Fast Food. It is cheap, tasty, and marketed to us when we were kids, in the expectation that we will become their permanent customers for life. For several companies, that strategy has worked. But there is a twist in this. If we eat too many fast food meals, that regular customer’s lifespan could be a lot shorter than if they had eaten more food unassociated with colonels, clowns, freckle-faced girls with red-colored pigtails, and kings. In most of the cases, fast food is highly processed and consists of large amounts of added sugar, carbohydrates, unhealthy sodium, and fats. These foods are always high in calories while providing little nutrition. And when fast food replaces nutritious whole foods in your diet, it can lead to all types of bad health effects. Here are a few effects of fast food on health.
What is fast food?
Generally, the term, “Fast Food” refers to the food that people intend to consume fast. There are many well-researched shreds of evidence that prove the dangers of fast food, in both long-term and short-term. Every fast food is not bad, and an individual can make the right choice by doing enough research to find the nutritional content of specific fast food items. You will find these items in most of the fast-food restaurant’s menu.
Short Term Effects of Fast Food on Health
As fast food is typically high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats, looking at the short term effects of these nutrients can help you find what happens in the short-term when an individual eats fast food. According to the Journal, Nutrition Research and Practice, eating foods that contain a large amount of sugar as the first meal in a day could make him feel hungrier at their later meal compared to when they eat a low-sugar meal. Dieticians, doctors, and health professionals believe that is because sugary food items are harsher at offering satiety, or a feeling of fullness.
Also, foods that are high in carbohydrates increase the body’s demand for insulin, which in turn makes you feel more hungry within a short span of time after every meal. According to experts, the more hungry an individual is before their next meal, the more likely they are to eat huge amounts of calories than required.
As per a study in the Journal of Hypertension, consuming too much salt can have an immediate effect on the functioning of blood vessels. Intake of too much sodium can cause fluid retention. Often, fast food is low in fresh vegetables and fruits, which makes it difficult for people to reach their proposed regular intake of about 5 servings. It may also be difficult for them to reach their required fiber intake, which is nearly 25 grams every day.
Fast food is highly acceptable, which means that it breaks down in the mouth quickly, does not need much chewing, and triggers the reward centers in the brain fast. This combo trains the taste palate to prefer these highly processed, stimulating fast foods. This in turn reduces a person’s desire to have whole, nutritious foods. According to research from 2018, there is a link between fast food intake and the prevalence of food addiction for these low-nutritious foods.
Long Term Effects of Fast Food on Health
Here are some of the major disadvantages of fast food that can affect your health for a prolonged time period.
Type 2 diabetes and Obesity
Perhaps the most commonly thought of the long-term effect of a bad diet, obesity plays the role of a catalyst for many health issues- one of which is type 2 diabetes. When you consume a diet that contains excess salt, sugary, or fatty acids, it becomes easy to eat more calories than you burn, which leads to obesity and weight gain. When a person suffers from obesity, his or her body carries a large amount of fat tissue, which can cause their cells to become resistant to insulin, and can cause type 2 diabetes. Several studies have found that about 80% of people suffering from Type 2 diabetes can get rid of it if they eat right, stop consuming tobacco products, and do proper exercise.
One of the common long term effects of fast food on health is depression. Obesity lowers self-esteem, and in turn, causes depression. Kids who eat junk food are at risk of causing depression even without causing obesity. Depression affects development and growth parameters, social relationships, and academic performance. Also, it results in a high risk of suicide.
Indigestion and Acid Reflux
One of the major disadvantages of fast food is it causes indigestion. Anybody can experience indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux, but these conditions can increase by overeating fast foods. Fatty foods can stick in your stomach for a longer span of time compared to other foods, which can produce more acid inside the stomach. More acid means you have a greater chance of experiencing acid reflux, which in turn causes heartburn. In addition, too many fatty foods can cause continual, nagging pain in the upper abdomen generally referred to as indigestion.
The Non-Communicable Disease Alliance assesses that poor diets account for nearly 31% of coronary heart disease cases and about 11% stroke cases. Heart disease, which is at times referred to as “cardiovascular disease”, is usually characterized by narrow blood vessels. When your diet is unhealthy, it raises the number of cholesterol particles present in your blood and allows plaque to develop inside your arteries. These partially-blocked arteries can finally lead to strokes and heart attacks.
Low intake of vegetables and fruits can cause 19% of gastrointestinal cancer. In conflict, that same group estimates that nearly 40% of cancers can be avoided by just maintaining a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and avoiding tobacco. Knowing this, it is easy to see just how important it is to maintain a healthy diet and how harmful a lifestyle of junk food intake can be to your health.
Intake of a lot of fast food in childhood makes it difficult to eat healthy foods in the later stage of life, even if associated medical issues are evident, as childhood food habits freeze by middle age. The addictive taste of fast food makes it not likely that the taste palate will savor the less complex and less spicy tastes of ordinary food.
Bad impact on your skin
Consuming fast food may cause skin problems like acne. No, it is not always the fried components or chocolate. It can also be caused due to excessive intake of white flour, sugar, and carbohydrates.
It is one of the common negative effects of fast food. There are some foods that naturally contain high amounts of sodium, but sodium is also added to several food products. Some of these additives include sodium nitrite, monosodium glutamate, baking soda, sodium benzoate, and sodium saccharin. These additives are used in the form of preservatives and flavoring. Considering dietary sodium restrictions, it is suggested that adults must consume less than 1,500 milligrams every day, and should never consume over 2,300 milligrams a day. Intake of excessive sodium causes the body to retain water, which makes you feel puffy and bloated.
Fast food contains too much sugar, salt, saturated and trans fats along with processed ingredients and preservatives. A lot of research has proved the disadvantages of fast food. However, not all fast foods are bad. Some items might have fewer fats and calories than others. To keep one’s health in good condition, one must consume fast food items that contain less fat, sugar, and carbs. Also, they should try to lessen the amount of fast food they eat.