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Junk Food Dilemma


If you find warnings about food every where you turn, I will not be surprised. Starting from your grand mother, mother, aunty and all other elders will warn you against your diet. They will say junk food is bad for health and you need to slow down on them. At one point it may seem like that people think all that you ever eat is junk food.

But for you (especially if you are very young) you diet seems perfect. Your favorite hamburger with fries will have green leaves, tomatoes, meat, bread, and potato fried in oil so it looks quite balanced because carbohydrate, fiber, protein, fat and vitamins all seem to be there.

So why is everybody making a huge fuss over it calling it ‘junk food’? The matter of the fact is hamburgers and other quick fix take-away food contains ingredients that are over used to bring out a certain taste. With the help of such ingredients, the manufacturers are able to cover up for the empty calorie diet they sell. In addition, some green leaves and tomatoes are used to decorate, so as to add a ‘healthy’ look to the food; after all people have this impeccable belief that anything ‘vegetable’ is great.

But if you analyze closely, such food have low nutritional content in them. They are mostly made up of saturated fat, salt, sugar and food ingredients. Among these, monosodium glutamate and tartrazine have been recognized as the main culprits that make food less nutritious.

Monosodium glutamate is also commonly known as flavor enhancer 621, MSG, Ajinomoto, Vetsin, Accent, Sodium salt and Glutamic acid. Tartrazine on the other hand is commonly known as E102 and FD&C Yellow 5. It is mostly used as a food coloring & additive agent and is known to be produced from coal tar.

So you may be curious to know what type of food contains these ingredients the most. When it comes to tartrazine; soft drinks, instant food like puddings and flavored chips and confectionery tops the list. Other foods include cereals and cake mixes.

If you consider things such as chewing gum, bubble gum, marzipan, jellies, gelatin and mustard pastes, ice creams and certain noodles; they are food with very low or no nutritional value. Even some rice items such as paella and risotto, puddings, custards and soups can be surprisingly low in nutritional value although tangy in taste.

So remember that looks and tastes can be very deceiving when it comes to any sort of food, no matter if they are classified as ‘junk food’ or not.