Junk foods are called 'junk' for a reason. They are basically food items that contain no nutrition and become a source of empty calories that may lead to unnecessary weight gain which increases the risk of other lifestyle diseases like hypertension, high cholesterol, heart problems and diabetes.It may be comforting to indulge in cheesy, fatty or sugary foods, once in a while, but given the surge of fast food chains in India and across the globe, the so called 'junk diet' is becoming a part of our daily lifestyle. Take a cue from the growing incidence of childhood obesity year by year. According to the World Health Organisation, the number of overweight children under the age of five was estimated to be over 42 million in 2015 globally.
There has been a lot of evidence to show that junk food can mess with your body and your brain and the latest study, published in the Journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, serves as a warning sign. A team of researchers have found that regular consumption of fried potatoes (most commonly enjoyed as French fries) is linked to an increased risk of death. The health risk has been associated with the way potatoes are cooked and consumed and not potatoes in general indicating the effects of fried and fatty foods. Here are five ways in which French fries and other fast food items can destroy your health.
1. Digestive problems: Fast food can cause some serious digestive problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even peptic ulcers. This is particularly linked to fried foods. The oil used for frying gets soaked into the junk food and is deposited on the walls of the stomach lining that can increase acid production and create an imbalance. Moreover, the lack of fiber may lead to constipation and haemorrhoids.
2. Depression: Junk food can not only damage your body but it also affects your brain. A study conducted at the University of Montreal on mice showed that they suffered with withdrawal symptoms after their regular junk food diet was discontinued. In humans, these withdrawal symptoms can lead to the inability to deal with stress, make you feel depressed and eventually you would turn back to those foods to comfort yourself and handle these feelings.
3. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels: Fast food is packed with refined carbohydrates that cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate rapidly putting an extra stress on your metabolism and pumping up insulin production. This may cause sudden spikes in your blood sugar levels making you feel happy and satisfied for a short time but as soon as they return to normal you are left feeling all the more irritable and impatient. Over time, this stress can ruin your body's ability to use the insulin secreted by your pancreas and put you at the risk of developing diabetes.
4. Increased risk of kidney and liver disease: Daily consumption of highly-processed, sugar, and fat-laden foods can affect blood glucose regulation which can acutely stress your kidneys and endocrine system. Similarly, regular consumption of junk food may lead to fatty deposits that can cause liver dysfunction. Dr. Anshul Jai Bharat, a Delhi-based Nutritionist, agrees, "Junk food has too much processed sugar and salt, so when it goes into your system it leads to hormonal imbalances that directly impacts the functioning of your kidneys and the liver. "
Fast food items are cheap and mass-produced and for them to be so, they are pumped with high quantities of sugar, fats and salt that makes additive and irresistible. They may offer maximum taste but minimum nutrition at the cost of your health. So, don't fall victim to these foods. Make smarter choices.