient in key vitamins and minerals (1). Intake of foods rich in vital nutrients provides good health and also lowers the risk of developing health issues. At the same time, junk food has the opposite impact on your health. Fast food consumption increases the risk of metabolic syndrome by increasing triglyceride levels. Fast food also triggers blood sugar and blood pressure spikes. Such food also increases the risk of obesity leading to cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes (2), (3).

5. Which Type Of Food Has More Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are essential to defend the body from free radicals, which can cause cancer. Healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and beans are rich sources of antioxidants. In contrast, junk food does not contain enough quantities of antioxidants essential for your body.

6. Are You Eating Healthy Snack Items?

Most of us tend to hog on snacks. Hence, it is important to choose healthy snacks. It is healthier to have crunchy vegetables like celery and carrots with a low-fat dip instead of potato chips or French fries with an onion dip. Nuts and air popcorn are healthier than processed snacks like chips.

7. Problems Associated With Junk Food

Junk food rich in fat and sugar can be addictive. The blend of sugar and fat is mostly linked with addictive symptoms, including loss of self-control over food. Regular consumption of junk foods can further increase your cravings. Also, the added sugars, high fats, and simple carbohydrates in junk food can increase the risk of obesity and other diseases.

These are the differences between healthy and unhealthy foods. In the following section, we will further explore the benefits of eating healthy.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Healthy?

  1. Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables or whole wheat bread are high in fiber. Fiber releases energy slowly and keeps our stomach full for a longer time. It keeps you from overeating (4). High-fiber foods also keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy, thus controlling your cholesterol and blood sugar levels (5).
  1. The protein from lean meat and nuts improves your brain function. The antioxidants and nutrients in fruits and fresh veggies can influence the hormones responsible for mental health (6). Try to take foods rich in omega-3 fats that can influence your brain health and mental well-being (7). They hold all the nutrients intact, unlike fried foods which drain the essential nutrients.
  1. Healthy food is not processed. Hence, it is low in calories and rich in essential nutrients. It provides your body with exactly what it needs to maintain good health. Having multi-grain bread, sprouts, low-fat dairy items (like skimmed milk, homemade tofu, or curd), and fruits will give you a good amount of nutrition.
  1. Healthy food is low in calories and trans-fat, and can help control your weight. If you are overweight or obese, consult a doctor or a nutritionist at the earliest and strictly follow a high fiber, low-calorie diet.
  1. A daily diet of healthy and nutritional food will also promote your heart health. It helps regulate your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels.
  1. Foods high in fat and sugar can cause dry skin and dull hair (8). Nutrient-rich foods can give you a youthful appearance (9).

There are some foods that are bad for your health. Let’s find out those in the following section.

Foods That Are Bad For Your Health

  • Soft drinks: Consumption of soft drinks with high sugar content could cause type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dental erosion (10), (11). Sugary drinks are harmful to your health. There is a rising prevalence of obesity, mainly in children, with soft drink consumption (12). Also, when you drink soft drinks, your brain doesn’t register them as food. Hence, you could end up consuming more calories.

The high fructose concentration in sugary beverages leads to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (13). Added sugar is associated with cardiovascular disease (14). A decrease in sugary beverage consumption will reduce the prevalence of obesity and its related diseases (15).

  • French fries: French fries and potato chips have more trans-fat and salt and are associated with larger weight gain (16). These fried foods are high in calories too. Deep-fried potato foods contain large amounts of acrylamides. Acrylamide is a proven carcinogen in rodents and has a positive association with human cancer (17).
  • Pizzas: Pizza is the favorite junk food for many around the globe. It is processed food with more unhealthy ingredients and calories. The highly refined grain products in pizza have been linked with weight gain. Regular consumption of these types of foods is linked with heart problems and obesity (18).
  • Pastries: Pastries are one of the favorite baked items for many. These are made from hydrogenated fats that are unhealthy (19). These are sweet and tasty but contain many preservatives and no essential nutrients.
  • Sandwiches: Sandwiches are high-fat breakfast items that have a negative impact on your heart. The high fat in warm bread slices, cheese, and processed meat can slow down blood flow in the arteries (20). These foods can impact blood vessel function and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Burgers: Burgers are high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and salts. The high sodium content in burgers can elevate blood pressure (21), (22). This condition may also lead to stroke and kidney diseases.
  • Processed Meat: Processed meat intake is linked with colon cancer (23). It can also be linked to coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke (24).

White bread, low-fat yogurt, high-calorie coffee, ice creams, most fruit juices, and full cream cheese could also negatively impact your health.

Conclusion

Healthy, mindful eating is the key to achieving a healthy body. Junk food can tempt you with its appearance and taste. But the ingredients in junk foods can lead to the development of many chronic diseases. Substitute junk foods with fresh fruits and veggies. Get adequate rest and exercise regularly, and your future you will be thankful.

24 Sources

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Sindhu Koganti is a Biotechnology graduate and has been in the writing field for over 4 years now. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has hands-on experience in writing articles and press releases on Life Sciences and Healthcare, Food and Beverages, and Chemicals and Materials. When she’s not writing, she loves watching movies and listening to music. She also enjoys traveling.
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