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The ‘dangers’ of junk food

December 23, 2013

In the U.S., there is a growing obesity problem due to the availability of junk food. Junk food is cheaper, faster and more heavily advertised than natural foods. This obesity problem cannot be blamed on human craving alone.

The term "junk food" refers to foods that contain a high number of calories without providing useful amounts of nutrients. People eat more junk food because it doesn’t satisfy cravings like a whole food would. Junk food contains bad saturated and trans fats, carbohydrates, low fiber and high sugar or dangerous substitutes. This can lead to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain cancers.

Junk food is so popular due to easy accessibility. Whole, good foods are available almost exclusively in grocery stores; junk food is sold in gas stations and dollar stores. Junk foods are also heavily promoted by the U.S. government via agricultural subsidies for corn and soy ( Corn syrup is a sugar replacement in junk foods. Even in moderation, it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and more (

The cost at which junk food is marketed is definitely a factor of its success as well. Junk food is much more affordable than whole foods, making it more difficult to eat healthy on a small budget.

The bottom line: junk food is unhealthy, but it has become engrained into American society. While it's true that people have an obligation to take care of their own body, the government has a responsibility to its people, one that it has failed dismally by allowing and supporting dangerous practices.

To reverse this crisis, everyone needs to reexamine their grocery list and help themselves. Excess health awareness is necessary, but perhaps an overhaul of food industries would provide a more immediate effect.

Julian Gottlieb
Eldred, NY