Junk Food Is The Best Food

I was looking after my brother’s house last week, and I didn’t want to cook anything, so I ate what’s called “junk food” all week. Cheeseburgers, donner kebabs, Chinese roast pork fried rice, and lots of biscuits.

And I loved it.

And apparently so did lots of other people, since there were queues at every outlet.

Actually, I’ve got no idea what “junk food” is. Nor do I really care. But a quick search turned up this:

It’s simple—there are two kinds of foods:

Healthy food:

It’s real, naturally occurring, unadulterated and unprocessed, and nutrient-rich. If you can grow or raise it, it’s real. Included are fresh fruits and vegetables, lentils and beans, eggs, real cheese (see, “Milk proteins: The Good and the Bad”), whole pieces of meat (such as fish, beef, chicken), nuts, seeds, and similar items. Consuming these foods provide a great potential for both immediate and long-term health benefits.

Junk food is everything else.

The mention of “nutrient-rich” in the above passage had me wondering what “nutrients” were. But there was no definition of what was or was not a “nutrient” in the entire piece. Clearly a “nutrient” is whatever you might imagine it to be.

Neither was there any definition of what was meant by foods being “processed” or “unprocessed”. Is cooking a form of “processing”? Is washing a form of “processing”? Is chopping up vegetables a form of “processing”? Or is it only “processing” when the washed, chopped, cooked food is put inside a can or cardboard box and sold in a supermarket for profit?

Nor for that matter was there any definition of “adulterated” and “unadulterated” foods. Do some manufacturers add poison to their food? If I sprinkle salt or sugar on something, does it become “adulterated”?

And what about “naturally occurring”? There was no definition of that either. As far as I know, food manufacturers always use “naturally occurring” foods. If they sell apple sauce, it’s made with “naturally occurring” apples, rather than synthetic apples that look like apples but aren’t apples. I think they wash the apples, chop them, cook them, and finally put them in a can or a jar, maybe with some preservatives (e.g. sugar) to keep them from spoiling.

And last and not least, what’s “real” food? Are there shops that sell “unreal” food?

So “real, naturally occurring, unadulterated and unprocessed, and nutrient-rich” is just a long string of meaningless adjectives. Or adjectives to which the reader is invited to supply his own meanings. They have zero information content.

“Junk food” is itself problematic, the piece candidly admits:

defining junk food has been a difficult task

but

In defining junk food, the worst ones are most obvious—chips and cookies, coke and colas, and other sugared liquids, candy, and most other snacks.

What’s “obvious” about it? I don’t see anything obvious at all. I can’t see why chips and cookies should be the “worst”.

It seems the problem is with the “calories” that are in the “junk food”. Chris Snowdon has a new post –“Calories are the new tobacco”.  What are these “calories”?

Actually, I already know what a calorie is. It’s unit of energy or physical work. It’s the  amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. A Calorie or food calorie is 1000 times larger than a calorie. i.e. it’s the amount of energy needed to raise a kilogram of water by one degree C.

A kilogram of water has a volume equal to one litre or 1000 cc. The mugs of tea I drink all day hold about 250 cc of water, which weighs 250 gm. So to boil enough water for a mug of tea, raising it from 20°C room temperature to 100°C boiling point, I’d need 80 times 0.25, or 20 Calories.

According to McDonald’s there are 301 Calories in one of their cheeseburgers. That’s enough energy to boil 15 mugs of tea, if I were to dry out the cheeseburger and burn it.

But I don’t burn many cheeseburgers this way. I use them to supply me with the food energy to keep me alive, and perform physical work like walking and lifting things.

According to this website my sedentary Basal Metabolic Rate is 1441 Calories/day.  So I need 1441/301, or nearly 5 McDonald’s cheeseburgers a day.

McDonald’s cheeseburgers weigh 110 gm, which is 2.74 Calories/gm. The Cheeseburgers I’ve been buying this past week weigh about 225 gm, and assuming the same energy/gm as McDonald’s cheeseburgers, they contain 615 Calories, and I only need slightly over two of them each day. In fact I only ever bought one each day, and made up the shortfall with a variety of snacks.

And in fact this energy is what I primarily need every day. It’s what everybody needs. And clearly the cheeseburgers and biscuits and other snacks were supplying me with sufficient energy to meet my energy needs, because otherwise I would have found myself weak and listless. Food must contain energy, must contain calories. It doesn’t matter how “natural” or “unadulterated” or “unprocessed” or “real” it is, if it doesn’t contain energy it isn’t food.

Furthermore, my cheeseburgers came with a generous helping of “naturally occurring” mixed salad – lettuce, tomato, and cucumber – , and a little sweet chilli sauce, and a rectangular slice of orange cheese. So in addition to meeting my energy needs, I was receiving a dietary supplement that might well have been served to prevent the onset of scurvy.

And so I entirely fail to see why such food is described as “junk food”. I have lived off “junk food” for an entire week. And if I were cast away on an open boat for several months, and had only cheeseburgers and biscuits to eat, I am quite sure I would survived. I might even have enjoyed it.

My conclusion is that “junk food” is perfectly good food, but “disapproved food”. It’s food that’s been labelled as “junk”, and most likely libelled as “junk”. And there is no rhyme or reason for this disapproval, much like there is no rhyme or reason for the disapproval of everything else the disapprovers disapprove.

Calling cheap, high energy food “junk food” is a smear no different from calling cigarettes “cancer sticks”.

If you eat low calorie or no calorie food, you’re going to die. And anyone who tells you to eat low calorie or no calorie food is trying to kill you. High calorie food – “junk food” – is the best food: it gives you the biggest bang for your buck.

In other news:

After a weekend of bloodshed in two out of five actual or attempted terror attacks, President Obama’s spokesman said the U.S. is engaged in a “narrative battle” with the Islamic State.

“When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight — a narrative fight with them, a narrative battle,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told CNN’s “New Day” on Monday morning.

“And what ISIL wants to do is, they want to project that they are an organization that is representing Islam, in a fight, in a war against the West, in a war against the United States. That is a bankrupt, false narrative. It’s a mythology. And we have made progress in debunking that mythology.”

So that’s all right then.  It’s just a “narrative battle”. For a while back then I thought there were bombs exploding, and people getting hurt. But actually it was just ISIL running another one of their sneaky narrative attacks. Good to know there are smart people in the White House who can recognise a narrative attack when they see one, and launch the appropriate counter-narrative. I hope the US Navy is equipped with the best and most advanced counter-narratives for when Iranian gunboats make their next narrative attack in the Straits of Hormuz.

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About Frank Davis

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18 Responses to Junk Food Is The Best Food

  1. garyk30 says:

    Junk Food is just the choice in preference of foods.

    One choice of foods is just as valid as any other.

  2. Some other Tom says:

    This reminds me of a book I read years ago called ‘catching fire’ by Richard Wrangham. He talks about how ‘processed’ food actually is the only food really suitable for our digestive system and brain, although he means cooked food mostly and processed in terms of how cooking breaks food down as a result of it; proteins begin breaking down into amino acids and starches are converted into simpler forms or sugars. He talks about how people on raw food diets actually can (and need to) eat all day long, fantastic amounts of calories and still eventually wind up malnourished and losing weight. They simply can’t digest what they eat.

    I think some modern foods are over processed and are, for lack of a better term, too efficient to digest and that the amount needed to actually satisfy one from a caloric standpoint doesn’t correspond to the actual amount that feels satisfying to eat, so they are easily overeaten.

    I also think that some foods aren’t really foods; artificial sweeteners for example or fat substitutes. I truly believe that many problems arise from consuming things the human body has no ability to digest or cope with and it throws things out of whack…

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=trSRozVaco0

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    I’ve often noticed, when I’ve eaten a meal or something at health-conscious friends’ houses when they use, for example, something like low-fat cheese or low-sugar drinks or meat-substitute, like Quorn, or imitation sausages or anything along those lines, I find myself stuffing down loads and loads more of those things in order to try and feel satisfied by it, and as a result I usually end up eating lots and lots of calories (all these “healthy” foods, after all, still have a calorific value, even if it’s less than their “unhealthy” counterparts). Whereas if I have something very rich, or sweetened with sugar, or with real fat in it, I eat a very small amount of food (and thus, far fewer calories, even taking into account the higher calorific value per item) before I feel “full up” and don’t want to eat any more. I also find, just for the record, that soft drinks with artificial sweeteners give me the most godawful headache, although I’ve yet to work out whether it’s saccharine or Aspartame that is the culprit!

    • Frank Davis says:

      I inadvertently bought a packet of imitation cocktail sausages recently. They were in a transparent pack, and they looked exactly like sausages, and I neglected to read the description on the pack (until I eaten them all and was throwing the pack away) They actually tasted very like real sausages. But I ended up wondering what they were made of. What’s Quorn? Is it a bit like Soylent Green? It’s most certainly very highly “processed”, and therefore “unhealthy” (according to the piece quoted above).

      Perhaps it was an example of “unreal” food – food that looks like real food (i.e. real sausages) but isn’t really.

      • Joe L. says:

        What’s Quorn? … It’s most certainly very highly “processed”, and therefore “unhealthy”

        Exactly, Frank! But no, as with all other contemporary puritanical healthist ideology, the “processed foods” sham is rooted in doublethink. Creating food products from grains and other vegetable byproducts which are engineered to resemble various meats in appearance, texture and flavor obviously requires a tremendous amount of processing. However, these highly-processed foods are somehow deemed “healthy,” and you never hear them referred to as “processed” foods.

  4. Some French bloke says:

    At least ‘junk’ food is food in the broadest sense of the word, whereas junk ‘science’, boiling down to pure make-believe, isn’t science at all! And having millions of people believe in its definitive verdicts and abrupt pronouncements is the worst, full stop. The most salient – and depressing – political aspect of our so-called modern times is that false probabilities (not just those pertaining to lifestyle), ones that have been disproved by fact in innumerable ways, are still allowed to rule the days of our lives.

    As someone perceptively put it some years ago: “I suppose there is no way to avoid these periodic episodes of ingredient phobia. Americans have never been an overly reflective people, and when most folks get their science news from media that is by necessity sensationalist, all it takes is a few million or so credulous and frightened people to create another food bogeyman”.
    http://ahungerartist.bobdelgrosso.com/2008/03/msg-gets-left-brain-treatment.html

  5. Lepercolonist says:

    I love this video of a teacher who ate only at McDonald’s for 90 days.

  6. Frank Davis says:

    Telegraph 20 Jan 2009

    The man who invented the doner kebab has died.

    Mahmut Aygun, was suffering from cancer and died in Berlin at the age of 87.

    Known as the “kebab king” he was born in Turkey and moved to Germany at the age of 16 to open a snack stall. He invented the doner kebab nearly 40 years ago.

    Kebab meat, consisiting of roast lamb and spices, had traditionally been served with rice but in a moment of inspiration Mr Aygun saw that the future lay in putting the meat inside a pitta bread.

    That allowed customers who had been drinking to wander off into the night with their food and eat it as they stumbled home.

    Mr Aygun once said: “I thought how much easier it would be if they could take their food with them.”

  7. Roobeedoo2 says:

    Speaking of junk, Debs Arsehole is in the news again today:

    http://order-order.com/2016/09/20/245371/

    • prog says:

      “Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), said: “The continuing decline in smoking prevalence is a tribute to many years when successive governments have implemented comprehensive and progressive tobacco control strategies, including tax rises, mass media campaigns, anti-smuggling measures, smoke-free laws, advertising bans, and last but not least getting rid of tobacco displays and glitzy tobacco packaging.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/20/number-of-uk-smokers-falls-to-lowest-level

      • Smoking Lamp says:

        It seems they have to claim success for their tyranny. I am skeptical however about the real smoking rate. i see many more than 17% of people smoking and see a remarkable number of young adults smoking despite the claim that all have switched to vaping.

        I suspect the shift to regulating food (sugar, fat, not to mention alcohol) is a means of continuing their confidence games after they have extracted all they can from their current propaganda campaigns. After all they are facing reduced funding and can’t extract at the current rate if vaping cuts their market and the remaining smokers refuse to quit.

        The real threat to their denormalisation campaign is likely come when the public discovers that the anti tobacco health claims were largely lies and frauds. After all smoking rates have declines, smoking bans have become more draconian and inclusive yet the incidence of smoking-related diseases continues to rise. Perhaps the reason they are becoming so vocal and pushing for more extreme bans is they know the bottom is falling out and their fraud will be exposed.

        Even the medical press is beginning to publish article that question the tobacco control orthodoxy as seen in this piece that came out today: “Studies may have overestimated effect that smoking bans play in reducing hospitalizations” at Medical Xpresshttp://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-overestimated-effect-hospitalizations.html

        It noted that: “Contrary to most previous studies, the researchers found no evidence that comprehensive public-place smoking bans lowered hospitalization rates in the short-term for acute myocardial infarction or heart failure.” (Of course many of those studies were outright frauds conceited to justify bans.)

        The article provided a lay recount of the following research paper:
        V. Ho et al. A Nationwide Assessment of the Association of Smoking Bans and Cigarette Taxes With Hospitalizations for Acute Myocardial Infarction, Heart Failure, and Pneumonia, Medical Care Research and Review (2016). DOI: 10.1177/1077558716668646

  8. jameshigham says:

    Yep, it was a piece of chicken and rabbit food yesterday or a pizza. Made the pizza.

  9. Junk food, for me is anything labelled “low fat”, “low salt”, “low sugar”, “low carbohydrate” “low cholesterol” “caffein free” etc – but ESPECIALLY “low fat”. It means someone has meddled! People eat more without proper fat in food. I mean real fat, from real animals – not vegetable oils. And you can function perfectly well, physically, but especially mentally, simply burning ketones. Don’t need carbs.

    I’ve always wondered why Pizza and Hamburgers are called Junk Food. They are full of protein and other stuff like olives and salad. Real fish and chips used to be cooked in beef dripping but now it’s cooked in poisonous oil.

    The only reason to avoid carbs, is if you are a diabetic or trying to lose weight. Otherwise, carb on. It’s not the carbs – its the crap-added that gives health issues.

  10. slugbop007 says:

    How many percent are black market sales? They never mention that. Kind of skews their phony statistical data.slugbop007 I would like to know why I cannot reply in the normal way. WordPress keeps asking me for new passwords every other week.Fed up.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You don’t need to sign in here. You don’t need a password here.

    • smokingscot says:

      The latest stat’s I can get are dated Sep 2015 – and are issued by our Customs lot. They state:

      “This has been highly effective in reducing the illicit cigarette trade from 22% (in 2000 to 2001) to 10% today, and from 61% to 35% for hand-rolling tobacco. In the same period the revenue lost has reduced from £3.4 billion to £2.1 billion per annum.”

      And the entire report can be had here:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-tobacco-smuggling-2013-to-2014-outputs/quarter-1-and-2-outputs-april-2015-to-september-2015

      These relate to genuine smuggled tobacco.

      However what we have – as a part of the EU – is our ability to bring into the UK as much tobacco as we wish, providing it has been bought elsewhere within the EU. So a fair number of people who smoke do exactly that, buy their tobacco from countries where it’s less expensive than the UK. (Pop over to Bolton Smokers Club – it’s in Frank’s blog roll – for more on that).

      This is not illegal, in fact it’s a key element of EU policy. So while HMRC may claim that they’ve cut illicit rolling tobacco trade to 31% of the market and manufactured to a paltry 10%, in truth no one really knows the exact percentage that’s not UK duty paid.

      IMO – and I emphasise this is just guess work – I believe the people who are very light, casual smokers are more likely to buy UK duty paid tobacco. Heavy smokers on the other hand are far less likely to rely on stuff bought from their local news agent – and need to be either incredibly stupid, bordering on brain dead, to buy from a petrol filling station (where the markup can be eye watering).

      At about £8.50 for a so-so pack of manufactured cigarettes, a two pack a day person needs to find £6,200 a year to pay for that.

      Cough up £90 for an advanced flight by Easyjet – day return – to Amsterdam and a pack of the same so-so fags costs about Euro 5.5 (£5), so saving about £2,800 or so.

      http://www.ah.nl/zoeken?rq=Tabak

      It’s even better if you smoke rollies and have a liking for their limited range of tobacco – mainly Drum and Samson.

      Of course it’s cheaper still in Belgium, but that’s a bitch to get to unless you leave Scotland, then drive to a ferry port, then hang around for several hours in a floating thing. Then repeat the exercise to return. Okay for people who live close to the Channel, not so for the rest of us.

      Overall I’d take the whole press junket thing with a (generous) pinch of salt.

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