The Effects of Junk Food on the Body
You have probably heard (and overheard) the hazardous effects of consuming excess junk food. It is however, amazing that even with this increased campaign against eating junk food, it remains part of the main diet of most people around the world. Thanks to its affordable prices and ease of access, junk food remains the popular way to feed on a daily basis. Testimonials against the side effects associated with the foods seem not to be enough to warn the masses against consumption of junk food. The culture of hopping into the nearest fast-food restaurant seems to be embedded and permanent not only locally but also in all western countries.
According to the Food Institutes reports based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, young people spend almost half of their budget on food as they fancy out to quality food. This is in great contrast to a generation ago. The rapid change to dependence on fast foods in America has been uncontrollable.
What are the effect of junk food on the body?
The average American family now consumes almost 50% of fast food in restaurants. This number has shot up from 38% in 1977 as more individuals turn to junk for their main food. Occasional use of fast foods is not detrimental to health. It is high rates of continuous and consistent consumption, which is alarming. The latest reports suggest that junk food will soon become the main source of your diet.
What is Junk Food?
The term ‘junk’ includes the collection of all items of low value and waste material. ‘junk food’ therefore comprises all the low quality consumables from high caloric foods with lots of fat, sugar and no nutrients. It is therefore, food with low nutritional value. The most common and trendy types of junk food are fried fast foods and salted snacks such as potato chips, sweets and ice cream. Others include carbonated beverages, donuts, and candy. They are easy accessible today at low cost especially in malls, supermarkets, as well as movie theaters. They help save time and money and a good alternative to staying well fed. However, they have detrimental health risks to frequent consumers.
The negative effects associated with junk food might shock you because they pose great risk. With the growth of the fast food industry, comes the high demand for the products and higher risk of chronic diseases. Apart from KFC, the biggest multinationals thriving from the desire for junk food include; Nestle, and McDonald’s. The demand for their products has led to effective expanding into huge countries around the world. The latest countries to embrace huge supply of junk food include; Brazil, Ghana, China, and India. This increase has brought high rates of obesity and other serious hazards too. These destructive elements have grown beyond control as the epidemic spreads across the world.
Effect on your Digestive and Cardiovascular Organs
Carbohydrates make up most of the content in fast foods. There is little or no fiber in the products. This means that after breaking down, you will have glucose in high contents injected into your bloodstream. Blood sugar rates rise in your body beyond control. This condition provokes the pancreas to release extra insulin to handle the glucose. As a result, insulin in abundance causes danger to your body’s ability to manage sugar content. The consequence is high risk of type 2 diabetes and uncontrollable weight gain.
Sugar and Fat
Most of the fast foods available in our restaurants have excess sugar. This means poor nutrition apart from the extra calories involved. According to the American Heart Association, between 100 and 150 calories of extra sugar on a daily basis are recommendable. This is equivalent to between 6 and 9 and teaspoons every day and is safe for most individuals. It is also advisable to burn the calories up by exercising regularly.
Among the foods with the highest content of sugar are carbonated drinks. One 300 ml of a carbonated drink holds at least 8 teaspoons of sugar in just 12 ounces of content. This is equal to 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. Fat, on the other hand is found in most processed foods such as, cookies, pastries, and pizzas.
There is no amount of fat that is acceptable as essential or good for your health. Do not be misled to think your body can accommodate any level of this content because it is harmful to your wellbeing. They cause an increase in LDL, which is regarded as ‘bad cholesterol’ in medical terms. Consequently, the presence of these fats lowers your HDL, which is good cholesterol. This condition puts the user at high risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
The demand for these foods have led to an increase in their supply too. Fast food restaurants have doubled their stock and multinational corporations have increased production from their manufacturers. Worse still, there is high tendency to underestimate the level of calories. This means customers are consuming more than they intend. According to the latest studies, regular people are consuming up to 20% of calories. This is definitely an increase, as 10% is the normal amount of caloric intake per day.
Sodium is part of the contributing components making fast foods tastier and loved. What most people do not know is that this is actually salt and leads to retention of water, decreasing hydration. As a result, consuming fast foods makes you feel puffy, bloated, or swollen. People living with conditions such as blood pressure are at higher risk of major challenges after consuming diets with high sodium content. The salt is known to raise blood pressure and put stress on the heart and the entire cardiovascular system.
According to a recent study, which involved 993 adults, found that at least 90% of the respondents underestimate the levels of sodium in their meals. In fact, the estimates were way off the mark—six times lower than that actual content present. An error of over 1,000 milligrams is a serious assumption to make especially considering the AHA recommendations. This means that in one sitting, most adults are consuming half of what they need for the entire day.
Effect on the Respiratory system
You have probably heard about the weight issues related with fast foods. In fact, you are probably a victim of the foods yourself. Obesity is on the increase and out of control around the world. The danger associated with obesity is the high risk of respiratory issues such as asthma and shortness of breath. There is a rising increase in asthmatic tendencies in developed countries under mysterious circumstances. With extra pounds on your heart, you risk high respiratory issues. The lungs will soon yield to the pressure and show signs and symptoms of dysfunctionality. Exertion is not safe for these internal organs as you will soon experience difficulty in breathing to signify you are in trouble. This condition will likely appear during walking, climbing or exercising. Most adults develop complications and eventually, the inability to cope with normal duties and activities.
Children, on the other hand, display these challenges early. The symptoms are clear and intense in them. Most of these children develop asthma just by consuming fast foods regularly. Consistent intake of such contents raises the likelihood of asthmatic conditions in children. The bigger problem is that the children find the foods tasty and make them favorites. Without guidance and restrictions, they end up taking in too much of the food and succumbing to its effects. As a result, they consume junk more than they access natural food.
Effect on the Central Nervous System
Although fast food is a quick alternative to hunger, it is a short-term solution with huge repercussions following. The long-term effects are negative and threaten your life. People who consume processed foods regularly are 50% likely to be diagnosed with depression. They have exposed their nervous system and rendered it susceptible to the effects of non-nutritious foods.
This poses a high risk to children who have a future to rely on independence. Destroying their nervous system early in their childhood hinders their dreams. They will not be at their optimum potential or display their capabilities. Their performance in academics and subsequent careers will be compromised. It is therefore, important to limit the intake of fast foods among children considering the negative impact it has on the central nervous system.
Effect on the Reproductive System
The contents present in junk food are evidently destructive to your fertility. According to a recent study conducted on long term users of junk and fast foods, both men and women had lowered their fertility. Phthalates is the content present in most processed foods responsible for interrupting the normal activity of hormones. These chemicals interfere with how the hormones behave and their role in your body. When in abundance due to consistent consumption, Phthalates causes reproductive issues such as birth defects.
Effect of Integumentary System
We know how foods change the quality of our skin. The appearance of our skin is determined by the quality of food. Nutritious food intake helps to nourish and maintain your skin. Without these vital nutrients present in your food, you risk wrinkling away due to dehydration. The truth is carbohydrates are the biggest contributor to acne breakout. According to Mayo Clinic, carbs are enemy to good looking skin. They lead to sugar spikes and sudden jumps in blood sugar levels and trigger acne among other complications. For this reason, it is important to reduce the rates of intake and increase workout sessions.
Junk is characterized by high sugar levels that not only interfere with insulin sensitivity and blood pressure balance but also interfere with the brain. Junk is responsible for excess chemical activity in the brain. The fact that neurons in the brain are not performing normally, one is likely to dwell on the negative side of life. Regular consumption of junk orients the brain differently.
In fact, teenagers are recorded with the most reports of depression. While there are various causes to the stress levels among the youth, the lifestyle practices with respect to type of food largely contributes to the mind setup. Everybody goes through disappointments in life that easily lead to stress. However, the difference in people with depression and happy lives is how a person dwells on the negative thoughts. Depression is prolonged stress.
Withdrawal symptoms can also be linked to frequent ingestion of junk. Most people tend to resort to junk not because of the sweet tooth effect but as a way of escaping from life reality. It can be used as a therapy that soon becomes addictive. Typically, junk lovers replace essential meals with the snacks.
Junk food misses essential vitamins and minerals for normal growth of the body. Amino acid tryptophan, for instance, is a body essential that is junk food does not have. Fatty acids are also scarce in this category of food. Imbalance in body nutrients causes stress in the body. While the mind and physical body function on different perspectives, they influence each other.
According to recent studies, food has significant effect on memory. Cognitive tests were conducted focusing on mood, seed, and attention frequency among people with high sugar levels from junk. From the research, it was evident that eating junk consistently for 6 days affects concentration and memory.
The effect is related to inflammation of the hippocampus part of the brain as a result of chemical reactions. This part of the brain is responsible for cognitive abilities and memory. Besides, learning ability is impaired. One tends to be slow and poor in concentration. In extreme cases, junk food leads to hallucinations.
Junk food is the easy way to suppress hunger with the busy 21st century schedules. While it is convenient and may be cheap, the health effects are immense. It deteriorates the human body from the mind, digestion, to circulatory systems.