We all love a bit of fast food every now and again, but there is no denying that it can have some negative effects on the body – especially if it’s consumed frequently.
Here are some common issues with a diet high in fast food.
Junk/fast food tends to be lacking the essential nutrients to keep your body healthy. Because of this, a diet high in junk food may leave you feeling low in energy. This may not be an issue if you are getting good nutrition from the rest of your diet, but it is almost impossible to get the proper nutrition you need to keep your body running optimally on junk food alone.
✓ When you eat a sugary treat such as a bar of chocolate, it will get digested quite fast by the body and release a big chunk of glucose into your blood stream providing a surge of energy. In order to clear the blood of all the glucose, your body releases insulin to try and bring the sugar levels down and into check again which can send your blood levels low thus causing a slump in energy, which can lead you to crave more junk food for a quick fix!
As fast food/junk food down is often calorie dense, it is very easy to over eat and under estimate how many calories you are consuming. Keep an eye on the nutritional labels of your treats and be aware the portion size accounted for on the label might not be the portion size you plan to consume.
Many labels use tiny portion sizes to confuse customers into thinking a food is lower in calories than it really is.
For example: with sweets, it’s possible to see calories and macronutrient information for just one sweet, when you intend to eat five.
Relation to Diabetes
A diet high in sugary foods is a common cause of the development of type two diabetes and insulin resistance. Type two diabetes occurs when the body no longer responds to insulin the way it should, or the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to manage high sugar levels.
✓ As a result of this, glucose stays in the blood stream and cannot be used by the body for energy. Having diabetes actually increases your risk for other illnesses such as heart disease.
Liver and heart disease
Non-alcohol related fatty liver disease is a common ailment in obese individuals. This is a group of liver diseases caused by a build up of fat in the liver – usually seen in overweight and obese people.
Having high levels of fat in your liver also increases your risk for other issues such as heart disease and stroke.
✓ Heart disease is also more prevalent in over weight and obese populations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) this is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. This occurs when the arteries to the heart are blocked by fatty substances.
Most sweet wrappers have a warning on the label that eating too many sugary treats is bad for your teeth. This is very true as all dentists will tell you.
✓ If you indulge in junk food too frequently, your teeth will suffer and you will develop plague on them which will lead to painful fillings and tooth extractions long term.
Bloating & digestive health
Bloating is a common issue associated with fast food. The high amounts of salt can contribute to this, and most people are familiar with the food baby look typically present after indulging in a take away pizza.
Additionally, fast food is typically low in fibre. By eating too much fast food and too little fibre, your digestive health will suffer.
✓ A lack of fibre is associated with constipation and bloating, which can be compounded by dehydration caused by the high levels of salt that tend to be present in fast food.
Take home message
Although fast food can be considered a treat, it is something that should be enjoyed in moderation to benefit both inside and out!