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junk food

Meaning: Food that is bad for us because it contains large amounts of harmful substances like artificial colouring, preservatives, salt, refined sugar, and so on.

For example:

  • No wonder people in Western societies are so unhealthy, overweight and unattractive. Have you seen the sort of junk food they're addicted to?

  • Food companies spend millions developing and advertising junk foods that make us fat, sick and ugly because the profits from this sort of food are far greater than the profits made by selling healthy foods.

Note: The idiom "junk food" normally refers to factory-produced foods that have a lot of damaging additives, such as hotdogs and frozen pizzas, or fried foods like hamburgers and french fries, or sugary sweets and fizzy drinks like candy bars and cola drinks.

Origin: Probably related to the fact that junk is something useless and of no value, and this is a good description of the foods that are called junk foods.

Quick Quiz:

Parents who feed their children junk food risk turning them into
  1. healthy, happy, active kids
  2. overweight, unhealthy, unhappy kids
  3. well-balanced and well-fed kids

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