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Fast Foods: Serious Health Effects

“Food Can Destroy, but food can also heal it. The change starts with you” Dr. Joel Fuhrman MD (American Celebrity Doctor)

Eat healthy and live healthy is one of the fundamental prerequisites for long life. Unfortunately, today’s world has been to get used to a system of consumption of foods which has many adverse effects on health. Life-style changes forced us so much that one has so little time to think what we eat is right or not! Globalization and urbanization affected one’s eating habits and compelled many individuals to eat fancy and high calorie Fast Foods, popularly known as Junk foods. It causes a majority of diseases due to unhealthy eating patterns. Eating junk food stuff causes a vast number of health risks. Diseases like Obesity, Diabetes, Heart diseases, BP, Skin issues, Respiratory problems, Mental health issues, Bloating & Puffiness, etc. have seen an absolute growth in developing countries and such unhealthy junk food consumption is one of the prominent factors to its contribution.

What is Fast Food?
But have we ever thought why are they called ‘junk’? The term ‘junk’ refers to something that is extra and useless. “Fast Food” is food that is prepared quickly or already pre-made and is eaten quickly or taken out. Although there is a rising number of healthier Fast Food options, most Fast Food is still be classified as junk food. What is “junk food”? Junk food refers to the food’s nutritional value. It is typically processed, having high amounts of sodium, calories, and/or fat, with little nutritional value. Junk food can be prepared as Fast Food, but it simply means food that is not adding any healthy nutrients to one’s diet. They may refer to the same thing, but I think the difference is that Fast Food refers to the way the food is prepared/served, while junk food refers to the kind of food.

Examples of Fast Food: French fries, Hamburger, Burger, Fried Chicken, Pizza, Sandwich, Bagels, Croissants, Energy bars, Soda, Frozen entrees. Deli meats and Cheeses, Cookies, Cakes, Dabeli, Batata Vada, Sev puri, Aloo Chat, Misal Pav, Chicken Shawarma and Candy products made with white flour, and Processed snack foods, etc.

Serious Health Effects Caused By Consumption of Fast Food:

1) Overweight and obesity – This can be the worst health risk that junk food can cause to us. As a result of the illness, the body includes an excessive amount of fat which would make the body fat and weighty. Many Fast Food meals have added sugar. Not only does that mean extra calories but also slight nutrition. Trans fat is manufactured fat created during food processing. No amount of trans fat is good or healthy. Eating foods that contain it can step up our LDL (bad cholesterol), lower HDL (good cholesterol), and increase risk for type 2 Diabetes and Heart disease.

2) Diabetes – Processed foods high in calories and low in vitamins, minerals, and fiber are digested quickly and can cause a quick rise in blood sugar levels. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Fast Food consumption is linked with insulin resistance. This increases an individual’s risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.

3) Cardiovascular Disease- Most Fast Food, including drinks and sides with carbohydrates with little to no fiber. When our digestive system breaks down these foods, they release the carbs as glucose (sugar) into our bloodstream. As a result, our blood sugar rises. But eating high volumes of carbs can lead to repeated spikes in our blood sugar. Fats found in Fast Food are made up of saturated fatty acids. These fats can raise our Blood cholesterol levels, which leads to an increased risk of Cardiovascular disease.

4) High Blood Pressure- Too much of sodium can escalate blood pressure and make the kidneys work harder. Increased Sodium content in Fast Foods may lead to High B.P and adverse effect on Liver, Kidney and Heart.

5) High Cholesterol- Many Fast Foods served are derived from animal products, deep fried and served with cheese and high-fat dipping sauces. “The high fat content in it can contribute to high cholesterol. Also, Fast Food can lower our good (HDL) cholesterol, further putting our heart and our health on the line. Eating too much saturated fat can increase bad cholesterol level in the blood. Elevated levels of cholesterol are the main cause of the heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular diseases and cardio-vascular diseases.

6) Skin Issues – Sugars and carbohydrates spike levels of the hormone insulin, which could produce inflammation in the body. There are certain foods eaten by adolescents in our culture that can cause Acne. These foods include soft drinks, sugary snacks and white bread. Varigos’s research has found a diet high in processed foods creates perfect conditions for pimples. These high-GI foods raise blood sugar levels and cause insulin levels to rise. Over time, high insulin levels can make skin drier, thicker, and flakes of dry skin block pores. It can also increase levels of free androgens in males and females, making the skin’s sebaceous glands produce more oil and triggering acne. Processed foods are produced using manufacturing methods that change raw ingredients into something inside a neat little package with a longer shelf life. They may include several artificial ingredients such as flavors, preservatives, monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrogenated oil, artificial sweeteners and food dyes. It often finds these ingredients in packaged cookies, crackers, baked treats and many Fast Foods. These are also considered “high-glycemic foods” and are inflammatory. They cause a spike in blood sugar, increasing hormones that stimulate oil production and cause inflammatory acne lesions.

7) Respiratory System Problems- Fast Food can enhance our chances of having a respiratory disease. Obesity is associated with an increase in respiratory problems. Even without diagnosed medical conditions, obesity may cause episodes of shortness of breath or wheezing with little exertion. Obesity also can play a role in the development of sleep apnea, a condition in which sleep is disrupted by shallow breathing and asthma.

8) Bloating & Puffiness- The combination of fat, sugar, and lots of sodium (salt) can make Fast Food tastier to some people. But diets high in sodium can lead to water retention, which is why we may feel Puffy, Bloated, or Swollen after eating Fast Food. If we eat more sodium than we need, our kidneys respond by holding onto extra water to keep the sodium concentration in our blood normal. And holding on to that extra water makes us feel bloated. And all that extra liquid can cause our stomach to puff out. We might notice puffiness in our fingers or face, too.

9) Mental health Issues- Fast Food is packed with additives and unhealthy ingredients. Unlike a diet rich in vitamins and omega-3-fatty acids that help boost cognitive and thinking skills, junk food does the opposite. As a result, one may have poor concentration, lack of energy and other mental health concerns. It also rises the level of stress. It has been observed that a rich fat meal can increase our stress level and make you at a greater level of stress compared to those who have a low fat meal.

Fast Food would cause other health issues like Headache, Inflammation, Food poisoning, Dental Problems, etc.

Eating Fast Food is a big risk to our health because it can cause many serious illnesses like Diabetes, obesity, High BP, Respiratory problems, Skin issues, etc.. Some people may say eating Fast Food occasionally is OK, but we should still be careful and aware because eating Fast Food is addictive.
For every human being, good health is the necessity of living a healthy life. So, there is a need to maintain the healthy diet and healthy habits throughout the life. However, increasingly people are opting to eat junk food as it appeals to our base needs. Why? Junk food can stimulate the reward system in our brain, which means we are primed to consume more of it. Our body releases “feel-good” chemicals when we eat these foods, so it’s no wonder they have increased in popularity! In this scenario, every one of us is enjoying well the taste of junk food because it is delicious, affordable and readily available. The consumption of eating junk food is increasing day by day and making us diseased. Everything that goes into our stomachs should be treated with the utmost care because it is the fuel that drives us to become healthy and have enough energy. The parents should take care it that the children could not consume junk food. More the distance from junk foods, more the healthy and happy life.

Avoid Junk, Accept Health! No Junk, Know Health! It is all in our hands to choose junk food or health.

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