Junk Food Hurts More Than Your Hip Pocket

Do your best intentions crumble when Tim Tams go on sale?

Apparently, we start out well. A recent survey of 2000 Australians by LiveLighter found that most of us have planned our meals and go to the supermarket armed with a list of healthy items. Nevertheless, our good intentions are thwarted by clever promotions and canny product placement that sees 3 in 5 of us being sucked in to buy cheap junk food and sugary drinks on special. The upshot is that our trolley fills with unhealthy items that we hadn’t planned to get.

According to Heart Foundation ACT Chief Executive Tony Stubbs, “Junk food like chips, chocolate, and sugary drinks are often cheap to buy and heavily promoted in the supermarket, making them seem like a smart financial choice. But in the long run, these foods could come at a cost to your health.”

Sadly, we know that cost can be incredibly high. Poor nutrition is the cause of much illness and premature death in Australia by way of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and many types of cancer and the truth is we are yet to really fully comprehend the broader impact of diet on things like depression and anxiety, arthritis and many other illnesses.

Apart from the cost to our health, junk food isn’t always a smart family budget choice either according to Tony. “If you need more convincing, consider how junk food prices compare to healthier foods. One example is potato chips – they cost around $20 per kg, but bananas will only set you back around $3.50 per kg and are a great alternative if you’re on the go.”

So what can we do to support our goal of eating well and being healthy?

According to LiveLighter ACT Campaign Manager Bernadette Cording, the best ways to avoid buying tempting treats is to visit the supermarket less often and when you do go, stick to the outer aisles. The LiveLighter research also showed that people who make more frequent trips to the supermarket are more likely to buy junk food items on special. So planning your meals ahead and doing a weekly shop is one small step. Additionally, Bernadette suggests “Consider shopping at local markets, greengrocers or butchers where you are less likely to find sales and promotions on processed, high kilojoule food and drinks.”

Sounds like great advice to me. Given our exceptional range of great fresh food markets and farmers markets in Canberra and the warmer spring weather, we have no excuse to eat well.

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression
Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.
Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

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