book review: Unjunk Your Junk Food

I received a review copy of Unjunk Your Junk Food: Healthy Alternatives to Conventional Snacks. The Big Man was interested in reading it, so I let him read it and write the review. Without further ado, The Big Man’s thoughts:

Review: Unjunk Your Junk Food by Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer, with Lisa Tsakos

In a nutshell, Unjunk Your Junk Food presents nutritional information about junk food.  The authors of this book want people to understand that cravings for these kinds of food are understandable, and that it is possible to make better nutritional choices if a consumer understands the health and nutritional impact of ingredients used in junk foods.

Unjunk begins by introducing the keys to understanding nutritional information.  It teaches the reader how to make sense of food labels; the basics of nutritional science and health; and the worst ingredients found in junk foods.  How to eat the proper amounts of carbohydrates, protein, fats and the other elements of foods’ make-up is also covered extensively.

The section on the worst ingredients points out a lot of important facts about items such as trans fats, sugars, artificial sweeteners, sodium and additives such as artificial flavors and colors.  The authors pull no punches when talking about the negative effects of these worst ingredients, and the reviews that follow reflect this attitude.

Each of the following categories has its own chapter: chips, dips and party foods; ice cream and other frozen treats; cookies; chocolate; cakes and other desserts; granola bars and other on-the-go snacks; candy; and soda and other drinks.  In each category, name-brand products are compared against each other.  Food labels are picked apart one ingredient at a time, and the unhealthiest ingredients are bolded in color to make them stand out.  One product is given a bad choice rating, while that other receives the naturally savvy pick as the superior product.  Annotations talk about the negative ingredients in the bad choice which brought about that rating, while letting you know why the savvy pick was given that distinction.  The approval includes a short justification as to why that product is superior.

This book can be a valuable guide in helping the consumer to make healthier choices when buying junk food.  It is important to remember that one can get a false sense of healthy eating when evaluating each product; in realty all the foods included in the book have minimal or negative health value.  If you keep that in mind, Unjunk Your Junk Food can be a positive when trying to eat better in the nutritional mine field known as junk food.

Heather’s note: We were challenged to go through our cupboards and see how many of the nasty ingredients are in foods that we thought were healthy. Unfair advantage: they’re already things that we’re avoiding and have been for a while, so there wasn’t anything in there with the worst ingredients…

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