National Junk Food Day

We’re all told over and over again by our health care professionals that we should avoid overconsuming junk food regularly. While that advice is prudent for most of the year, sometimes a person just wants to cut loose and enjoy some of their favorite junk food, regardless of whether that’s potato chips, soda, candy, or chocolate bars. And the perfect day to do that is July 21st—a day that’s marked down on the calendar as National Junk Food Day.

The History Of Junk Food

We might not have been able to determine who created National Junk Food Day, but we do know a little bit about the history of junk food. Although going through the entire history of junk food is beyond the scope of this calendar, we can cover some of the highlights of junk food over the past 50+ years.

If a person takes a look at history, they can see that junk food isn’t a modern invention. Sure, the term “junk food” wouldn’t exist until the 1970s, but people have been eating unhealthy things for thousands of years. A prime example of this can be seen by looking at the aristocracy during the Middle Ages. While peasants were eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fish, Europe’s nobility was indulging in white bread, sugary cakes and pies, and copious amounts of meat. As a result, the nobility often suffered from health problems such as bad teeth, scurvy, and rickets.

The first American junk food would have to be Cracker Jack. This product was debuted at Chicago’s World Fair by Louis and Frederick Rueckheim in 1893. Its salty and sweet blend of peanuts, popcorn, and molasses was irresistible to people, and it soon became extremely popular. By 1916, this junk food was the best-selling snack not only in the United States but also in the world.

Before 1972, the term “junk food” didn’t actually exist. Sure, there were unhealthy foods made way before that, but the term wasn’t used before then and it didn’t enter the national lexicon until Larry Groce released the song “Junk Food Junkie” in 1976.

Sweet Facts About Junk Food

We not only wanted to present a history of junk food, but we also wanted to present some fun facts about it, too. That’s why we’ve included some of these fun facts below for everyone to enjoy.

  • Fats from fast food can trigger the human brain to want more food. This effect can last for several days.
  • The Aztecs and Mayans used chocolate as currency at various points in their history.
  • Leo Hirschfeld invented the Tootsie Roll. He named the candy after his daughter Clara’s nickname, Tootsie.

Celebrating National Junk Food Day

Although we think that everyone should have a healthy diet most of the year, people should feel free to give themselves permission to cut loose every once in a while. And one of the ways that people can do that is by enjoying their favorite junk food on National Junk Food Day. While they’re indulging in hamburgers, hot dogs, sweets, and whatever other goodies they want to eat, they can then use the hashtag #NationalJunkFoodDay to let everyone know they’re indulging.

When is it?
This year (2024)
July 21 Sunday
Next year (2025)
July 21 Monday
Last year (2023)
July 21 Friday
Food & Drinks