What Puts the Junk in Junk Food?

For some time now, people have believed that junk food, such as chips, French fries, and burgers were bad for your health because of one ingredient: a flavor-enhancing substance known as Monosodium Glutamate. However, more and more research is strengthening the fact that monosodium glutamate may actually be a health ally instead of a foe, and it definitely isn’t what makes food junk.

There is a lot of bad press about monosodium glutamate, and it certainly doesn’t help that it hides itself in several other more appealing names, like “flavor enhancer”.  While it is true that MSG does not offer any form of nutrients to the body, it doesn’t mean that it is dangerous. When consumed in minimal to moderate amounts, it can actually enhance the flavors of food safely, and stimulate people’s “fifth taste”, a taste used to describe something appetizing, but is not necessarily sweet, salty, sour, or bitter.

So what does put junk in junk food? When we eat, there are substances in our consumption that cannot be used by the body. In short, they are not nutrients that can offer any benefit to our cells, organs or systems. They are called “junk” because they get stored in the body and are hard to get rid of. These are bad fats, oils, and chemicals and toxins from preservatives and food additives. Therefore, the next time you reach out for a bag of chips, don’t go checking the ingredients list for monosodium glutamate content – that’s the least of your worries. Check the label for the caloric content, and look at the bigger picture: examine the nutrients.