Do you know why all your favourite food items including pizzas, chaat, vada pav, bhajiyas, samosas, burgers, frankies, french fries, rolls and wraps are called ‘junk food?’ Well, the dictionary meaning of the word ‘junk’ is useless, extra or something that is not needed. And all these fast food items that have invaded every nook and corner of our country are called junk because they completely justify this meaning.
Have a look at how these junk food play a crucial role in deteriorating your health.
One of major contributing factors for the emerging diabetes epidemic is unhealthy diet full of junk and fast food. When you eat a healthy diet, your body gets a steady supply of glucose, which helps maintain insulin sensitivity. On the other hand, when you eat only junk food, the excessive stress exerted on your metabolism affects the ability of your body to use insulin properly. Since junk food lacks fibre content, its consumption directly results in a spike in sugar levels. Further, junk food consumption leads to obesity, one of the main reasons for insulin resistance and development of diabetes.
2# It can trigger digestive problems: Those who are addicted to fatty junk food are bound to suffer from digestive problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That’s because junk food is deep fried. The oil soaked in junk food gets deposited on the walls of the stomach lining, increases acid production. Spices loaded in them irritate the stomach lining, worsening GERD and digestion. Lack of fibre in them hampers digestion, increasing problems like constipation and haemorrhoids.
3# It causes fatigue and weakness: Junk food lacks most of essential nutrients like proteins and vitamins required for maintenance of overall health and functioning of all the systems in your body. Although it makes you feel full and satisfied, it fails to provide you with instant energy, making you feel weak and tired after a while. If you eat junk food items for all your meals of the day over a period of time, you could be suffer from chronic fatigue. Junk food can lower your energy levels to an extent that it may become difficult for you to even perform your daily tasks.
4# Causes depression among teenagers: A lot of hormonal changes occur in teenagers, which makes them susceptible to mood swings and behavioural changes. And a healthy diet plays an important role in maintaining that hormonal balance. Because junk food lack those essential nutrients, the likelihood of teenagers to suffer from depression is increased by 58 percent.
5# It causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels: Junk food is high in refined sugar which exerts stress on your metabolism. Refined sugar causes the pancreas to secrete more amount of insulin in order to prevent a drastic spike in your blood sugar levels. Because junk food lacks sufficient levels of good carbohydrates and proteins, the levels of blood sugar drop suddenly after you eat. This makes you feel irritable and further increases you craving for more junk food.
6# It affects the brain function: A study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity shows that one week of eating junk food is enough to trigger memory impairment in rats. Recent research suggests that bad fats (trans fats) from junk food tends to replace healthy fats in the brain and interferes with its normal signalling mechanism. Studies in animals have also shown that fats from junk food slow down the ability to learn new skills.
7# It increases the risk of heart disease: Junk food items are loaded with saturated fats and trans fats that directly increase triglyceride and bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood, contributing to plaque formation and heart disease. Further, causing a sudden spike in blood sugar level increases, junk food damages the linings of the blood vessels causing chronic inflammation. This inflammation causes bad cholesterol to stick to the walls of the arteries, blocking blood flow to the heart. When they’re blocked enough, heart attack occurs. Fats from junk food can accumulate over a period of time in your body to make you obese. The more weight you put on, the higher your risk of suffering from heart attack.
8# It can cause kidney disease: The reason why you can never say no to fries and chips is because they contain high amount of finely processed salt which increases salivation and secretion of enzymes that enhance your cravings for these foods. High amount of bad fats and sodium from salt disrupts the sodium-potassium balance of the body and causes hypertension. Since the kidney have to filter all the toxins from the blood, eating a lot of junk food has a direct effect on the kidney functioning.
9# It can damage your liver: Surprisingly, junk food consumption over a period of time can have similar harmful effect on the liver as alcohol consumptions does. A study reported that people who ate junk food and shunned exercise showed changes in liver enzymes within four weeks. These changes were similar to those observed in people with alcohol abuse. According to some studies, it’s the high level of trans fats found in a number of junk food which cause liver dysfunction due to deposition in the liver.
10# It increases your risk of cancer: Lack of fibre is the main reason why junk food consumption is linked to an increased risk of cancers of the digestive system. A study published in European Journal of Cancer Prevention revealed that consuming too much of fast food that are high in sugar and fat can increase your chances of developing colorectal cancer. Another study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle showed that men who ate fried foods more than twice in a month had increased risk of developing prostate cancer.