The Effects of Fast Food on Your Body
Dropping into a fast food outlet can happen more often than some of us would like to admit. Whilst the occasional fast food meal won’t do much damage, making it a regular habit could have some serious health consequences. Read on to find out the full effect of what fast food could be doing to your body.
Fast food is a quick route to an increase in body weight – over time, this can lead to obesity. With obesity come respiratory issues such as asthma. This increase in weight will also cause pressure to your heart and lungs, making physical exertion require more effort and leave you feeling short of breath. One study has shown that children who ate fast food 3 or more times per week were more likely to develop asthma.
One study has shown that many processed foods contain phthalates; these are chemicals that can interrupt how hormones behave within your body. Exposure to high levels of these chemicals could potentially lead to reproductive and fertility issues.
Obesity can lead to complications with bone density and muscle mass. People who are obese have a greater risk of falling and breaking bones. Consistent exercise and a well balanced diet will help to build muscle, support bones and minimise bone loss.
Carbohydrates and sugar found within processed food can increase the acidity levels in your mouth. Higher acidity levels can lead to a breakdown of tooth enamel, leaving you at risk of developing cavities. Poor oral health has also been linked with an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Studies have shown that people who eat processed food are 51% more likely to develop depression than people who don’t.
Fast food is typically high in carbohydrates and low in fibre. Once broken down, these carbohydrates are released as sugar into your bloodstream, increasing your blood sugar rapidly. This will cause your pancreas to release insulin to transport sugar throughout the body to the cells that need it. This is a perfectly normal and healthy bodily function. However, if these sugar spikes become a regular occurrence, this could cause your body’s normal insulin response to falter, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and weight gain.
Studies have found that the blood sugar spikes caused by the carbohydrates within fast food may trigger acne. Research has shown that adolescents who eat fast food at least three times per week are more likely to develop eczema.
Many fast foods are high in salt. This can cause blood pressure to increase, putting stress on your heart and cardiovascular system. Many people under estimate how much salt is in their food, with fast food regularly containing up to half of your suggested day’s intake in one meal.
Many fast foods also contain trans fats (trans fats are manufactured fat created during food processing), which can increase your cholesterol level and risk of heart disease.
Body weight & appearance
Fast food is known for having excess amounts of sugar and fat. These extra calories provide little to no nutrition and can lead to weight gain over time.
Excess salt found within processed foods can lead to water retention, leaving you feeling puffy and bloated.
Fast food is commonly consumed simply out of convenience. However, with a little extra planning, you can avoid these temptations and eat foods that will boost your health and leave you feeling fuller for longer.