Junk foods typically contain high levels of calories from sugar or fat with little protein, vitamins orminerals. Foods commonly considered junk foods include salted snack foods, gum, candy, sweet desserts, fried fast food, and sugary carbonated beverages.  Many foods such ashamburgers, pizza, and tacos can be considered either healthy or junk food depending on their ingredients and preparation methods with the more highly processed items usually falling under the junk food category.  What is and is not junk food can also depend on the person's class and social status, with wealthier people tending to have a broader definition while lower-income consumers may see fewer foods as junk food, especially certain ethnic foods.
Despite being labeled as "junk" consuming such foods usually does not pose any immediate health concerns and is generally safe when integrated into a well balanced diet.  
Contents [hide] * 1 Health effects * 2 Taxation * 3 See also * 4 References * 5 External links |
A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny at the Scripps Research Institute in 2008 suggested that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a manner similar to addictive drugs like cocaine or heroin. After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure. After the junk food was taken away and replaced with a healthy diet, the rats starved for two weeks instead of eating nutritious fare. A 2007 British Journal of Nutrition study found that female rats who eat junk food during pregnancy increased the likelihood of... [continues]
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