When it comes to junk food, I think most of us dip our toe into it now and again. Whether it be because it's craved (sometimes there can be something very comforting about a big burger and fries) or because we're short on time and need something quick. Sometimes it can be because there is just no other option (when I'm hungry I have to eat!) or just because you're a fan I guess!
Nowadays though there can be a bit of a grey area. There are so many restaurants and cafes that brand themselves as 'fresh' and healthy, it can be a bit difficult to define what is classed as junk and what isn't.
Take these 3 examples...
Only recently I read an article about how Pret a Manger was told it couldn't label one of their sandwiches as 'natural' due to the amount of 'E' numbers in it!
Yikes! I thought I could rely on Pret as being one of the healthier options. This goes to show that branding can have such an impact on how we perceive a food outlet.
Speaking of un-natural, do you know that in a Mcdonald's hamburger bun, there are around 30 plus ingredients! Some of which are ingredients in fireworks, safety matches and contact explosives! Oooh yuuummy!! There's also ammonium sulphate... oh you know the one, the artificial fertilizer used in alkaline soils! Nice! Plus not forgetting the usual high fructose corn syrup that is completely unnecessary in bread!
Oh and then there is Subway. You know, the 'freshly made' sandwiches. Surely they should be ok right? Just raw ingredients in a big, bread baguette? Well, until not that long ago they were using an ingredient that is put in yoga mats to make them nice and springy! Thank God it finally got banned in the US (they don't use it in the UK).
I have read article after article about how pre-made sandwiches can be stuffed full of salt, sugars, hidden fats and chemicals. How they are massively calorific and yet they can look so innocent sitting there all lined up.
Some of the worst culprits again are places that you wouldn't expect to be so bad such as Pret, Starbucks etc.
Chemicals such as high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, sodium nitrates (preservatives), flavour enhancers and artificial flavourings to name a few are in so many foods. You wouldn't even know either as they taste so simple. You can physically see what's in them so you don't always second guess it!
Finally, I have recently discovered a lovely little place for my lunches. It's one of those new 'health food' places that have popped up where you simply choose your carb, protein, greens and then a sauce. You get a huge portion of food for around £6. Now, it's not really that cheap, but in the grand scheme of things, the amount of food you get is amazing and really good value for money.
I asked what the 'white fish' option was as it didn't say on the menu, turns out it was Basa fish. I had never heard of it before, but put it into Google and you will find out how it is one of the cheapest white fish available. It is banned in 3 states in the USA and is from one of the most polluted rivers in Vietnam. Oh, and it's naturally cream in colour, so most if it is bleached to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.
Would you class this as a junk food outlet? Well because it sells avocado, kale and brown rice you would think it's a healthy place... Let's just say, if they sell that quality of fish, heaven only knows where the rest of the produce is from!
SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
I guess use your knowledge and common sense. Fancy some junk food? Maybe go for a high quality pizza with fresh ingredients and a sourdough base? Burger? Maybe visit more of an artisan style in a food market instead of a chain? Or maybe just don't even take the risk!
Thanks so much for reading,