What is Junk Food Anyway?
“You make such inane comments sometimes,” accused my boss during a review of my morning radio show. “Funny is good. Inane loses people.” I thought, but didn’t say, “You and I just do not have the same sense of humor,” However; at the time, I couldn’t remember the meaning of the word. I assumed it was not complimentary.
The synonyms could be listed as silly, foolish, stupid, fatuous, idiotic, ridiculous, ludicrous, absurd, senseless, asinine, frivolous, and vapid. Personally, I like absurd. Silly is OK, but the rest just leave me with negative feelings. Absurd seems to have entertainment value. The others may as well, but absurd has certainly emerged as the entertainment choice of many.
Watch TV or listen to the radio. Absurdities abound. Hosts and moderators, DJ’s and newscasters, producers and script writers have all reached for the edge to attract and hold on to as many viewers and listeners as possible. You might think that some have even gone over the edge, but the edge just crawls forward into a dismal swamp of junk.
Speaking of which, some bright PR person, feeding the media frenzy, declared a recent day as National Junk Food Day. Like, we need a day to memorialize the largest daily habit of an entire society? That’s like saying National Breathing Day or National Sleep-all-day Day, though some people would greatly enjoy that one. Really, National Junk Food Day?
What is junk food anyway? No, we’re not speaking of the tee shirt company. Typically, we’re including commercially prepared, packaged foods from the supermarket, the corner convenience store, and the candy counter at the multi-screen theatre. However, the unfortunate assumption is that if it were, bad for us, the FDA or some other government agency would not allow its sale to the public. Wrong!
Here’s where much of the mis-information about food becomes inane. (Remember— silly, foolish, stupid, fatuous, idiotic, ridiculous, ludicrous, absurd, senseless, asinine, frivolous, and vapid.) The cells in our bodies look for nutrition as fuel. Begin here with an understanding that the cells look for essential amino acids, enzymes, natural vitamins, and minerals. Processing foods to put them in a package squeezes, mashes, and cooks these substances out of the food-like material before it ever goes into the package.
Enzymes serve as the activators of nutrients headed for the cells. Heat kills the enzymes. When exposed to heat in the range of 107 degrees Fahrenheit or more, enzymes cannot survive. Have you ever noticed how quickly a slice of apple turns brown? The enzymes are dying because of their overexposure to oxygen, similar to what happens when they’re heated. Choosing fresh fruits and veggies for meals and snacks provides ample nutrition, the cell fuel your body needs.
Amazingly, the human body can survive with precious little nutrition. Thriving for peak energy and optimal health takes more, but a few nutrients per day will keep us alive. Fortunately, for people on the SAD (Standard American Diet), residual nutritive contents sustain them, even though the foods prove to be almost empty.
You may have heard the term empty calories. It simply means the ratio of nutrition measures so low that our digestive system and cells labor under a heavy burden just to keep us clean of junk and toxins. There’s not enough there to take us to optimal health.
Can you guess I just don’t see the reason to glamorize junk food? If we outlawed junk food, the economy would collapse and many people would have severe withdrawal from the sugar and salt addictions they’re hooked on. If we all demanded more fresh fruits and vegetables and bought less packaged foods, we would be healthier and the farmers and food manufacturers would get the message. Maybe that’s the real value of celebrating National Junk Food Day, so that we can focus even more attention on real food.
What do you think? If you really measure what you eat every day, how much junk do you choose? I’m a healthy guy, and I still eat more junk than you might imagine. I like it. I enjoy crackers and cheese, an occasional cup of ice cream, and a lot of other items that qualify as junk food. Regardless, I think the memorialization of National Junk Food Day is totally inane. How about you?