5 Negative effects of junk food you didn’t know
Cheeseburger. Pizza. Kebab. Chinese take-out. Donuts. Ice cream.
Great - now we got you drooling ánd we got your attention, let us dive a bit deeper into the implications of eating (too much) junk food for the human body and your mind. Before we can get a better idea of these effects, we need to quickly understand what is considered junk food.
What is junk food?
Junk food is a term for food that contains a high number of calories from sugar or fat with little fibre, protein, vitamins or minerals. Many of these are high in saturated fats, sugars, carbohydrates, emulsifiers, artificial flavours, salt and/or alcohol. Examples: see above in very first sentence. Picture: see below.
A green salad creeping up on a burger and his greasy friends.
Let’s say you give in to those cravings and you find yourself suddenly covered in BBQ-sauce, milkshakes, chicken wings and ice cream (preferably Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough). Dude... What happened?! We know, you could not help yourself. But consider these 6 facts next time you fall victim to the overwhelming call of junk food.
5 Negative effects of eating junk food1. Obesity
Fast foods are loaded with fat and calories. Eating junk food without any restrictions will have adverse effects on your weight as you will take in more calories than you can expend. And then you will expand. Shortly stated: no amount of trans fat is good or healthy.
Obesity itself increases the risk of potentially fatal heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, as well as sleep apnea and respiratory problems.
2. Cardiovascular impact
In line with fact, number one is the consequence for your heart. Eating foods that contain it can increase your LDL (bad cholesterol), lower your HDL (good cholesterol), and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
The magical combination of fat, sugar, and lots of sodium (salt) makes fast food seem tastier. Food intake high in sodium can lead to water retention, which is why you may feel puffy, bloated, or swollen after eating fast food. A diet high in sodium is dangerous for people with blood pressure conditions. Sodium can elevate blood pressure and put stress on your heart and cardiovascular system.3. Sex life
A healthy heart equals healthy sex. Any eating habit that’s bad for your gym game is also bad for your sex life. The foods you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat them can mess with your energy levels, blood flow, and hormones - all critical players in supercharging your sex life.
Diets that are high in sugar are going to impact your overall cardiovascular health, which subsequently impacts the health of the little man below. Too much sugar will also lower your libido by reducing testosterone levels.
“Hmm... Pizza or burgers? I’m not sure what I feel like tonight.”
Not only does fast food add inches to your waistline, but scientists and researchers have also indicated through various studies that junk food can cause severe damage to your brain. There are certain nutrients that we need for the different functions in our bodies to work effectively, and the brain is no different.
If we are not making healthy food choices and eating enough of nutrients that our bodies need to function correctly, it makes sense it is going to be harder for us to be mentally healthy as well as physically healthy, People that have higher intakes of junk and processed foods are more likely to suffer from depression.
Individuals with low levels of healthy food (vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, lean protein - food that sustains health) are also at an increased risk. Even if you're eating good food, if you're also eating a lot of junk food, it can be a problem.5. Environmental impact
The way food across the globe has changed over the last 30 years is profound and mainly for the worse. This has had a significant impact on the health of the world population and the state of our planet itself.
In light of recent climate reports (and protests), cutting down your junk food intake can have a significant impact on the health of our planet. Only a few food-related environmental impacts to consider are the not so eco-friendly used packaging, the emission of greenhouse gasses/CO2, food waste, fuel consumption for production and supply for fast food.
“But, I still want my junk food injection from time to time?!”
And that is fine. Not everyone goes down the same road, but it is essential to be aware of the impact of overeating on junk food. Keep in mind the list above is not a finite one.
A first step to avoid going down the junk lane food too often is to find the right balance in your food intake. Eat yourself happy with clean, nutritious food. Besides that, do regular sports and exercise on a daily basis - any physical activity that gives you a rush and makes you crave to do it again later that week. Combine these two pillars and you can answer the call to junk food at the right moments without major worries.