Saturday, 3 November 2012

What is 'junk food'?

Take a look at this article

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!


  1. Marina
    I was about to comment on stress blog but I find my self reading that excellent blog .
    What on earth did We(ED victims)do in this life to see ,hear what pressure on us and on our health.What can we do to have people think broadly and wisely before sending a message to public that may cause harm.
    I as I am pushing my self to the limit to recovery find this move offensive to me and I agree with your blog.
    From my experience as ED victim ,no taxes,money,pressure or temptaion can make people change their way of life UNLESS they choose to live in a certain way and not the other.
    I belive people will eat more chochlate even it becomes more expensive

    Keep up the excellent job Marina
    I am an example of your influence and I am still going on my recovery journey


  2. Wow
    How these doctors think?
    I do not believe this comes from medical doctors.
    Look at smoking or alcohol.Does raising price stop any one from smoking or alcohol.I bet none.
    Let me call this is a stupid move

  3. This move is a failure.
    You are right,all these foods are avaible in vending machine much expensive and people buy them(expensive or not they get them if they want.
    I agree with your comments
    keep up


  4. How dare those doctors to tell us thei is junk food or not.
    Choclate ,chips etc all healthy foods as long as we have balanced diet according to our Canadian food guide.
    What is wrong if you take a snack of chochlate or chips.My mother has diabetes and her doctors always advise her take 3 meals and 3 snacks and the sncaks can be cholate bar Chips bag, bagel,Chabati ,bread and butter,fruit salads ,youghurt and fruits etc.
    Wake up politicians wearing the masks of doctors.

    I admire your courage and I believ you are very talented and more deserving
    to address this
    L Y
    Now in Toronto

  5. Hi Marina
    As you know I am a medical student.
    I agree with you ,you can not change any behaviour just by pressure them or making life more harder on them.
    I think their point may be related to morbid obesity(BMI more than 40) is more common in poor population that not by choice ,they eat these food because very cheaper.We know fruits and vegatible are more expensive that chips and cookies and even donuts .
    We know whole wheat is more expensive that white bread,white rice and white pasta.
    We know organic foods are more expensive.
    I agree they are politicians supported but not doctors who endorse healthy change and moderation.
    Now all organiztions endorse health in all sizes by helping people to choose live healthy and eat every thing in moderation.

    Good blog Marina


  6. I agree this a move to raise tax at the expensive of people who enjoy certain foods and not a move to treat obesity


  7. That is a weird idea
    I will enjoy my choclate not matter how much it cost.
    Go to hell you idiot doctors

  8. I never know that junk equal garabge .I thought junk = not healthy for ill people as diabetics and for morbidly fat people .
    But if you are right(as always) they would be dead wrong to till us some of our food we eat and enjoy every day is garbage

  9. These are garabge foods??

    Shame on you politician doctors


  10. My daughter
    I do not know how dare those doctors to call the food of life (gift of God)junk.
    I enjoy eating any of them.
    I agree with what you said and I think it is all about find a way to raise taxes.
    We have enough from media and politics
    I pray for you this sunday and every day so that Almighty may bless you and help you in your journey of recovery and bless you with internal peace.

    Sunday priest

  11. Junk or not I love all of them and I enjoy all of them.Look at me,I am healthy and strong as a horse.


  12. You doctors care only about money and raising taxes on our food we like is an example.Shame on you doctors taxes


  13. You know all politics and media are to be blamed for ED.You see on one hand all commercials and you see on other hands wrong messages send to us from celibrities and politicians and even doctors.
    So what can we do?
    Be silent and suck it up?
    I think what I do for my self is making sure I am completely recovered and not affected mentally or emotionally with what others say or behave and consider this as their opinion.
    Also as those people spoke up about their opinion ,We also have the right to voice our opinion and to tell them clearly.Please watch what you say.Food ,all foods are healthy.People may behave wrong but all foods are good
    The most imporatnt for us Marina is we are free from ED slavery and we choose to enjoy all foods and live well.
    My best

    Recovered ED victim

  14. My Love
    If you one time meet me ,you know how much I enjoy all my foods in moderation.I eat 6 times a day and I enjoy all my snacks including what doctors mention"junk".
    You know I am a nurse student and I know what is good for me when and what .
    I try to forget when I was depressed(dating 3 girls in arow and all were immature) and I could not enjoy any food or intertainment.
    Now I am endorsing happiness and enjoyment in lives of all I talk to.
    You are a hope to others .
    Love you for ever


  15. We really need to have good discretion about what we hear and see on TV


  16. Listen
    I will continue to eat what I want,how much I want ,any time I want and I will enjoy all the foods.God made it for us to nourish and enjoy.As you said ,trypotophan is a relaxaing and rewarding amino acid.

    High School
    Fort Erie,On

  17. I wish I can eat every thing around me but I have to avoid wheat,barley,and rice because I have celiac disease.
    However I avoid it for medical reason not because they are bad foods.
    God made all for life .I agree with you.


  18. Hi Marina.
    Since when We label foods as good ones and bad ones.
    That is dead wrong.
    Eat every thing in moderation to get all the nutrition your body needs.
    Those doctors see things through Tube vision and they ignore the fact that people are different and also circumstances are different.
    I think they are wrong and their move is going to fail.
    For majority of people I believe they eat every thing in moderation and have healthy life.
    Thank you for shedding the light on things that We hear and see very day and We do not think about them

    A Thankful mother

  19. I am a political science student and I complete denounce this move.
    I myself eat 6 times daily any food I want and I am very healthy and muscular.


  20. What bad food they are talking about
    My lovely Pizza ,my favourivte bar of chocolate,my afternoon tea with my cookie or donuts.
    Shame on those idiot docs

  21. I reviewed that move and I am pleaseed to say 62% of those surveyed strongly refuse this move .Those who agree believ that poor people buy cheaper foods and so if raise taxes on those food will not buy.
    May be trus if other foods are cheaper.

  22. People only only change when they feel positive about change and negative about not change.
    So money ,pressure ,or control will not change people habits.
    Work with people to have them make the right choice for their own health is the psot effective way ,not raising taxes


  23. How dare to call our food we eat and enjoy junk or garabage .
    However I do not think they mean garabage ,but they mean foods that not suitable for certain people with sepacil health issue as diabetic
    Same like milk for lactose intolerence and bread for gluten intolerance (celiac disease)

    S C
    South Carolina


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