Food is considered as a source of fuel to the body. Thus, driving major activities in the body and one’s overall health. Fast food is not compulsorily bad but due to the fact that its highly processed, it contains very unhealthy amount of carbohydrates, added sugar, fat and salts(sodium). Although, these foods contain very high amount of calories, they are also of little nutritional value to the consumers. Research has shown that these place their consumers at risk of Ill-health, uncontrolled weight gain and the likes. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recorded that most people underestimate the number of calories they take at fast food restaurants. In 2013, it discovered that, children and adolescents take in more calories at fast food restaurants than at home taking in a whooping 150-310 calories in one sitting. This sadly has risen due to very diverse types of food and the very many restaurants today . This article seeks to highlight some of the major consequences of frequent fast food consumption.
Digestive and Cardiovascular System
Many junk foods are high in carbohydrate content and thus a lot of calories. The human body is designed to convert this nutrient to glucose with the help of insulin and then it is transported by cells of the body to all parts . As the glucose is absorbed, the blood sugar level reduces. For a body with a very low blood sugar level, the pancreas releases another hormone called glucagon that utilises stored fat. This then creates a form of synchronism for a regulated blood sugar level. All this is altered by increased intake of junk by causing a sudden spike in the blood sugar level. Continuous occurrence of these spike could affect the functioning of the insulin hormone and lead to Type 2 diabetes. According to American heart association, most Americans take in as much sugar than is recommended for proper health leading to increased risk of heart diseases.
Trans fat which are present in most fast foods are manufactured fat that are not beneficial. In fact they are banned in some countries because they are very unhealthy. Trans fat are known to raise the LDL cholesterol which is an undesirable form of cholesterol. It can as well lower it thus facilitating occurrence of type 2 diabetes. Another dangerous element in fast food is sodium or otherwise referred to as salt. Too much salt in the body will cause the body to want to retain water to maintain osmotic balance and will therefore, leave its patient bloated or puffy. High salt content in food can lead to high blood pressure and increased heart muscle. Those with high salt content, are even at risk of kidney stones , kidney diseases and stomach cancer.
High blood pressure and High Cholesterol are among the top risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Obesity is associated with and increase in respiratory problems. Even without medical diagnosis, obesity is characterised with episodes of shortness of breath or wheezing with little exertion. Obesity also plays a role in the development of a condition known as sleep apnea (a condition where sleep is interrupted by shortness of breath and asthma attacks). A recent study has shown that children who consume fast food about 3 or more times a week, are at increased risk of asthma and rhinitis which involves having a congested and drippy nose.
Central Nervous System
A recent study published showed that eating commercial baked goods(doughnuts,croissants, even muffins) and fast food (pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs) maybe be linked to depression. Also, it has been established that a junk food diet could affect the brain’s synapses and molecules, affecting learning and memory according to a journal titled “Nature”. Although this has been proven with an animal. In 2009 scientists fed rats with calories from junk food and were put in a maze they had just completed when fed normal food. It was discovered that the rats were unable to complete the maze once more. This leading to the conclusion that junk food indeed affects learning.
Skin and Bones
A common skin ailment known as acne was connected with the consumption of chocolate and greasy foods. This of course was countered my the recent discovery that the real cause were carbs which are very high carbohydrate containing food which trigger acne. Also children with high junk food consumption rate stand a risk of getting eczema(inflamed irritated patches on the skin). When you consume foods very high in carbs and sugar,the bacteria present in the mouth produce acids. These acids produced are capable of destroying the enamel of the tooth, leading to what we popularly call Dental or Tooth Cavity. Also, excess sodium contained in junk food reduces the content of the much needed calcium for strong bones and teeth leading to what is called osteoporosis(thin, fragile bones).
Remember, junk food is not bad but not learning how to control the consumption of these foods is what might be the line between sound health and even death. Soo Eat Healthy and Stay healthy!!
ODDIE AND AFOMA.