What Really is Junk Food?

If you have to ask, you’re probably eating it. Even small amounts can contribute to a body’s harm and pathology—no, not just emotionally, but physiologically. In fact, eat some junk food that has zero fat, and 50 percent of it can turn to stored body fat. And as most people know, junk food is a primary cause of the worldwide overfat epidemic that’s affecting the full spectrum of individuals, from the poor to the most serious athletes.

In addition to its contribution to increased body fat, junk food may be the number one cause of the most common diseases, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, not to mention the problems that significantly contribute to low quality of life such as intestinal conditions, hormone imbalance, chronic inflammation, fatigue, and much more (even hair loss). For this reason, some health authorities want to refer to junk food as pathogenic food. But that won’t happen soon enough thanks to the ongoing mult-million-dollar marketing campaigns waged by the food industry—the image of these bad foods is now being portrayed as harmless rather than the poison it really is.

However, pathologic food better refers to its capability to cause pathological conditions, including those with excess body fat.

In all its many disguises—it’s amazing how easy it is to fool even the very careful consumer—junk food, including soda, chips, candy, is one of the world’s most successful business ventures. Large amounts of it are in almost all Western households, and in the East as well, including China, Japan and Southeast Asia. It’s even widespread in the Third World, where in only one generation, millions of starving people have now become overfat, thanks to junk food.

It’s widely believed that the phrase junk food was coined in 1972 by Michael Jacobson, director of the American Center for Science in the Public Interest (a consumer advocacy organization that focuses on health and nutrition). But defining junk food has been a difficult task, partly because the numbers of items are alarmingly high, and also because the food landscape is always changing with new and improved products coming and going almost daily.

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. The biggest offenders are sugar (including sucrose, white table sugar, and others such as high fructose corn syrups) and flour, and the thousands of products made from these two deadly ingredients (from ketchup and mayonnaise to energy bars and sports products, and almost all liquid refreshments).

For those on the go, junk food is synonymous with fast food, and includes almost all burgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken and foods that are battered or coated or have sauces. Included are the popular “salads,” such as tuna and chicken salad, and even those low-cal dressings. Most international foods are not exempt from the junk food category: Chinese food (high in sugar, starch and or flour), sushi (white rice with added sugar), sweetened teriyaki foods, deep fried fish and chips, and others.

Going to a deli for lunch? The popular ham and American cheese on a roll is all junk food. As is that pasta salad with crackers (almost all pasta, noodles and similar items are junk). Of course, a plain bagel and diet coke is all junk food too. Instead, have some leaf lettuce with tomatoes, red peppers, carrots and slices of real roast beef or Swiss cheese. Hold the mayo and ketchup, but mustard (after reading the ingredients) or olive oil and vinegar would be OK.

As you push a shopping cart down the food store aisle, it’s almost guaranteed that if the food is in a can, frozen, or wrapped in a package, it’s probably junk food. Consider a can of peaches, which may seem healthy—but most are packed with high amounts of sugar. Instead, buy fresh fruit in season. Even most trendy bulk foods found in health stores and other retailers, with their funky image of pure and natural, is junk food too.

It’s not only conventional foods available to consumers everywhere, but most organic items are junk too (see, “Shopping at Whole Foods”). In fact, organic junk food is one of the fastest growing segments of the natural foods industry.

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. It’s deceptively inexpensive to buy and unhealthy to eat. These items are processed, manufactured, have added chemicals, sugars and other unhealthy ingredients that can immediately, and long term, adversely affect health. Unhealthy versions of healthy foods noted above include canned fruit in sugar-syrup, processed vegetables (canned, frozen or from fast food outlets) with sugar, flour or chemicals, baked beans in a sugar and flour sauce, powdered and processed eggs with trans fats, processed cheese and cheese spreads, cold cuts (bologna, salami, chicken and turkey loaf, fish sticks), peanut butter (typically containing sugar and trans fat), and roasted nuts (often with ingredients you can’t even pronounce). Of course, genetically altered items, which are not allowed in certified organic foods or in many countries of the world, would also be considered junk food.

for the rest of the article follow the link  What Really is Junk Food?


One in five Americans has ditched regular meals in favor of serial snacking, says IRI report on ‘opportunist’ eaters

for full article  One in five Americans has ditched regular meals in favor of serial snacking, says IRI report on ‘opportunist’ eaters

One in five Americans now grazes on snacks throughout the day instead of eating three square meals or even several ‘mini-meals’ a day, according to new research suggesting the line between meals and snacks has become increasingly blurred.


Myths Surround Breakfast and Weight

link  Myths Surround Breakfast and Weight

Americans have long been told that routinely eating breakfast is a simple habit that helps prevent weight gain.

Skipping breakfast, the thinking goes, increases hunger throughout the day, making people overeat and seek out snacks to compensate for missing that first – and some would say most important – meal of the day.

“Eating a healthy breakfast is a good way to start the day,” according to the Web site of the United States surgeon general, “and may be important in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.”

But new research shows that despite the conventional weight-loss wisdom, the idea that eating breakfast helps you lose weight stems largely from misconstrued studies.

Only a handful of rigorous, carefully controlled trials have tested the claim, the new report, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found. And generally they conclude that missing breakfast has either little or no effect on weight gain, or that people who eat breakfast end up consuming more daily calories than those who skip it.

But those trials have been largely overlooked, and their findings drowned out by dozens of large observational studies that have found associations between breakfast habits and obesity but no direct cause and effect, said Dr. David B. Allison, director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Allison and his colleagues scoured the medical literature and found that the only long-term, carefully controlled trial that randomly assigned people to routinely eat or go without breakfast and then measured the effect on their body weight was published in 1992.

That seminal study, carried out over 12 weeks at Vanderbilt University, had mixed results. Moderately obese adults who were habitual breakfast skippers lost an average of roughly 17 pounds when they were put on a program that included eating breakfast every day. And regular breakfast eaters who were instructed to avoid eating breakfast daily lost an average of nearly 20 pounds.

Both programs included an identical amount of calories, and each caused people to lose more weight than a program in which a person’s typical breakfast habits did not change.

The study was fairly small and limited, involving only 52 overweight adult women, but it suggested that as far as breakfast is concerned, the most important factor in weight loss may be how drastically you change your routine. “Those who had to make the most substantial changes in eating habits to comply with the program achieved better results,” the authors wrote in their paper.

Dr. Allison said that the findings “showed no effect over all of eating versus skipping breakfast, that people do equally well on either one.”

“You would think at this point that you would either abandon the idea or do some more randomized controlled trials,” he added. “But instead the association studies started.”

Through the years, the equivocal findings were wildly misinterpreted. Dr. Allison and his colleagues found about 50 subsequent articles on breakfast and body weight in the medical literature that cited the Vanderbilit research. Of those papers, 62 percent cited the findings inaccurately, and they were almost exclusively biased in favor of the idea that eating breakfast protects against weight gain.

Another study that became the basis of widespread misinformation was published in 2002. In that study, researchers looked at data from the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks thousands of people who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year.

Data from the registry showed that after their weight loss, about 80 percent of people reported regularly eating breakfast. “There was no difference in reported energy intake between breakfast eaters and non-eaters,” the registry showed, “but breakfast eaters reported slightly more physical activity than non-breakfast eaters.”

The research showed only that eating breakfast was a common behavior among people who were actively trying to avoid regaining weight, just as diet soda might be a common drink of choice among dieters but not necessarily the cause of their weight loss.

But of 72 subsequent research articles on breakfast and weight loss that cited the registry study, about half overstated its findings, Dr. Allison found, and roughly a quarter suggested that it showed a causal relationship between breakfast habits and obesity.

In the real world, when people form an opinion, they tend to seek out evidence that supports it and discard anything that contradicts it, a phenomenon academics refer to as confirmation bias.

“Scientists are humans, and they’re susceptible to confirmation bias too,” Dr. Allison said.

In the meantime, a small number of randomized trials has continued to cast doubt on the protective effect of breakfast. At Cornell University, for example, scientists have showed in experiments that in some cases, but not all, depriving people of breakfast can lead them to eat more calories at lunch. But those extra calories do not make up for the calories they missed at breakfast, so at the end of the day, they still end up eating fewer calories over all.

The Cornell researchers have argued that for some adults, skipping breakfast may actually be a good way to reduce weight – not gain it.

Dr. Allison said that the true relationship between eating breakfast and body weight, if there is one, was still an open question. But observational studies that tout an association between the two are churned out “just about every week,” despite doing nothing to actually test or prove the claim.

“At some point, this becomes absurd,” he said. “We’re doing studies that have little or no value. We’re wasting time, intellect and resources, and we’re convincing people of things without actually generating evidence.”

As for why the subject has created something of an echo chamber of observational research, Dr. Allison said that unlike randomized controlled trials, which are expensive and difficult to carry out, sifting through large sets of observational data to find tantalizing associations is fairly low cost and easy to do.

“Just like bakers bake bread, scientists write papers,” he said, “and we get rewarded for writing and publishing papers.”

ATLCX (Episode 45): John Kiefer & Dr. Rocky Patel | Cyclical Ketogenic Diets For Health And Performance

follow link to listen  ATLCX (Episode 45): John Kiefer & Dr. Rocky Patel | Cyclical Ketogenic Diets For Health And Performance

In Episode 45 of “Jimmy Moore Presents: Ask The Low-Carb Experts,” we had one of the best shows ever featuring two fabulous guest experts in John Kiefer and Dr. Rocky Pateladdressing the topic “Cyclical Ketogenic Diets For Health And Performance.” At the recent 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia last month, I was the moderator of a fantastic panel of experts addressing the topic “Ketogenic Diets & Exercise Performance” featuring a star-studded line-up of Paleo fitness studs that included Robb WolfMark SissonBen Greenfieldand Jamie Scott (video will be posted online soon). The general consensus by most of these top names regarding the future use of the ketogenic approach for exercise and general health is the idea of regularly cycling in and out of ketosis to experience the maximum benefits. This is something that our expert guests this week know just a thing or two about. They are an exercise scientist, nutrition expert, and the author of The Carb-Nite Solution as well as his latest projectCarb Back-Loading 1.0 named John Kiefer and a board-certified family physician from Gilbert, Arizona named Dr. Rocky Patel from the “Arizona Sun Prevention Center.” These two extremely knowledgeable men were here in Episode 45 bringing their extensive knowledge and experience about ketogenic cycling to answer some really fascinating listener-submitted questions about this topic.

Paleo Diet Might Kill You

Paleo Diabetic

…according to SiliconIndia News. How does it kill? Lack of carbs, apparently.

Of course this is utter nonsense.

The Alcorexia diet (#5 on list of diet killers) is more likely to be lethal. Alcorexia’s a new one for me.

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NYSC Undercover: Should We Avoid Eating At Night?

for full article and references NYSC Undercover: Should We Avoid Eating At Night?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but maybe there are good reasons to avoid eating at night. (I’m not talking about the old myth that says that anything you eat past 6 p.m. just magically turns into fat). I know that this is going to directly contradict and probably upset a lot of current popular diets and diet experts…and I’m okay with that.  I don’t write to make friends; I just enjoy reading about training and passing some useful information on.

The first group of people who will probably cry about this are the science guys who disregard everything that suggests that there might be more to dieting than the energy balance of calories-in vs. calories-out. Shortly after the calorie guys, however, come the “it’s all about the macros, bro” guys. If only the human body was as simple as those in the fitness industry makes it seem. I am not debating the importance of your caloric balance and your macronutrient/micronutrient intake, but there’s some really interesting research regarding our body’s circadian rhythm, which may make nutrient timing even more important.

This brings me back to my days as an overly tired student trying to escape my neuroscience classes. Our master clock, or biological clock, is a small part of the brain referred to as the suprachiasmic nucleus (SCN). Circadian rhythms follow a 24-hour cycle, primarily in response to light/darkness, and have an effect on almost all physiological processes. There are also peripheral clocks throughout the body entrained by activity and nutrient status/availability. So, in order to make sure these “systems” are operating properly, we should have periods of low food intake—and this should be in sync with our nighttime or inactive phase. Feeding during the inactive phase is associated with a host of undesirable things like increased body fat, glucose intolerance, inflammatory disease, etc.

The first study I want to share was a study done on mice called “Time-Restricted feeding without reducing caloric intake prevents metabolic diseases in mice fed high fat diet.”  In this study, the researchers were trying to determine if obesity results from a high fat diet or from a disruption of metabolic cycles, namely circadian oscillations.  There were two groups of mice. One group had a feeding window that was time restricted to eight hours (tRF) and the other ate ad libitum. (Calories were the same and from a high fat diet in both groups). The time-restricted mice were protected against obesity, hyperinsulinemia, inflammation, and had improved motor coordination, glucose tolerance [1]. They also experienced improved oscillations of the circadian clock, improved nutrient utilization, and improved energy expenditure [1].  Here’s a picture from the study.

Fasting has been shown to improve health, circadian rhythms, and often implements restricted feeding windows. It makes sense that we do not want to eat during our inactive phase. If we consistently eat during our inactive phase (at night), it will cause our peripheral clocks to be out of sync with the master clock in our brain. Another interesting study shows that not only when we eat matters, but that the macronutrient consumption during specific times matters as well. The study, “Time-of-Day-Dependent Dietary Fat Consumption Influences Multiple Cardiometabolic Syndrome Parameters in Mice,” made some very intriguing points.

Here were some of the most interesting quotes from the study:

  1. “Mice fed a high fat meal at the beginning of the active period retain metabolic flexibility in response to dietary challenges later in the active period.”
  2. “Conversely, consumption of high fat meal at the end of the active phase leads to increased weight gain, adiposity, glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and hyperleptinemia (i.e., cardiometabolic syndrome). The latter perturbations in energy/metabolic homeostasis are independent of daily total or fat-derived calories.”
  3. “We report that high fat feeding at the transition from sleeping to waking appears to be critically important in enabling metabolic flexibility and adaptation to high carbohydrate meals presented at later time points. Conversely, high carbohydrate feeding at the beginning of the waking period dramatically impairs the metabolic plasticity required for responding appropriately to high fat meals presented at the end of the waking period.”
  4. “… A high carbohydrate morning meal appears to “fix” metabolism toward carbohydrate utilization and impair the ability to adjust metabolism toward fat utilization later in the waking period.”

These points all make sense. A high fat breakfast seems to set the body towards higher fat oxidation, whereas high carbohydrates in the morning set the stage for carb oxidation as opposed to fat oxidation. We want to maintain metabolic flexibility so that we can use our body’s stored fat as fuel during the appropriate times. There are a plethora of benefits to having periods where insulin is low, as I have mentioned in earlier article,s and a carbless breakfast or no breakfast helps keep insulin quiet. I wrote an article for Elitefts™ previously on an anabolic breakfast which also presented some research as to why it may be beneficial to avoid carbohydrates at breakfast. In terms of nighttime carbohydrate consumption, it is not bad.

However, fat intake at night does seem to have some negative consequences. In the study “Greater Weight Loss and Hormonal Changes After 6 month Diet with Carbohydrates Eaten Mostly at Dinner,” Israeli Police officers were split between having the majority of their carbohydrates in the morning vs. at night. It’s not the most intelligently laid out study, but the results clearly show that the nighttime carb eaters dropped more percent body fat, were more satiated, increased insulin sensitivity, had higher leptin, and improved blood glucose levels. [3]Those that preach carbohydrates at breakfast counter with, “but insulin sensitivity is highest in the morning.” This is true, but it’s for muscle and fat cells. So it’s kind of a moot point.

Understanding the importance of our circadian clock goes beyond physique enhancement. A study presented in the Endocrine Review“Metabolism and Circadian Rhythm-Implications for Obesity,” offers a very in-depth look at the intricacy of our circadian clock and the various roles it plays in our body. In their conclusion they state, “Western lifestyle leads to high food consumption, inactivity during the active period, enhanced activity in the rest period, and shortened sleep period. This lifestyle may cause high parasympathetic output to the viscera leading to obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperlipidemia, or high sympathetic output to the muscle and heart leading to vasoconstriction and hypertension. Indeed, disrupted biological rhythms might lead to attenuated circadian feeding rhythms, disrupted metabolism, cancer proneness, and reduced life expectancy.” [4]

There is too much research to not accept that food timing absolutely does matter. Why? Because our circadian rhythm regulates energy homeostasis, and our type and timing of food has a direct effect on our circadian rhythm.

So, here are some tips on how to use this information in your diet:

  • Carbohydrates are not necessary at breakfast. Instead, opt for a protein/fat breakfast or fast during this time. If fasting, make sure that you are consuming water as dehydration will take away from some of the beneficial fasting effects.
  • Watch your fat intake and calorie intake at night or during your “inactive” phase.
  • You do not need to eat all day long, and you definitely don’t need to eat every two to three hours. Let your body shift between its natural anabolic and catabolic processes which leads to improved health in the long term.
  • Fasting has plenty of longevity and anti-aging effects that I will discuss in upcoming articles.
  • If you are more concerned with the health aspect of fitness and maximized fat loss, then look into fasting and restricted feeding windows.

Study links early junk food exposure to mental problems in children

Study links early junk food exposure to mental problems in children

A broad new study has found that that mums with unhealthy diets of cereals and sweet drinks during pregnancy are more likely to have children with behavioural problems.