As and when you pass from a branded pizza or a burger restaurant, you feel to have a taste of your favourite pizza. This shows your craving for the yummy bite of the food that tastes delicious to your tongue. These junk foods contain such spices, fried in a high amount of oil and served in a way to catch your eye-sight. These foods are termed as junk foods.
What are junk foods and how is it different from fast foods?
The literal meaning of junk is the waste, so junk food is said to be a waste food for the body. Although they are easy, quick and convenient to prepare but they lack in nutritional value. Some nutritionists term it to be ‘empty calories’ food. Some examples of junk foods are potato chips, corn chips, popcorns, onion rings, processed and pre-packaged cookies, carbonated beverages, and candies.
On the other hand, fast foods can also be prepared quickly and easily. One can find them to be inexpensive, as they involve less cooking. From a past few years, one can find big brands and names of such fast food centres. As a variety, they have added the salad and other high in nutrition food items into their menu list. Some examples of fast foods are French fries, pizza, hamburgers, salted snacks, hot dogs, fried chicken, and grilled products.
How can junk food cause harm to an individual?
Junk food is not only causing harm to an individual’s calorie consumption but also impacts various aspects of their life. They cause harm to different organs and organ system of your body.
One might have a point here that these foods are not stale or spoiled ones so why should they not be eaten. Truth to be told here, undoubtedly junk foods are prepared from freshly harvested crops, but its cooking may cause side-effects. These are fried or baked in inappropriate conditions and so are considered to be unhealthy for eating. They may add an extra inch to your waistline. You need to check the points below to know how it can harm your healthy well-being.
1Digestive and Cardiovascular Systems
A variety of junk and fast foods are high in carbohydrate content. And carbohydrate refers to the blast of calories in the body. Carbohydrates are firstly broken by the cells to release glucose and energy. This energy is utilised for different types of physical work or other biological processes in our body. An excess amount of carbohydrate is circulated into the blood which becomes the main reason for blood sugar. The digestive gland pancreas liberates insulin in this response and converts excess of glucose to glycogen. Glycogen is stored in body muscles. There are refined sugars present in junk foods. Refined sugar is known to dissipate insulin from the pancreas to prevent a drastic increase in blood sugar levels. As junk foods are low in their nutritional value, blood sugar drops instantly after eating them. This raises your irritation and so, further cravings. Thus, the whole of the digestive and cardiovascular systems get affected by this processes.
Sodium is an important mineral to be taken with your daily diet. Sodium has a property to keep water in the body. An excess sodium in the body makes you feel full or overstuffed. Apart from this sodium can also contribute to high blood pressure, which may result in collapsing of heart muscles. Junk foods increase your sodium level in the blood. This proves to be risky in the long run.
As and when we think of obesity we might imagine a fluffy child sitting on a chair with a bowl of popcorn in his hands. One of the studies has proved that obesity acts as a precursor to many dreadful diseases in a healthy individual. Junk foods have proved to be a big reason for increasing the obese population every year. These foods add on to stored fats as compared to the synthesis of healthy fats and so the kid suffers from obesity. A drastic change was seen when these kids were given with fibre rich diet and asked to follow a healthy lifestyle, they started losing some pounds. They were able to reduce around 3 – 6 kgs in a fortnight period.
4Central Nervous System
As per a research work, junk foods can affect the nervous system of an individual’s body. The study determined that the individuals who have a habit of eating junk foods are more prone to depression. This can increase to 51-60% in a normal individual who eats junk foods for 3-4 days in a week. The study also concluded that as the individual gets inclined to healthy eating, the depression symptoms gets reduced. It is hard to believe that junk foods can also impact chemical signalling across synapses in the brain. And so it affects the memory building capacity in children who gets into the habit of eating junk foods at an early age. It also interferes with the focus of an individual.
Added sugars have no nutritional value but are high in calories. The presence of sugars in junk foods make you unhealthy. Also, there is seen an addition of trans fats which also lack in nutritional content. In fact, some of the countries have banned trans fats now. The biological function of trans fats includes a rise in the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. LDL gets deposited near the arteries wall and narrows the space for the blood flow. This increases the arterial pressure and thus, it was found out to increase the chances of a heart disease like heart attack, heart failure etc.
Junk foods make you obese and obesity brings with it many of the respiratory problems. It also disrupts sleep and you might suffer from insomnia in the long run. It has been seen in some of the regular junk food lovers that they find difficult to breathe, even at a normal height. They feel the congestion in the chest area, near the lower part of lungs. This leads to shortness of breath or wheezing like symptoms.
7It can cause kidney disease
You like French fries as it enhances your feel good factor in the brain. The presence of a high amount of finely processed salt enhances saliva secretion in the mouth. This causes you to eat more of such foods. The high supply of sodium can disrupt the sodium-potassium balance of the body. This balance is utmost important to maintain osmoregulation. This is the key principle of kidney functioning. As kidney is known to remove all the toxins from the body, it may lead to improper filtration of blood. This accumulates toxins in the body that are the reason for certain other diseases.
8It increases your risk of cancer
Cancer is such a scourge that the whole world’s population is getting affected by it. But the truth is your burger may be a reason for causing cancer in the near future. As junk foods are lacking in fibres, it counts to be its spoiling nature for an individual’s health. One of the research studies has proved a regular junk food based diet to be the cause of colorectal cancer. This is in connection to low fibre content in these foods. Even an increase in free radicals due to toxin deposition result into other types of cancer like blood, breast or lung cancer. The risk factor increases if a person diverts from his healthy eating diet.
9Skin and teeth
How horrible would it be if a pizza becomes the cause of your incurable acne? There were studies which found out that skin acne might be due to habitual eating of junk foods. Patients showed an increased sign of irritated skin patches. When you consume foods high in carbohydrates and refined sugars, it leads to the production of acid by bacteria. This becomes a cause of enamel disruption and tooth loss. Once the enamel of your tooth is lost, it can’t be replaced.
10It may damage your liver
You might be relaxed to find that you are a non-alcoholic person, so your liver health would be much better as compared to alcoholic ones. The fact is; junk food lovers also suffer from harmful effects of liver infection as that of alcoholics. An individual who has a habit of junk food eating for once or twice a week and follows any regular activities are believed to have a healthy liver. Whereas the absence of junk foods changes the type of enzyme secreted by liver thereby affecting the digestion process in a positive manner.
11Body mass index
Obesity and a high value of BMI run side by side. BMI is actually a calculation of your rate of metabolism as per your height and weight. Extreme obesity and a high value of BMI of 40 makes you unhealthy. Junk foods may alter your BMI making it difficult to lose weight.
Some tips to resist yourself from eating junk foods:
- Limit yourself by eating some of the healthier choices of the food. The advertisements, lucrative offers may pull you to the big brands but you always need to divert yourself. This will help you to get rid of such eating habits gradually.
- Always choose fresh juices or soups in place of aerated sodas.
- Rely upon whole grain based foods and avoid sugary or sweetened beverages.
- Avoid in the first place eating and watching TV, it has been in a direct connection to make you obese.
A strong willpower can help you lose such type of habits. As per human psychology, willpower is an act that comes from both the brain and the body. A regular focus on achieving your self-improvement may help you to be a better person. A continued effort may help you in limiting your junk foods cravings. Chips and cookies may invite you again and again but try to divert yourself to healthy eating. A continued trial for 6-8 months might outcast these unhealthy cravings from your life. Celebrate happy eating with healthy foods!