Junk food is cheaper, readily available, and can be a treat to the taste buds. But, it can have detrimental effects on your health if consumed frequently. Most of the fast foods, including chocolates, bakery items, burgers, pizza, fried snacks, soft drinks, etc., can be categorized as junk food. Various studies have shown that junk food increases the risk of heart diseases and can affect the brain and make it weak. Some studies also proved junk foods to be as addictive as alcohol and drugs.
Any food that is high in calories, low in nutrients, and highly processed is called junk food. They also contain too much sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fats. Eating fast or junk food once in a while might not cause much harm, but a habit of eating out could be potentially dangerous. We have listed the possible health problems due to eating junk food regularly:
1) Obesity and Diabetes
It may seem you are not eating much, but the number of calories that you consume through junk food can lead to unintentional weight gain and even obesity. High amounts of sugar and trans fats contribute to this weight gain. Junk food is also loaded with carbohydrates, which gets broken down in the digestive system, and glucose is released into the blood. There is a spike in glucose levels every time you eat food high in carbohydrates, which affects the response of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels over time. This increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
2) Memory and Learning Problems
A recent study stated that people who ate junk food performed poorly during IQ tests, proving that junk foods can deteriorate your memory and make your brain weaker. Junk food is said to cause inflammation of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and recognition. Another study linked poor food habits with dementia, probably due to high blood pressure and cholesterol, lowering the brain’s blood supply.
Several studies show that your diet and mental health are related. Scientists have found that people who ate more junk food, such as processed meat, chocolates, fried food, and high-fat dairy products, are more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression. They are loaded with sugar and fats that can affect the brain’s chemical balance, leading to mental health disorders. The body also loses essential nutrients and amino acids, which affect the person’s ability to handle stress and leaves them feeling depressed.
4) Stunted Growth and Development
Living just on junk food causes nutritional and vitamin deficiencies. Nutrients and vitamins are essential for the proper growth and development of the body. Development of the brain and other body parts can get hampered in children with a poor diet because of fatty acids and essential nutrients imbalance. Sugary beverages and chips lack the proper nutrients required for children to develop fully. Make sure you give your child food high on fiber and protein and limit processed foods.
5) Dental Caries
Fast food is also bad for your oral health because of the added salt and sugar in it. When you eat these foods, they are more likely to stick to your teeth. The high carbohydrates and sugar content in this food debris allow acids to build-up on the surface of your teeth, which leads to demineralization (removal of minerals, especially calcium) of the tooth enamel (the outermost part of your tooth), leading to tooth decay and cavities.
If you are addicted to junk food and you have intense cravings, do not deprive yourself, as these make you more likely to binge later. Instead, find out healthier ways to make your tasty snacks. You can also reach out to nutritionists and other health experts online for ideas and help.