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Junk Food Can Be Good for You


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"If the most-influential voices in our food culture today get their way, we will achieve a genuine food revolution. Too bad it would be one tailored to the dubious health fantasies of a small, elite minority. And too bad it would largely exclude the obese masses, who would continue to sicken and die early. Despite the best efforts of a small army of wholesome-food heroes, there is no reasonable scenario under which these foods could become cheap and plentiful enough to serve as the core diet for most of the obese population—even in the unlikely case that your typical junk-food eater would be willing and able to break lifelong habits to embrace kale and yellow beets. And many of the dishes glorified by the wholesome-food movement are, in any case, as caloric and obesogenic as anything served in a Burger King.

"Through its growing sway over health-conscious consumers and policy makers, the wholesome-food movement is impeding the progress of the one segment of the food world that is actually positioned to take effective, near-term steps to reverse the obesity trend: the processed-food industry. Popular food producers, fast-food chains among them, are already applying various tricks and technologies to create less caloric and more satiating versions of their junky fare that nonetheless retain much of the appeal of the originals, and could be induced to go much further. In fact, these roundly demonized companies could do far more for the public’s health in five years than the wholesome-food movement is likely to accomplish in the next 50. But will the wholesome-food advocates let them?"

Let the debate begin...

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This really does bring up a good point. Offering salads at drive-thru chain burger operations is helpful for a few and gives the chain brownie points, but certainly isn't going to make much difference for their typical consumer in terms of calories/fat/sodium levels. Certainly changes within their recipes to their standard fare has the potential for benefits to a much larger population.

I can see that adding fiber and decreasing bun depth by 10%, for instance, would probably never even be noticed by 99% of their customers but would have a small but positive impact for a large swath of the population by decreasing overall calories consumed and calories absorbed and decreasing the amount of highly processed grains ingested. It might even be cheaper for the chains in reducing cost of goods, so it would help their bottom line as well.

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