The Real Truth About Junk Food

I read a study the other day that I just had to share with you, because it personally made me even more committed to eating a diet based on real, whole foods.

It’s all about how ultra-processed foods make us want to eat more.

Here are the basics of what they found: people who eat a diet of “ultra-processed” food take in more calories and gain more weight than people who eat less-processed food – even when they are given meals containing the same calories and macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs).


The study was conducted by the National Institutes for Health and published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Scientists had 10 men and 10 women check into a clinic for a month, and fed them a controlled diet. For two weeks they were given meals consisting of ultra-processed foods, and then for another two weeks they ate a diet of minimally processed foods. They could eat as much of their meals as they wanted.

As an example, an ultra-processed breakfast was a bagel with cream cheese and turkey bacon, while a whole foods breakfast included oatmeal, bananas, walnuts, and skim milk.

When they were given the “ultra” processed diet, the study subjects ate their meals faster AND consumed about 500 more calories a day… not surprisingly, they also gained an average of about 2 pounds!

Meanwhile, they lost about 2 pounds on the minimally processed diet.

This is the first study to ever show a direct relationship between processed foods and weight gain when other factors are controlled. Even so, it’s something we’ve kind of known over the years, right?

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But here’s the kicker: processed foods are filled with things that make us want to eat more – salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. So not only are they linked with eating more, they ALSO contribute to chronic health problems!

When we eat MORE of those foods, we’re taking in yet more things that are not good for us! (Other studies have suggested that junk foods are engineered specifically to make us want to eat more.) 

Here’s another thing “shocking-not shocking” aspect of the study: the processed diet was actually much CHEAPER (by almost 50%!).

Scientists estimated the weekly cost to prepare 2,000 calories a day of the ultra-processed diet at $106, while the minimally processed diet cost $151, based on the prices at a nearby supermarket.

Here’s my personal takeaway on this one. The food you eat is SO MUCH more than just “calories.” It has a powerful effect on your health and well-being... and eating a healthy, whole-foods-based diet makes a strong statement to manufacturers when it comes to our food supply.

"Over time, extra calories add up, and that extra weight can lead to serious health conditions," said one of the scientists in a press release about the study. 

How can you save money when it comes to eating a healthy diet? Buy in bulk, shop sales, and use your freezer as much as possible!

If you need help coming up with healthy meal ideas that are affordable, book a consultation call with me today. I’m always here to help. 

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Iced Latte Recipe

It features coffeechocolate … and PEANUT BUTTER! (Plus it also contains plenty of fiber, healthy fats, potassium, and antioxidants.)

It’s a smoothie that’s actually good for you. Note: because it contains caffeine, you’ll want to have this earlier in the day vs. later.

If you are ever tempted by the blended concoctions at coffeehouses (which are loaded with empty calories that make your blood sugar spike and then crash) this is a must-try. 

I’ve experimented with making this two different ways – one is faster – and have had taste-testers try them both, and we’re mixed when it comes to the winner.

So, I leave it to you whether you pre-soak the chia seeds. I like presoaking best because not only does it give you a thicker smoothie, you’re less apt to get chia seeds caught in your teeth ;-) 

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Iced Latte

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  • 8 ounces of cooled coffee

  • 1 small banana, sliced

  • ½ cup almond (or any nut) milk

  • ½ tbsp raw cacao powder

  • 1-2 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp raw honey

  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

  • 1 cup ice cubes

Optional: to make this smoothie thicker, soak the chia seeds in the almond milk for at least 20-30 minutes (and up to overnight) before blending.


Place all the ingredients except the ice cubes in a blender, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust amount of honey or cacao powder to suit your taste. 

Pour into a tall glass, over optional ice and enjoy!

Pretty simple, right? You definitely have to give it a try and let me know how you like it!

I especially like this as a pre-workout smoothie during the early afternoon if I am going to be working out later in the day. 

Remember, if you need help coming up with healthy food options, I’m here to help!


Hi, I’m Shannon Labrador!

I’m a nutrition and health coach, and I love helping other busy ambitious entrepreneurs who are dealing with perimenopausal symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, acne, and fatigue learn to take back control of their health, lose the weight, and feel great about their body.

Lose weight and be the energetic CEO that you want to be so that you can make an impact!

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