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On Junk Foods
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
My five-year old son, Ralph, keep asking these past few days if the food he is about to put inside his mouth is junk food. This is after his teacher told the class never to eat junk food because it will make them "smaller". If my answer was "Yes", he would not eat the food. He would ask me then what makes the food junk.

Junk foods do not make kids smaller. They are junk because they contain no or very limited amount of nutrients needed by a child to support his normal growth and development. They have very limited nutritional value hence, they cause growth stagnation with habitual intake at the expense of more nutritious foods. They are very appealing to kids because they are easily available - can be bought even in school canteens and sari-sari stores - and they are very affordable.

According to the Philippine Pediatric Society and Wellness Institute of Consumer Health, junk foods include:

1. All dry, extruded or expanded cereal based snack foods such as curls, chips, and crunchies.

2. Foods sold in fast-food restaurants such as donuts, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, French fries, and spaghetti.

3. Carbonated beverages, soft drinks, and artificial fruit drinks

4. Processed foods high in sugar and fat containing no protein such as candies, chocolates, and jellies

I think I'm guilty of #2. I never considered this group as junk because they contain significant amounts of calories, proteins, fats, and nutrients. My family and I once in a while indulge with these kinds of foods. I see nothing wrong with that. They become junk maybe when these are the only food that we eat regularly. But if we make rational food choices and eat a wide variety of food everyday then surely we can attain the best nutrition.


posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 3:17 PM   2 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
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