Choosing whether or not to consume junk food is a first world problem. Do we gorge on yet another greasy bucket of KFC wings? Or do we go for a lighter and healthier option? Chances are you'll usually go for the former which soon leaves you lamenting the age-old fact that the tastiest foods are often the unhealthiest.
But is all junk food really unhealthy? Are the ingredients contained in them harmful? Are we putting ourselves into an early grave if we continue eating said foods? Well, contrary to popular belief, the benefits found in many 'bad foods' may just surprise you.
Here are ten examples.
1. Baked beans
While baked beans will no doubt leave you with an abundance of gas, they contain essential proteins and fibres as well as providing calcium, potassium, and iron.
Better still, the much-loved combination of beans on toast can also help improve the building blocks of protein due to the amino acids.
If you don't like pizza, then your taste buds probably haven't developed. That's the only reason people could stay away from such a palatable food. Well, unless you're watching your weight.
Yes, pizza is carb-heavy, and the deep pan pizzas contain many fats. To get around this problem, just opt for thin-crust, and make sure the toppings are balanced evenly with a mix of proteins and fibres to soak up the carbs. Unbeknown to many, the tomato sauce also contains vitamins A and C, as well as the cancer-fighting chemical, lycopene.
Dermatologists have long ridiculed Curry for its effects on the skin, but eating a curry just once or twice a week could offset dementia according to academics. Testing their theory on fruit flies, researchers found that flies which fed on curcumin- a standard component of many curry powders- lived 75 % longer than those without it.
Scientists believe their research highlights the primary reason why the elderly in Asian countries have lower levels of the disease compared to those in Western nations.
High in both sugar and fat, there are few- if any- health benefits to be found in mass-produced milk chocolate.
Opt for dark cholate, however, and you'll see the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke reduced by over 20% within five years of regular consumption.
A refreshing milkshake is calcium-rich thanks largely to the high milk content. Calcium, which is rich in vitamin D, is vital for bone strength and flexibility, which is particularly important for growing children and the elderly.
If you want to reap the full benefits, stick to the fruit flavours.
Next time you visit your local movie theatre, don't think twice about ordering the largest tub of popcorn.
Why? Popcorn is one of the best whole grain foods out there, with the brown bits in the middle containing an abundance of phytonutrients- a substance which helps prevent disease and boost health.
7. Peanut Butter
Believe it or not, peanut butter, while containing a host of fats and sugars, is very good for your weight.
The reason being is because the spread can fill you up for hours, leaving you less likely to gorge on other things. Peanut butter is also protein heavy, making it a great enabler of bone growth.
Somewhat astonishingly, a Harvard University study of around 18,000 men found that those who drink one or two beers a day as opposed to those who drink nothing for weeks but loads in one night had much higher levels of abdominal fat as well as being at a lower risk of future heart attacks.
You can thank us later... in the pub.
Cheese is high in fat, and even a sprinkling of it on a dish can significantly increase the meal's calories.
On the other hand, certain types are highly nutritious. Take Cheddar. Rich in calcium, zinc, it is also an excellent source of vitamin A.
In recent years, red meat has been labelled as cancer-inducing meat, leading the most ardent of meat lovers to stay well clear. But moderate amounts, especially if it's lean and grass-fed, can improve your overall health.
For a start, red meat is filling, but protein rich, making it an excellent food for those wanting to maintain or lose weight, with most cuts containing no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat.