What is 'junk food'?

Take a look at this article http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-physicians-call-for-junk-food-tax-1.1006929.

Basically, some health-care providers in Canada believe that we need to start putting an extra 'tax' on 'junk food'. They think that this will discourage people from buying thes foods, so they think that it will stop or decrease obeisity. But I have some problems with this idea.

Obesity is a problem - I am not denying that. But is making a tax specially for 'junk foods' the way to treat obesity? First, what IS a junk food? The workers say that this includes 'desserts' like cakes, pies, cookies, chips, chocolate, candy, muffins, etc.

But is that JUNK? I don't think so. Sure, they are not your typical and natural fruits and vegetables. And yes, they might just contain more calories, sugar, or fat than other foods. But does that make them JUNK? Junk, defined by any dictionary, is simply another word for 'garbage' or 'trash'. So is that saying that these foods are trash?

I have a big problem with this. Desserts, sweets, pastries, etc are GOOD. They taste good. And research has shown that these sweet foods can actually increase the absorption of an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps your body make serotonin. Serotonin is a 'feel good' chemical in our bodies that regulates our mood. So in one way, eating desserts is food because it satisfies our cravings. In another way, it can actually inrease our serotinin levels.

Another problem with what these doctors want is that they have no proof that this will actually reduce obesity. So what if this extra tax makes desserts/sweets more expensive? People just might be willing to spend that extra money on them, considering how much enjoyment we get out of them. So, this idea might not actually reduce obesity - it will just take the money out of our pockets. If you want to eat a chocolate bar, you will pay for it - no matter how pricey it seems. Think of vending machines: their products are more expensive than what you would pay in a store, but if you want something NOW, will you not get it because of the price in the vending machine? Of course you will.

But my biggest problem with this is that it is fueling into the idea that some foods are bad. Think about people with ED: what is this telling them? That they should be restricting because desserts aer JUNK? Or even people without ED - what does this extra 'tax' on these foods tell people? That they are somehow being punished for buying these foods - so they should not because these foods are BAD? Is this not conflicting with the idea that all things are food in moderation, and that you can enjoy everything if you are living a balanced lifestyle? This can have so many bad impacts, especially on children who are confused by the messages around food. One minute we are saying to have everything in moderation and love your body, the next second we are making people pay more to eat desserts/chips, etc and telling them that this is JUNK?!

Maybe I am taking it too far. Maybe this really can help obesity. But I think that there are many other safer and more PRODUCTIVE ways of helping to stop obesity. Like excercising. Eating in moderation. Watching how much you eat. Being mindful of alocohol. The list goes on and on. These ways can be effective, and they encourage people to live healthy LIFESTYLES, not to stop eating one certain type of food because it is 'junk'.

Phew! I just realized I was so mad, I have been smacking my fingers on my keyboard as I was typing!

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