In this modern lifestyle, it is inevitable to avoid junk food willingly when feeling happy or sad and even at times under social pressure. Stressful lifestyle, less time to cook has also led to increased consumption of ready to eat processed foods in our life.
Obesity is increasing at an alarming rate, as regular consumption of junk or processed food contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart problems, cholesterol, strokes, dementia, cancer and mental illness.
What is fast or junk food?
These can be accessed easily, they don’t need to be prepared, and are usually high in calories and low in nutrition. E.g. pastry, instant noodles, cookies, etc.
Research suggests that excess calories consumption and junk food may lead to premature ageing, destruction of brain cells, risk of other lifestyle-related diseases and eventually shortening the lifespan.
How can it negatively impact your health?
It all starts with having a bad impact on your digestive health!
Including foods which don’t have fibre and are a poor source of nutrients e.g. French fries, after its consumption and digestion, the carbohydrates will be released as sugar into the bloodstream, leading to a spike in blood sugar levels. So, including these in large as well as frequent quantities may put you at risk of insulin resistance and weight gain. These foods are simple to digest and do not provide satiety while making one eat more.
Detrimental for heart health - As most of the foods are high in saturated fats or have trans fats in it, which are the main contributors leading to increase in cholesterol problem. It further puts your heart at risk of other heart conditions. Also, most of the foods are high in sodium like chips, pizza doughs, ketchup which may lead to increase your blood pressure and put stress on your cardiovascular system.
Make on obese leading to having lifestyle disorders - Intake of excess calories driven by taste leads to accumulation of fat and putting on extra weight with pressure on your overall health. You may notice lack of energy, feeling sluggish, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath in activities like climbing stairs, walking, etc. Research has shown that obese people are at ten times more risk of having heart diseases, diabetes and mental health disorders.
Promotes build-up of oxidants and advanced glycation end products (AGEs)
AGEs are found to be highest in fried animal products, re-using the same oil comprising of cancer-causing chemicals like amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and lipid peroxidases, which are also mutagenic. Additionally, the World Health Organization has now classified processed meats (sausage, bacon, and lunch meats) a class 1 carcinogen.
Mental health disorders
As per research, people who consume fast food are more likely to be stressed or facing acute depression as they are unable to provide their brain with the right nutrients needed to reduce oxidative stress.
To conclude, frequent consumption of fast food invites many health problems, and it is important to include wholesome nutritious food and eliminate unhealthy foods to gain on long term health.
- Anderson, J. W., & Patterson, K. (2005). Snack foods: comparing nutrition values of excellent choices and "junk foods". Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 24(3), 155–157. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2005.10719458
- Ashakiran, S. & Kiran, Deepthi. (2012). Fast foods and their impact on health. Journal of Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences University. 1. 7-15.
- Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Moore PK. Pharmacology. 5th Ed. Delhi: Churchill Livingstone; 2006. P.394-400 32.
- Tripathi KD. Essential of Pharmacology. 5th Ed. New Delhi: Jay Pee Brother.Pvt. Ltd; 2003. P.135-140