Healthy living

Junk food

Junk food is used to describe food and drinks low in nutrients (e.g. vitamins, minerals and fibre) and high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugar and/or added salt. They are also known as discretionary choices. 

How often can I eat junk food?

Junk foods are not required as part of any diet.

  • If you are a healthy weight, try to eat junk foods occasionally and in small amounts.
  • If you are trying to lose weight, you will be more successful if you limit junk food.

Why is junk food bad?

Eating junk food on a regular basis can lead to an increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some cancers.

We know Australian's eat too much junk food.

  • 35% of adults’ daily energy intake (kilojoules) comes from junk food.
  • 41% of children’s daily energy intake (kilojoules) comes from junk food.

This means junk food is taking the place of other more nutritious foods in our diets.

View the LiveLighter facts about junk food infographic (PDF 306KB).

What should I eat to be healthy?

Learn more about healthy eating.

View the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating flyer (PDF 300KB).

Where to get help

Remember

  • Junk food describes food and drinks low in nutrients (e.g. vitamins, minerals and fibre) and high in kilojoules, saturated fat, added sugar and/or added salt.
  • Eating too much junk food is linked to serious health problems.
  • Junk foods are not a necessary part of any diet.

Acknowledgements

Chronic Disease Prevention Directorate


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Infographic: Pants don't fit like they used to? know your ideal weight