We all know that junk food is not good for you, but only few know how junk food affects your health. Junk food is a term that refers to foods that are high in calories, unhealthy fats, and added sugars.
This type of food is typically low in nutritional value and contains high levels of salt and chemicals. Junk food is often eaten for its taste and convenience, but it can hurt your health if consumed in excess.
Knowing what these foods are and their effects is a helpful way you can learn to cut back on their excessive consumption.
How Fast Food Affects your Health
There are at least 8 ways in which junk food, often referred to as fast food, can affect your health. Some such as poor nutrition and weight gain are nominally known, but many of the others are little known.
As you grow older, why does it seem that when you eat fast food it appears to just sit in your intestine like lead? Read on to find out why.
Junk food is often high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats, but low in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Consuming too much junk food can therefore result in a lack of these essential nutrients, which can lead to poor nutrition.
Many types of junk food, such as chips and processed foods, are high in sodium. Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.
Junk food is often high in calories and low in satiety, meaning that it can be easy to overeat and consume excessive amounts of calories. This can lead to weight gain and poor nutrition.
How Junk Food Affects Your Health – Weight Gain
High calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats cause weight gain. Junk foods contain all of these things that cause obesity.
Most people know that junk foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. It fills your body with unnecessary nutrients and gives energy without providing sufficient minerals.
This leads to the accumulation of irrelevant fats in the body which causes weight gain.
Fibers are essential in a healthy diet. They fulfill hunger and satisfy you after a meal. Junk foods lack fiber which leads to overeating and an empty stomach even after a complete dinner. In this way, our body is filled with extra calories causing weight gain.
Sugar is the killer element found in junk food. Its high content not only causes weight gain but also becomes a source of various diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Junk foods are a source of unhealthy fats such as trans and saturated fats. Trans fats are found in fried, baked, and processed foods like crackers and chips. When hydrogen is mixed with vegetable oil it produces trans fats. It is done to increase the shelf life of processed foods and give them a texture. Consumption of trans fats increases the risk of heart disease.
Saturated fats are found in cheese, butter, and meat. Though, they are healthy for a good diet. But excess of everything is bad. Unnecessary intake of such fats can cause various health issues.
Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
One of the harmful effects of eating junk food is diabetes. Junk foods are loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugar. These two ingredients spike sugar levels and in the worst case cause insulin resistance. This leads to type 2 diabetes.
Junk food fills our bodies with unhealthy fats. These high fats hinder the use of insulin which causes insulin resistance. IR is the main cause of type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, such food items imbalance bacteria quantity in the gut, it leads to a problem known as dysbiosis. Dysbiosis leads to sugar problems.
Increased Risk of Cancer
Colorectal cancer is known as colon cancer. It happens when cells in the gut grow uncontrollably.
Junk foods can cause colon cancer. Consumption of junk burgers, hot dogs, or processed meats, increases the number of nitrites and nitrates in the human body. This can damage DNA and lead to cancer.
Moreover, some junk foods contain acrylamide which is a carcinogen, formed when food is cooked at high flame.
Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants that protect against cancer. Junk food lacks such nutrients.
High quantities of salt in junk food also affect the stomach lining. This can lead to stomach issues such as stomach cancer.
Increased Risk of Depression
Mood and diet are directly proportional. A good, healthy, and nutritious diet makes you feel healthy, light, fresh, and happy. Whereas unhealthy stuff like junk food can cause anxiety, stress, and depression.
Junk food often consists of refined and processed foods. Such food items can cause severe inflammation in the joints. A restricted lifestyle brought on by inflammation may be a cause of depression.
Hormones have a direct connection with diet. Sometimes, junk food can cause hormonal imbalance and leaves depression as a side effect.
Dopamine and How Junk Food Affects Your Health
Junk food can cause addiction by affecting the reward center in the brain, which is responsible for regulating feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. This reward center is activated by the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in feelings of pleasure and motivation.
Junk food is often high in sugar, salt, and fat, which can lead to a rapid and intense release of dopamine in the brain. This can create a strong association between the pleasure of eating junk food and the release of dopamine, leading to cravings and addiction.
Furthermore, some studies have shown that junk food can also affect the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for impulse control and decision-making. This can make it harder for people to resist the temptation of junk food, leading to a cycle of addiction.
Poor Digestive Health
Junk food is often low in fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy digestion. A lack of fiber can lead to constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues.
Junk food can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and a decrease in beneficial bacteria. This can lead to digestive issues and an increased risk of inflammation and chronic diseases.
Conclusion – How Junk Food Affects Your Health
So, now that you understand how junk food affects your health, what are you going to do about it?
Although junk food can cause weight gain, health problems, and poor body performance, sometimes, a small amount of it just to satisfy craving is okay but making it a part of daily routine can cause serious health issues.
Ultra-processed foods may be linked to increased risk of cancer | Imperial News | Imperial College London. (n.d.). Imperial News. https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/242892/ultra-processed-foods-linked-increased-risk-cancer/#:~:text=The%20study%20found%20that%20higher
Pietrangelo, A. (2022, November 14). Fast Food’s Effects on 8 Areas of the Body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-food-effects-on-body#digestive-and-cardiovascular
Junk food and diabetes: The link, the effects, and tips for eating out. (2019, April 5). Www.medicalnewstoday.com. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317122#:~:text=Junk%20foods%20are%20high%20in