Wednesday, May 17, 2006

McDonalds: there's no such thing as 'junk food'

Most of what I read and hear about McDonald's food is no more than junk propaganda. Why do the anti-McDonald's turn-outs hate McDonald's so much? Ok, some people don't think its food taste too great, but isn't that just a matter of... er, taste? Where is the evidence that McDonald's food is bad for you?

Well, I want to let you good readers into a not so well known scientific secret. There is actually, no such thing as 'junk food'. Professor Stanley Feldman of London University argues that 'junk food does not exist'. He says 'of course, some foods taste better or are more nutritious. But the idea that some contain nothing of value or are harmful is nonsense.'

It's not just Feldman who has reservations about the idea of 'junk food', Professor Vincent Marks of Surrey University argues that junk food is a contradiction in terms. The truth is, all foods are actually good for you. Marks argues that the only bad food we know of, is food that has gone... er, bad. He says that 'McDonald's is considered bad, simply because it is wrong for our current fashion.'

These two views must seem completly bizarre to the anti-McDonald's brigade, who bombard us with warnings about the 'dangers' of burgers, fizzy drinks, fast foods, salt, high fat, sugar, or anything else we consume on a daily basis.

Feldman and Marks are not employees of the fast food industries. Nor can I say they are the type of people who eat Big Mac's and fries on a regular basis. They just (like me) object to the rubbish and misinformation, propagated by the anti-McDonald's turn-outs.

I agree with Marks when he argues that the term 'junk food' is just an emotive and derogatory lable that means you don't approve. A lot of people think baked beans on toast is a form of junk food, even though it's ideal for antioxidants, fibre and so on.

The real truth of the matter is McDonald's serves up a decent square meal. Obviously, if you ate super size McDonald's, 3 times a day, for a month your health would slowly deteriorate - but come off it, that's not exactly a startling revelation, is it?

In fact, the anti-junk food lobby are the last socially accepted form of snobbery. Listen to the way they describe fast food - 'junk, unhealthy, fatty' - you can almost hear them passing moral judgement over those who do eat fast food. Anti-McDonald's protesters unconsciously mirror the snobbery of an earlier age. John Carey in his book 'The Intellectual and the Masses', tells of how writers like John Betjeman, George Orwell and TS Eliot bemoaned the coming of 'tinned food' because it represented the industrialised popular culture that they hated.

All I really want, is to hear the truth about the food we eat - not junk propaganda.

Picture: BBC News.


At 7:19 PM, Blogger Roland Dodds said...

This is a good point. It is not that McDonalds is inherently bad for you. Heck, if I ate a jar of peanut butter every day, that wouldn’t be good for me either, but I don’t see folks trying to take down peanut butter producers.

Is the term “junk food” simply a new form of snobbery? Kind of…. I guess I will have to consider that further. While it may be unfair to lump one set of food in this category (i.e. ‘fatty’ or oily foods), there is still something to be said about the quality of the food we digest daily here in the west. I don’t know if telling my overweight uncle that is diet is as healthy as one made up of fresh fruit and vegetables is going to help him get healthy.

To be honest, I had never considered the term “junk food” extensively. It appears I will have to do so.

Let me add a small twist to this argument: how do you see ‘natural’ products like Marijuana? I often hear folks say that since it is ‘natural’ (i.e. comes from the earth), it is inherently good for you. I am unsure if I agree with that position. It appears to me that simply because we can digest or inhale it, does not make it a healthy thing. But that may take us off the point a bit.

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

again I agree there no such thing as junk food just overeating and unbalanced diet!

At 4:57 AM, Blogger K said...

In fact, oftentimes, Cheeto's really settle my stomach.

At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you guys serious? of course its junk food actually its just junk, Mc Donalds, actual Mcdonalds (excluding their apples and salads and water) literally contains sugar salt and fat, all of which are processed, trans and saturated, providing nothing that your body actually needs or wants. I agree that eating Mc Donalds once in a while is not going to do any harm, but eating it in the same quantaties you re supposed to eat fresh fruit and vegetables definitely would
the peanut butter argument doesnt work because peanut butter is also processed crap high in saturated fat and salt
People who are overweight are generally not overweight because they eat vegetables, fruit, legumes and wholefoods, lets face the reality they re overweight because they put shit in their bodies and far too much of it


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