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September 22nd, 2009:

Tell Me What “Junk Food” Is

Much opprobrium has been heaped on junk food in recent years. I’m willing to listen–but if we’re going to eliminate it from our diets, we first have to know what it is.

So…give me a definition.

The definition must be precise; that is, terms like “empty calories” or “having no nutritional value” are subjective judgments and thus not useful. Specify ingredients, and proportions (as percentages) if necessary. Furthermore, the definition must be about the food itself. Where it’s prepared or served is a separate issue and cannot be part of the definition. If an ingredient is junk, it’s junk whether it’s served at Mickey D’s or at Olive Garden or at the $75-a-plate fancy dinner joint of your choice. (Or at home.)

Methods of preparation may be cited, but again, such citations have to apply across the board, no matter who does it or where. Expensive junk is still junk.

Finally, “the term is meaningless” is a legitimate answer. However, if that’s the case, let’s make it meaningful, by creating a clear definition.

Let’s hear from you.