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Everyone loves to gorge on junk foods, especially children who don't have the willpower to resist the temptation. A study revealed that children who watch junk food advertisements increase their risk of unhealthy food choices, which they make within less than 30 minutes after exposure to advertisements .
So, what is junk food? The word "junk" refers to something that is rubbish and waste. And true enough, junk foods are devoid of nutrients and unhealthy, which could have serious health consequences, irrespective of whether you have them once in a while or probably every day.
Regular consumption of fast foods such as burger, pizza, sandwich and pastries which usually contain harmful ingredients like sugar, palm oil, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, artificial sweeteners, trans fat, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), to name a few increases the risk of obesity, heart disease, cancer and so on.
Disadvantages Of Junk Food
1. Causes memory problems
Consuming junk food could deteriorate your memory. Higher intake of high fat and high sugar foods can slow down the speed of learning, memory and attention. Excessive consumption of foods high in fat and sugar changes the parts of the brain that are responsible for learning, memory and reward .
2. Lowers appetite
Excess consumption of processed and fried foods can send mixed signals to the brain, which makes it difficult to process how much hungry you are and how much satisfied. Eating junk foods will deprive your body of essential nutrients and kill your appetite by keeping your stomach full for a long period of time. This lowers your consumption of healthy foods .
3. May cause depression
Consuming fast foods alters the chemical activity of the brain, which could lead to withdrawal symptoms that involve the inability to deal with stress, and hence it makes you depressed. A study found that people who eat fast foods and processed foods are at an increased risk of depression compared to those who consume less fast foods .
4. Increases cancer risk
A study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention showed an association between fast food consumption and colon cancer risk. The results of the study found that eating fast foods like falafel, potato chips and corn chips were linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. The study also says that eating one to two or more than five servings of fried potatoes per week or intake of two to three servings of chicken sandwiches per week also increases colon cancer risk .
5. Impair digestion
Junk foods cause digestive problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). They also cause other digestive problems such as acidity, constipation and bloating. The reason being these fast foods are high in sodium that allows the accumulation of water retention in the stomach, making you feel bloated.
6. Increases weight gain
A study published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene showed a link between fast food consumption and obesity risk in students. During the study, 67.4% females and 80.7% males had one type of fast food, which included sandwich, pizza and fried chicken. The results showed that the prevalence of obesity based on body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR) were 21.3% and 33.2% respectively .
7. Elevates heart disease risk
Fast foods such as soda, pizza, cookies, pastries and fries contain high amounts of sugar and trans fat. Trans fat is known to increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease HDL (good cholesterol) which put you at risk of heart disease .
8. Rises blood sugar levels
Junk foods contain simple carbohydrates that causes a spike in blood sugar levels. Eating junk foods more often will alter the normal insulin level, thereby increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, weight gain and insulin resistance.
9. Causes kidney damage
Junk foods are high in sodium which can contribute to kidney disease. Sodium causes a build-up of fluid in the kidneys. As per the Harvard Medical School, excess sodium increases the risk of kidney stones because it leads to a rise in calcium levels in the urine.
10. Causes liver damage
Higher intake of fast foods are highly toxic to the liver because these foods are high in fat and sugar. Excess consumption of fat gets accumulated in the liver, which gives to a rise in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
11. Affects fertility
Higher consumption of junk foods increases the risk of infertility in men and women. They may lead to various reproductive problems such as low sperm count and birth defects in unborn babies in the womb.
12. Causes bone erosion
Fast foods and soft drinks such as soda tend to increase acids in the mouth, which breaks down the tooth enamel and exposes it to bacteria, causing tooth decay and cavities. In addition, fast foods can also weaken your bones, which icnreases the risk of osteoporosis.
13. Affects the skin
Eating too much of junk foods such as fried and processed foods can cause various skin issues including acne. A study showed that children and adolescents who consume fast foods more than three times per week are at an increased risk of severe eczema .
How To Overcome Eating Junk Food
- Drink plenty of water
Consume protein-rich foods
- Munch on healthy snacks whenever you are hungry
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid taking too much of stress
- Practice mindful eating
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
Can junk food make you sick?
Yes, excess consumption of junk foods can have a detrimental effect on your health. It can make you sick and tired and also cause various other health problems.
Why fast food is bad for you?
Fast foods are bad for your health because they are high in trans fat, saturated fat and sugar that increase the risk of blood sugar, heart disease, cancer, liver and kidney problems.
How can you stop eating junk food?
You can stop eating junk foods by incorporating these things into your daily diet, which include eating more fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and protein and fibre-rich foods.
Will you lose weight if you stop eating fast food?
Yes, consumption of fast foods lead to weight gain. So, as soon as you stop eating junk foods the calorie consumption will reduce and you will start losing weight.