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Babies under 1 year get most of their vitamins and minerals from formula or milk. When solid foods are introduced they are to supplement, not replace, milk or formula. Only gradually should solid foods become major sources of nutrients.

How do you define junk food? It's high in calories, low in nutrition. And there's much worse, in the Junk Food Facts.

Junk food is everywhere. You and your family probably eat it every day. Sugar-laden breakfast cereals, snack bars, biscuits and cakes, crisps and chips, soft drinks, sweets, ready-meals, fast food like burgers - so much of what's on offer on the supermarket shelves is produced on the cheap (but not sold cheaply), full of unhealthy ingredients - it's not nutritious, it's laced with addictively tasty fats, sugars and salt, it just is not worth eating.

Junk Food - it's aptly named. Now, wise up on the junk food facts.


  • The junk food industry deliberately targets children as young as 2 in a bid to create brand preference and lifelong loyalty.
  • Advertisers question kids and tap into their play to create ads and products with guaranteed child-appeal Fast food chains use the lure of free toys to get kids to persuade their parents to spend. A desirable toy can double or triple weekly sales of kids’ meals. And every child brings along at least one adult too.
  • Artificial flavours in foods aimed at kids can be twice as sweetas the artificial flavours used in adult food. Children are being trained to find the natural bitter or sour notes that mingle with the sweetness in natural foods unpalatable.
  • Many children now prefer man-made flavours to the taste of real food. How will they ever switch to fresh, unadulterated food?
  • Flavourings and colourings can cause asthma, rashes and hyperactivity Many countries – but not the UK – ban them from children’s food.
  • UK companies spend £300m annually on ads aimed at kids. The average British child watches tv for 2 hrs 20 mins daily.
  • Children in the US have over $500bn a year to spend. The average American kid spends 25 hours a week watching tv, and sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk food. That’s one every 5 mins as they watch, and 3 hours of them in any one week…
  • The metal can costs more than the ingredients, which are primarily water mixed with additives, sugar or sweetener, and caffeine. A can of cola contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Soft drinks are aggressively marketed by fast food chains, because they are so profitable, at around 97% profit on the price per cup. The bigger the cup, the greater the profit.
  • In the US, average adult consumption of soft drinks is around 500 cans a year.
  • Twenty per cent of American under-2s are given soft drinks – laden with sugar and additives – every day.
  • Canned spaghetti
    A helping of carbohydrate, salt and sugar, with virtually no fibre, anyone?
  • Chicken nuggets
    Low cost nuggets are cheap because they contain as little as 16% pulped chicken, bulked out with water, chicken skin, proteins removed from bone, hide, or poultry feathers, mechanically retrieved meat; plus the ubiquitous sugar, additives and salt.
They also contain bulking agents used to soak up the water that’s injected into chicken to increase the weight – and the profit. Minced meat can hid a multitude of revolting ‘extras’ : carcinogenic antibiotics, recycled cat food, and poultry mixed with beef proteins have all been found in chicken destined for the production line.
  • Chocolate muffin
    Ruinously high in sugar, and made with the big baddie of the junk food industry, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil which has zero nutritional value, and damages heart and arteries.
  • Fries
    Fat-packed and low in nutrients. May be coated with additives and salt.
  • Fruit yoghurts, ready-made sauces, fruit drinks, baby foods – and more…
    Modified starches, along with colourings and flavourings, mimic the texture of fresh fruit and veg, so that manufacturers’ can use less of the real thing. They also mask rancid flavours’ and smells.
  • Milkshakes
    A simple-sounding ingredient, like ‘artificial strawberry flavour’ can in itself contain around 50 chemicals. And not one single strawberry…
The unhealthy facts about junk foods and fast foods make shocking reading. But at least they enable you to make informed decisions, next time you go grocery shopping, or want a quick meal out.  Junk Food Advertising
  • The food industry spends over $33 billion per year in the US alone to advertise food products that could be classified as junk food.
  • The majority of food advertising during children’s television programming is for sweetened cereals, soft drinks, candy, processed snacks and fast foods.
  • The average American child sees around 20,000 ads a year for junk food.
  • Over 90% of American children eat at McDonald’s at least once per month
  • American teenagers drink an average of 760 can of soda pop per year (with boys drinking about 25% more than girls).
  • The average American of any age drinks over 500 cans of soft drinks per year.
  • Nearly 20% of children under 2 years of age are given soft drinks every day in America!
  • The average person today consumes more sugar in two weeks than a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year. That's a junk food fact!
Harmful Effects of Junk Food
  • The regular consumption of junk food is the leading factor in obesity and excess weight.
  • Obesity is second only to smoking as a cause of death in America.
  • 46% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese, with obesity in children increasing three-fold over the past 2 decades.
  • Consumption of soft drinks containing sugar has been linked to weight gain and an increased risk for development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Studies have revealed that obese people have twice the rate of chronic health problems as people of normal weight. This includes a 100% greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, 50% increased likelihood of developing heart disease. Obese men are nearly 90% more likely to get colon cancer.
  • Junk food diet is a major cause of heart diseases.
  • High cholesterol resulting from junk food puts undue strain on the liver, causing long-term damage to this essential organ.

[image] Research has suggested that diets high in fat may also impair essential brain functions, like concentration and memory.

The junk food facts about soft drinks alone are alarming. There is compelling evidence that regular consumption of soft drinks leads to:
  • Increased rates of bone fracture
  • Increased risk for osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of weight gain and obesity
  • Increased risk for Type II Diabetes
  • Increased risk for kidney stones
  • Increased rate of tooth decay and other dental problems

Junk food facts are numerous, and the negative effect of junk food on health and wellbeing is undeniable. To learn more about kicking the junk food habit, and the yogic approach to healthy eating, read some of our other articles on this subject 
Children's Nutritional Requirements
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Nutrient Function Food Sources
Vitamin A
water soluble
Antioxidant; eye and skin health; aids in bone and teeth formation; fights infections; thyroid and cell function Vitamin A: cod liver oil, egg yolks, full fat dairy products, herring, mackerel Beta-carotene: dark leafy veggies, asparagus, yellow and dark fruits and veggies, kelp
Vitamin D Improves absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus for bone formation Cod liver oil; egg yolks and butter; salmon, sardines, herring; mushrooms; sunlight
Vitamin C Water-soluble antioxidant; boosts immune system; help heals wounds, scar tissue, and fractures; strengthens blood vessels, aids in absorption of iron, reduces allergic response; anti-aging and antioxidant effects    Citrus fruits, rosehips, broccoli, cantaloupe, green peppers, strawberries, green leafy veggies, kiwi fruit, spinach, cabbage
Calcium Primary nutrient for the growth of bones and teeth; proper blood clotting; regulates nerve, muscle, and heart function Yogurt, cheese, dark leafy greens, fish with bones, tofu, almonds, sesame seeds, chickpeas, broccoli
Magnesium Needed for 300 body enzymes and for the breakdown of food into energy; assists in heart, nerve and muscle function; key nutrient for bone strength Whole wheat; dark leafy greens; cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, bananas and apricots; millet; quinoa; brewer's yeast; avocado; tofu, whole grains, legumes  
Iron Needed for red blood cell formation; linked with development delays, learning and behaviour problems when deficient Dried fruits; seaweed; molasses; dark leafy greens; eggs; lean meats; kidney, lima and soy beans
Vitamin E Fat-soluble antioxidant; protects cell membranes; helps prevent scarring; anti-clotting agent; anti-aging, heart function and stress reduction Wheat germ, raw nuts and seeds, cold pressed oils, eggs, broccoli, carrots, dark leafy greens, olive oil, soy beans, avocado, salmon, tuna
Vitamin B (thiamin) Necessary for carbohydrate metabolism; maintains healthy nervous system, stabilizes appetite; stimulates growth and good muscle tone Whole grains, oatmeal, legumes, brewer's yeast, meat, fish, poultry, egg yolks, nuts
Vitamin B (riboflavin) Energy metabolism; aids in formation of antibodies, healthy mucous membranes and skin Whole grains, egg yolks, legumes, nuts, green leafy veggies, yogurt, fish
(Niacinamide) Necessary for synthesis of reproductive hormones, thyroid hormone, insulin, cortisone; nervous system and brain function; for energy metabolism; keeps blood fats in balance; maintains health of skin, tongue and digestive tract Lean meat, poultry and fish; wheat germ, figs, dates, avocado, eggs, brewer's yeast,  rice bran
Vitamin B (Panothenic Acid) Adrenal gland function, conversion of food to energy; makes antibodies; wound healing Whole grains, nuts, green vegetables, chicken, egg yolks, legumes, mushrooms, strawberries, oranges
Vitamin B(Pyridoxine Hydrochloride) Production of antibodies and red blood cells; co-enzyme for making neurotransmitters in the brain; needed for protein and fat metabolism Poultry, meat, cantaloupe, cabbage, egg yolk, cold water fish, leeks, kale, whole grains, legumes, green leafy veggies
Folic Acid Antibody formation, red cell production, protects against neural tube defects in pregnancy Dark leafy vegetables, apricots, avocado, cantaloupe
Vitamin B(Cyanobalamin) Energy metabolism; improves concentration; healthy nervous system; promotes growth; needed for red blood cell formation Liver, beef, pork, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, cheese and dairy products, red star nutritional yeast
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Brain development in children; eye development in children; reduces risk of heart-disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions in adults. Cold water fish, flax
Selenium  Improved immunity, cellular repair and cancer protection Brazil nuts, walnuts, oatmeal, whole grains, broccoli, brown rice
Zinc  Zinc for thymus function and joint and tissue support Red meat, oysters, nuts, wheat bran and germ, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils

Nutritional Needs of Infant Recommended Dietary Allowances* 
Nutrient Birth to 6 Months 6 to 12 Months
Protein (grams/kilogram) of baby's weight 13 g 14 g
Vitamin A [micrograms (ug)] 375 375
Vitamin D (ug) 7.5 10
Vitamin E [milligrams (mg)] 3 4
Vitamin K (ug) 5 10
Vitamin C (mg) 30 35
Thiamine (mg) 0.3 0.4
Riboflavin (mg) 0.4 .05
Niacin (mg) 5 6
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 0.3 0.6
Folacin (ug) 0.3 0.5
Vitamin G-12 (ug) 0.3 0.5
Calcium (mg) 400 600
Phosphorus (mg) 300 500
Magnesium (mg) 40 60
Iron (mg) 6 10
Zinc (mg) 5 5
Iodine (ug) 40 50
Selenium (ug) 10 15
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