The world is still gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s another battle going on that’s unfortunately just as deadly yet not discussed enough—obesity. There are many reasons why western societies are getting more and more obese, but one of the main culprits is fast food. This type of food is cheap, available, practical and tasty, and many of us find it hard to reach for broccoli chicken salad when we have a juicy burger and fries in front of us. And obesity is not the only issue with fast food. It actually carries various different negative effects on the body and mind. The answer is clear: “Yes, fast food really is our enemy” and here’s exactly why.
Short-term effects of junk food
After eating a fast-food meal, various things are happening in your body, most of them being quite negative for your health.
Blood sugar spike
The main issue with most fast foods is that they are easily broken down by the body, which causes a quick rise in blood sugar. This spike is usually the result of a strong injection of refined carbohydrates and sugar. A large insulin surge is quickly followed by a blood sugar drop which causes feelings of fatigue and sleepiness. Also, you can expect to be hungry shortly after your meal. Therefore, grabbing a healthy salad or a meal with whole foods and whole grains is a much better choice than burgers and fries.
Blood pressure spike
According to a small study from 2016, fast food saturated in salt can cause an immediate effect on blood vessels which can cause your blood pressure to spike. High levels of sodium are also connected to fluid retention which is another problem to keep in mind. It’s much recommended to watch your sodium intake and avoid overly salty foods.
Boost in inflammations
After you chips and chocolate bar snack, you can quickly boost the possibility of inflammation in the body. Saturated fats and added sugars from fast food boost airway inflammations, which are especially dangerous for people with asthma and can lead to an attack. If you’re looking for a tasty snack that won’t mess with your breathing, nuts and seeds full of vitamin E is your best option.
Most fast foods do not contain a lot of fresh fruit and veggies and people who rely on fast junk food from fast-food chains might struggle to reach their recommended intake of fruit and vegetable. Luckily, this can easily be turned around with much healthier oven ready meals which are a perfect blend between home-cooked food and fast food. Prepared by experienced chefs, these meals are loaded with nutrients instead of empty calories yet very easy to warm up and eat in a matter of minutes. These are also delivered to your home, much like regular fast food, but they are such a healthier and smarter choice.
Long-term effects of fast food
Regularly eating fast food can harm your health, and this is not just an old tale to scare kids into eating veggies. The long-term effects of eating fast food are often irreparable, so it’s crucial to be careful with your choices.
Digestive system issues
Being low in fiber, fast food can cause various digestive conditions. Constipation, diverticular disease and lack of healthy gut bacteria are just some of the negative effects of fast food on your stomach.
Memory and learning issues
A new paper from 2020 suggests that there’s a link between the typical Western-style diet full of saturated fats and simple carbs and the lower capacity for learning and information retention. According to research, fast food diet may be one of the triggers for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
According to FDA, a diet high in sodium can boost blood pressure and make a person more prone to developing heart issues that can often lead to heart attack, stroke and long-term heart disease. A diet high in trans fats AKA bad cholesterol and low in high-density lipoprotein AKA good cholesterol is often the first trigger of heart disease.
Binge eating disorder development
Junk food might sound horrible, but it’s actually quite tasty. Besides, it’s very easy to break down in the mouth without much effort. For that reason, your pleasure center in the brain is triggered almost instantly. The combination of taste and easy-to-eat properties trains the brain to crave more junk food and less whole, fresh foods. Many people who enjoy fast food often suffer from various binge eating disorders and food addiction that leads to obesity and mental health issues.
There is some good news as well
It’s important to look at everything from the perspective of the big picture. If you want to eat chips and burgers and pizza from time to time, the best thing do to is to examine your overall lifestyle. Are you a smoker? Do you drink? Are you physically active every day? Do you eat your recommended fruit and vegetable amounts? While junk food has an immediate bad effect on your body, you can “get away” with eating it occasionally if you lead an overall healthy lifestyle. What is your ratio of healthy to less healthy foods and lifestyle habits? If you can hit the 80:20 ratio, you can freely enjoy an occasional junk good treat.
Also, when you’re planning your daily meals, make sure to choose with your head. Keep in mind that just one healthy meal every day that you manage to squeeze into your busy lifestyle can help you with controlling stress and reducing inflammations in your body. Look at every meal as an opportunity to improve your health, so make smart choices with the knowledge that you now possess.
If you ask any professional or good seeking out research, you’ll see everywhere that fast food is not good for your health. It’s natural to crave junk food from time to time, but make sure to remind yourself of these negative effects when you decide to eat an entire pizza or a double-decker burger. If you still want fast food, have it once a week and use that time to really savor the taste and then go back to enjoying the nourishment of whole foods and clean diet.