Have you seen the TV2 program “The Junkfood Experiment”? In short, it is a TV program where we follow four well-known Danes who have agreed to only consume junk food for three weeks. I immediately get a flashback to the American film “Supersize Me” from 2004, where Morgan Spurlock sits down to investigate the consequences of only eating McDonalds food for a month.
A disgrace agenda
As a healthcare professional, I am very surprised that such programs are still broadcast – and produced at all. My first thought is that the participants must have received a good portion of money to participate in this experiment. The program has only one agenda: to shame junk food by talking maximally disparagingly about it and proving that it is very harmful to the body. So it is a scare campaign that should make us feel wrong and ashamed when we eat junk food.
All one-sided diet is unhealthy
But hey – stop right away! For what is it really that makes just a few weeks of junk food have such a big impact on the participants’ state of health? The answer is short and sweet: they do not eat anything else!
It is quite obvious that if you eat food that is so energy dense, ie contains many calories, is rich in fat, salt and sugar and has a low content of vitamins and minerals, then the body will react because it simply lacks nutrition.
How do you think your body would react if we did the experiment: “You can only eat carrots and cucumbers for three weeks”?
Very one-sided diet will always have some kind of consequences for your health. If you live only on carrots and cucumbers, you will lack nutrition in the form of fat and protein, and you will also here in a few weeks notice a big difference in an inappropriate direction.
To trick the brain
In my eyes, the program – or programs like this – creates two major challenges:
- What happens to us when we watch a program that features junk food?
- What happens when we shame junk food?
When we humans watch a TV show, an advertisement or walk past the candy shelf in the supermarket, we are affected by it. Our brain is – whether we like it or not – affected / tricked. A small seed is sown, which unfolds in a craving for the seen food, or something reminiscent of it. Tricking the brain can easily be used appropriately e.g. by having fruits and vegetables freely available at home or at work. Where it becomes inappropriate is when it is hyper-tasty foods such as. sweets, chips, chocolate, cakes, etc., we get tricked by.
Try once to notice how much input of hyper-tasty food you get through TV and commercials.
Prohibition gives cravings
Also, try noting, the next time you are in a supermarket, what happens when the smell of freshly baked cake from the bakery hits your nostrils. Or at the checkout line, where the chocolate bars are lined up and the Tivoli bars almost jump up on the strip by themselves. Everything is available and stands out and helps to create a need that we may not have had before we went into the supermarket. Do you have e.g. had a special urge for Shrovetide buns lately? Funny enough, it’s rare that we get the urge for Shrovetide buns on a summer day.
But let’s return to the “Junkfood Experiment”. For what really happens when you start shaming certain foods? It often happens that you automatically think:
- “From Monday, I can no longer eat ‘dit, dut, dat’, so before I start my new, healthy life, I just have to have extra that I can no longer get.”
So it pushes for an extra craving where you eat more than you need, maybe even an overeating that leads to bad thoughts about yourself.
- “I’m an adult, so no one has to decide when I eat junk food.”
So it evokes an inner defiance of being in control of oneself because others do not have to decide what to do. This often also leads to overeating.
But what then?
Yes, what do you do when you want to live a healthy life, but know that you feel like hyper-tasty food, even if you’re trying to walk through the supermarket with blinders on or zapping away from the TV commercials about Kim’s Chips?
Lower your shoulders and breathe – because there is a solution, namely: Eat varied !
” But how do I eat varied ,” you might think? It does not have to be that cumbersome. What you can take advantage of is to eat nutritious, eat fruits and vegetables every day and eat high in fiber. Varied does not mean that you can not eat e.g. the same breakfast every day, but that you should think about not just eating one-sided, as they do in the “Junkfood experiment”.
If you generally eat varied, there is easily room for junk food once in a while. Once you have decided that! When junk food is a hovsa solution, it easily gives a bad conscience, so consider how often it fits into your life and plan when it should be. Then you do not have to put junk food in the corner of shame, but instead look forward to it and eat it with great gusto.