Healthy Junk Food is an Oxymoron

By Anouk Brandt

New studies suggest that while junk food may never exactly be healthy, some choices certainly can be more healthy than others. Does that mean there is such a thing as healthy junk food?

For instance, if you are at a street stand or food truck, and you are trying to make your mind up between rotisserie chicken and a hotdog, which should be your pick for some healthy junk food?

Surprisingly, the answer there would be the humble hot dog.

Rotisserie chicken, during the cooking process, gains carcinogenic compounds (that’s what lives in the crispy burned skin). Pepperoni and hotdogs, on the other hand aren’t cooked that way and can be better for your health.

The carcinogenic compounds in meats that are fried or grilled, are called HCAs. And researchers have been trying to find out how much of these carcinogens we end up taking in as we innocently pick any one of a variety of ready-to-eat meat products.

Researchers in this study, at the Kansas State University, certainly had a very pleasant task before them. It was their job to try to make up ready-to-eat fast food of the kind people buy everyday and find out which items have the least cancer-causing HCAs. This way, the feel they could narrow your menu down to the most healthy junk food you could buy.

And this is what they found: pepperoni has the least cancer potential. Hot dogs and deli meat are nearly the same as well. Bacon that’s well-cooked and rotisserie chicken, on the other hand, have high levels of cancer-causing HCA’s.

Which brings us to a simple rule – the more frying or grilling anything goes through, the more dangerous it is for your health.

Advice of this kind can be particularly good for women who are pregnant. For some reason, when you’re pregnant, you crave just the kinds of things that you’re not supposed to have. Researchers find that mothers who give in to those junk food cravings too much when they are pregnant end up raising children who have lifelong problems with obesity.

If you really crave potato chips for instance, try to make do with pretzels or tortilla chips. If you can’t think of anything other than a great beef patty burger, you could try instead to do with a turkey burger that’s not cooked as much.

Still, healthy junk food is really an oxymoron. Would you agree?

Category: Healthy Foods

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