It’s Still Junk Food

I was looking through an old cookbook, circa 1955, snickering at all the recipes for Jello “salads” and casseroles laced with cream of mushroom soup (with crushed saltines on top). It was a cuisine based on white bread, white potatoes, and white rice. I grew up on this sort of diet. My mom was the consummate consumer, enthusiastically trying every new mix that Betty Crocker could come up with.

Of course, these days we are much more nutritionally savvy. We eat whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Our fruits and veggies are organic. We shun junk food. Our consciences are clear. Right? Then explain this:

They make it sound so good for you! They’re organic! Only 100 calories per bar! It’s brown rice! They’re dairy free! But guess what? Organic brown rice syrup is still sugar. So is organic evaporated cane juice. In spite of the brown rice, there is less than 1 gram of fiber per bar. You’re basically getting 18 grams of empty carbohydrates—a  nice spike in the blood sugar and a few bites of yummy.

I still remember the first time I shopped at a “health food” store. It was a local chain, their prices were quite high, but everything was organic. The shelves were loaded with sugary cereals, chocolate bars, low fiber pastas, and cane sugar-sweetened soft drinks. They basically sold organic junk food!

It has been more than ten years now since I was forced into sugar withdrawal by my doctor and an unsympathetic (and skinny) nutritionist. Since that time, I’ve read a lot about sugar (I kept hoping for loopholes). What I learned is that sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, dehydrated cane juice, rice syrup, corn syrup, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maltose, dextrose, sucrose are all concentrated sugars, and are all taboo for me. No loopholes.

While my diet is pretty restricted, most people can enjoy sugar in moderation without endangering their health. It’s fine to splurge once in a while. Let’s just be honest here. Organic junk food is still junk food.

2 thoughts on “It’s Still Junk Food

  1. Once Ginny and I bought this pastry. Bhe box label boasted that it contained only 130 calleriews per serving. we took it home and ate the whole think in one sitting before reading the fine print–that tiny box supposedly contained 34 servings!

    Wonder why I’m fat?


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