Friday, September 25, 2009

How Much Junk Food Can I Have In a Day?

What is a good level of calories to eat of junk food in a day?   Sam M.

Dear Sam,

While many Americans consume nearly 30% of their calories from junk foods, in reality we only have about 10% to spare on foods that provide energy without nutrition.

This means an average person who eats a 2100 calorie diet takes in 700 calories from fried foods, candy bars, danishes and pastries, cakes, cookies and candies, ice cream, soda and similar foods.  It's very easy to see the number climb quickly because these foods are very calorically dense.

Ideally, after you consume the nutrient-dense foods (fruits, vegetables, grains and starches, dairy products, and good sources of protein) you will have 150-250 calories leftover to indulge in a sweet treat.  A small square of chocolate or a half-cup of light ice cream; a small piece of cake or 2 plain cookies will give you the sweet taste you seek without overdoing the fat, sugar, and calories.


  1. Basically, from the word itself "junk food", it can never be beneficial. Although it gives us a very satisfying taste, it does harm especially when we eat a lot of it.

  2. Somestimes we like of something that bad for us. Good article.

  3. I have to agree with Diet Review in the first comment here. If the first word is "junk" we wouldn't consider putting it in our car to make it run better or our bank account. Why would we put it in our body. There are a ton of great low calorie sweet recipes online, for free, if you do some digging in Google.

  4. Good advice, except that most Americans eat a diet that is primarily junk food. High fat and sugar fast food sandwiches for breakfast, burgers and fries for lunch and frozen pizza for dinner. Thats the norm. Add an extra 300 in sugar calories on top of that?

  5. Oh, No, Melanie--the 200 calories of "junk" includes pizza, high fat and high sugar foods :) Yes, people eat an average of 700 calories a day of 'junk' and this should be reduced to less that half of that--not have cookies added on top of it!! Hope that clarifies for anyone who was thinking that....