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Adolescent Nutrition

Author(s): Roberta Anding, MS, RD/LD, CDE

Junk Food

Junk food is food with minimal nutritional value. Most junk food is characterized by high fat and sugar content, with few other nutrients. Examples of junk foods include sweetened soft drinks, fried foods, particularly French fries, chips and other snacks, and candy. Without guidance, most adolescents will not make healthy food choices.

Portion sizes of junk food have increased dramatically over the past 20 years. For example, when most fast food franchises originated, a “regular” serving of French fried potatoes contained 201 Calories. Today, a “supersized” serving of fries contains approximately 610 Calories (NHLBI, 2004). The packaging of many kinds of junk foods in bags or pouches makes it difficult for consumers to estimate and compare serving sizes.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are now the principal source of added sugars in the diets of Americans (Guthrie, 2000). High sugar drinks, including fruit juices, contribute large of amounts of calories to the diets of adolescents. Further, most people do not reduce their consumption of other foods to compensate for the high number of calories consumed as sweetened beverages.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Space Biomedical Research Institute

National Space Biomedical Research Institute

This work was supported by National Space Biomedical Research Institute through NASA cooperative agreement NCC 9-58.