The interesting point about many of the 15 foods described below as unhealthy junk foods, is that these are the very foods that many people talk about and enjoy on a regular basis. These are generally “favorites.” In fact, are often talked about in regular advertisements as deliciously fun foods. Here is a look at those favorites that are truly junk foods and why.
Kellogg’s Pop Tarts –
Have been around since the 1960’s. They have a sweet, pastry type filling and are glued with an outer coating of frosting. These are often a quick breakfast choice. They contain highly processed ingredients of soybean oil and refined flour. Two pastries in a pouch are 400 calories. A pretty heavy start to the day.
Arby’s Curly Fries –
Everyone tends to order these. High in calories and fast-digesting carbs. A large order is 650 calories, 35 grams fat, 77 gm carbs with 7 of which are fiber.
Popeyes Chicken Tenders –
The newest item called Handcrafted Tenders which contains 340 calories and 29 gm of carb. It is best not to add the dipping sauce and soda. These tenders contain partially-hydrogenated oils, known as trans fats.
Cinnabon Caramel Pecanbon –
Has a wonderful aroma and flavor which is easily identifiable. The basic roll is 880 calories, while the caramel pecan on is a whopping 1080 calories, 51 gm fat, and 146 gm of carbs. This item has a great amount of sugar in it, in fact, twice the amount that the American Heart Association recommends for the entire day.
Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino –
Basic coffee drinks are calorie free and have impressive health benefits. However, sweetened coffee, such as mochas and lattes, will contain 250 calories on the average. This drink contains 520 calories and 65 gm carb, 64 of which comes from sugar. Research shows that liquid sugar does not give the same full feeling that regular food does, so you are likely to still feel hungry after having this drink.
Outback Steakhouse Bloomin’ Onion –
This dish is considered an appetizer and yet is one of the highest calories items on the menu, at 1900 calories, full of fat, and carbs. It might be something that you could plan to share with others. Shared or not, the dish still adds trans fats to your meal and a lot of empty calories to your meal.
Burger King Oreo Shake –
Milkshakes have been popular for several decades. In the meantime, milkshakes have become sweeter and sweeter. The calorie content in this one is 730, which is more than a hamburger. Contains fructose as well which has been shown to contribute to insulin resistance and obesity.
Corn Dogs –
A favorite at the State Fair and most sporting events. They can be 6-inches to 12-inches long. The average dog is 330 calories with 10 gm protein. May be a reasonable choice at one of these events. The meat is processed and the corn included can not be considered one of your good carbohydrate servings!
Dunkin Donuts Glazed Jelly Stick –
A much-loved dessert type donut stick. Calories are 480 with 59 gm carb and 25 gm fat. The first three ingredients are processed, including refined flour, sugar, and soybean oil. Frequent consumption of these sweets can add to overall calories that are too high for a day and do not last long for satiety.
Dairy Queen Royal Reese’s Brownie Blizzard –
This dairy dessert as a simple cone has been a longtime favorite of mine since childhood. Their smooth creamy texture is world famous. Recent years has produced the popular Blizzard and the one made with the Reese’s Brownie is by far the highest in calories, coming in at 1510. For many people, this would be the entire day’s calories if calories are being counted. How these desserts fit into a day’s plan can be very difficult. It also contains naturally occurring and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Sugar-Sweetened Soda –
All sweetened sodas are the highest food item in fructose that can be found. It is recommended not to drink regular soda if you are concerned about your overall health. It may cause insulin resistance, increased belly fat, and worsening heart markers. A 16-ounce soda contains 200 calories. Most people do not expect their drinks to carry that many calories.
KFC Famous Bowl –
Chicken bowls have become very popular in recent years as a new food item. They include cut up fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, and cheese. They contain 710 calories each. Which for many dinners can be far beyond the average calorie allotment. Most of the reason for the extra calories, of course, is the fried chicken and you can ask for simple grilled chicken. The dish does include trans fats and corn syrup.
McDonald’s Triple Thick Milkshakes –
This will add 1100 calories to your day, a number that you will find in 2-Big Macs. Again, if you check with the Heart Association it contains four times the amount of sugar recommended as a high for the day.
Mrs. Field’s Cookie Cups –
This shopping mall staple carries many varieties. Recently, they have added Cookie Cups, which is a cross between a cookie and a cupcake. The dough is cookie-like and generously topped with frosting. All flavors contain 460 calories and 60 gm carb. The Trans fat content is high. This may be one to pass on.
Cold Stone Mud Pie Mojo –
The Creamery is well known for its mixed-in concept to its soft serve ice cream, as sprinkles, candy, nuts, and chocolate. The final product may be very rich. This particular item contains peanut butter, coffee ice cream, almonds, and chocolate fudge. The calories are 1240 for the entire recipe.
The “junk food” items we have had listed here are some of the most popular around and many people will go out of their way to find them. Of course, we are not going to say don’t ever eat them. Rather, that it is important to have the information so that you can make an informed decision at the time these foods come up as a choice.
Most of the ingredients in what one would consider junk foods are similar in nature in terms of the fats, carbohydrates, and sugar. The processing does not generally help the overall counts for calories. A diet of these junk foods will increase your risk for a multitude of health risks.
Written by Rita Larsen, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Rita is certified in Positive Psychology, University of Penn; has a BS in Dietetics from Kansas State University; and an Internship and Masters at the Indiana University Medical Center.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.