High calorie, low nutrient junk foods are a major contributing factor to why the Western diet rates so poorly. Parents may in fact overestimate the nutritional quality of their childrens’ diet. The intake of junk food should be as low as possible. The U.S. dietary guidelines have failed to address this problem, thought due to industry influence.
The healthiest choices are unrefined plant foods, though in the case of chocolate it’s good that the cocoa butter is processed out into cocoa. Only two sweeteners can be considered healthful, along with dates. Gum Arabic can be considered harmless, but licorice, deep frying, corn syrup, sugar, sodas, butter flavor in popcorn, artificial colors, certain red dye, and trans fats (see also here, here) can be harmful.
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