Junk food has time and time again been proven to be unhealthy and does more harm to our body than good. Is it any wonder why since the appropriately termed food group refers to food that have little or no nutritional value, i.e containing 'empty calories'.
These foods are usually high in fat, salt, sugar, calories and are generally low in nutrient content.
Eating too much of junk food could cause an increased risk of chronic diseases including high blood cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes.
Experts have also concluded that the increased availability of highly processed, high-calories and high-fat products (such as snack foods, sweetened beverages, fast food) is a potential contributor to the obesity epidemic.
Yet, unable to control that craving, we reach for that packet of potato chips or a can of sweetened soft drink to accompany the fast food meal you're having for lunch.
YourHealth decided to try and kick the habit once and for all and turned to Ms Kanitha Kunaratnam from the Health Promotion Board for help.
The dietitian at the Youth Health Divsion provided us with some tips to stop ourseleves from eating junk food completely.
Here are her tips:
Ms Kanitha Kunaratnam says the first step to cutting down on junk food is to decrease your intake of salt, sugar, fat and refined or processed foods.
She says, "Choose fresh foods which are nutritious and nutrient dense."
Eat home-cooked meals
Try to eat at least one home-cooked meal daily. Generally foods cooked outside tend to have higher calories, fat (especially saturated fat), sugar and salt than foods prepared at home.
When eating at restaurants
Many restaurants now serve healthier choices on their menu, hence it is important to make a concerted effort to select these healthier choices.
Select items that are grilled, not fried.
Replace deep fried items with grilled or baked items
Switch the classic ice-cream or apple pie for a piece of fresh fruit or a glass of unsweetened fruit juice
Purchase "no added sugar" or "sugar-free" beverages instead of sweetened soft drinks.
A list of healthier restaurants can be found in the Health Promotion (HPB) website: www.hpb.gov.sg/healthierdining
When eating at hawker centres
Look out for stalls with the Healthier Choice Logo displayed.
These hawker stalls use healthier ingredients such as cooking oil with lower saturated fat content, low fat milk in beverages and provide whole-meal/whole-grain varieties instead of those made with refined flour.
When shopping for foods:
Don't buy foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.
Instead, when purchasing packaged foods and beverages at the supermarket, look out for foodswith the Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) or Healthier Snack Symbol (HSS).
These products are lower in fat, salt, sugar and some are also higher in dietary fibre and calcium as compared with similar products.
Worried about the kids' love for junk food?
How to combat my kids' love for junk food?
Ms Kanitha added that a second contributing factor to obesity is food marketed to children.
Marketing high fat, salt and sugary foods (HFSS foods) can have an effect on children, particularly in the areas of food preferences, purchase behaviour and consumption.
How to keep your kids away from junk food? The good news is that studies have shown that parents have a big influence on what children choose to eat.
While marketing influences a child's desire to try a product, it is the parents who decide what foods to buy, especially what is eaten at home.
Parents should try to develop rules or guidelines for television viewing - for instance, plan family activities and mealtimes where the television is turned off.
Use your child's pressure to buy advertised foods to discuss and educate them on good nutrition, food environmental influences and impact of marketing techniques on their food choices instead.
Also, be a good role model for your child. Model healthy eating behaviours by making healthier food choices for yourself and your family and your child is likely to follow suit.