Good Food vs. Junk Food

Apples vs. Donuts

What makes an apple healthier than a donut?  What really is the difference between a food that builds health, and one that doesn’t?  It’s an important distinction, since many children today consume over half their diet from highly processed, empty calorie foods; not just at home, but even from junk food at school. Listen hear to learn more:

Hear more on the difference between healthy foods and junk foods:  Click here to listen

Junk Food Nation

When any nation switches from a healthy unrefined diet to one of junk food and fast food, obesity rates increase dramatically, and continue to increase as the national diet worsens.  Why does this happen?  Ultimately, weight management is about the classic equation of calories in, versus calories out.  When you start consuming processed foods, calorie intake goes up.  This is because processed foods tend to lack fiber and be higher in fat, both of which make them denser in calories.  They are also deficient in many nutrients, so the body continually craves the real nutrition it’s not getting.  The calorie out part of the equation also suffers, since with low nutrient levels, it’s difficult to have the energy to be active and burn calories.

Listen to more on obesity rates:     Click here to listen

The Healthy Eating Pyramid

Copyright © 2008. For more information about The Healthy Eating Pyramid, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.thenutritionsource.org, and Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, by Walter C. Willett, M.D. and Patrick J. Skerrett (2005), Free Press/Simon & Schuster Inc.

The impact of junk food on children:

Significantly high proportions of poor children suffer from deficient dietary needs and have intakes below 70 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowances for 14 out of 16 vital nutrients. This type of undernutrition triggers an array of health problem in children, many of which can become chronic. It can lead to weight loss, stunted growth, weakened resistance to infection and in the worst cases, early death. The effects can be particularly devastating in the first few years of life, when the body is growing rapidly and the need for calories and nutrients is greatest. Malnutrition and undernutrition in early life can also limit long-term intellectual development. Several of these problems can lead to irreparable damage to young children, yet increases in wholesome nutritious food, may reserve many of the damages. Without help these children will be unable to perform in school and reach their full potential, lowering their likelihood of being productive adults in the work force. Hunger robs children of getting an education, often their only chance to get out of these conditions. The chart below demonstrates how poverty and malnutrition alters intellectual development.

MALNUTRITION HINDERS COGNITIVE ABILITIES through several interacting routes. Scientific American, February 1996.
Effects of malnutrition on children.