This articles briefly describes some of the effects of junk food or fast food and how they impact the several systems of our bodies. Having this knowledge should help guide you in your choice and moderation of eating these group of foods.
Effect on the Digestive System
Most fast food, including drinks, are loaded with carbohydrates with little to no fiber. When your digestive system breaks down these foods, the carbs are released as glucose (sugar) into your bloodstream. As a result, your blood sugar increases.
Your pancreas responds to the surge in glucose by releasing insulin. Insulin transports sugar throughout your body to cells that need it for energy. As your body uses or stores the sugar, your blood sugar returns to normal.
This blood sugar process is highly regulated by your body, and as long as you’re healthy, your organs can properly handle these sugar spikes. But frequently eating high amounts of carbs can lead to repeated spikes in your blood sugar. This increases your risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.
Effects on Cardiovascular System
Trans fat is manufactured fat created during food processing. It’s commonly found in:
- Fried pies
- Pizza dough
No amount of trans fat is good or healthy. Eating foods that contain it can increase your LDL (bad cholesterol), lower your HDL (good cholesterol), and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Restaurants may also compound the issue because the combination of fat, sugar, and lots of sodium (salt) can make fast food tastier to some people. But diets high in sodium can lead to water retention. A diet high in sodium is also dangerous for people with blood pressure conditions. Sodium can elevate blood pressure and put stress on your heart and cardiovascular system.
Effect on the Respiratory System
Excess calories from fast-food meals can cause weight gain. This may lead toward obesity. Obesity increases your risk for respiratory problems, including asthma and shortness of breath.
The extra pounds can put pressure on your heart and lungs and symptoms may show up even with little exertion. You may notice difficulty breathing when you’re walking, climbing stairs, or exercising.
For children, the risk of respiratory problems is especially clear. One study found that children who eat fast food at least three times a week are more likely to develop asthma.
Effect on the Central Nervous System
Fast food may satisfy hunger in the short term, but long-term results are less positive. It is suggested that people who eat fast food and processed pastries are 51 percent more likely to develop depression than people who don’t eat those foods or eat very few of them.
Effect on the Reproductive System
The ingredients in junk food and fast food may have an impact on your fertility. One study found that processed food contains phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that can interrupt how hormones act in your body. Exposure to high levels of these chemicals could lead to reproductive issues, including birth defects.
Effect on the Integumentary System (skin, hair, nails)
The foods you eat may impact your skin’s appearance, but it might not be the foods you suspect. In the past, chocolate and greasy foods like pizza have taken the blame for acne breakouts, but according to the Mayo Clinic, it’s carbohydrates. Carb-rich foods lead to blood sugar spikes, and these sudden jumps in blood sugar levels may trigger acne.
Children and adolescents who eat fast food at least three times a week are also more likely to develop eczema, according to one study. Eczema is a skin condition that causes irritated patches of inflamed, itchy skin.
Effect on the Skeletal System (bones)
Carbs and sugar in fast food and processed food can increase acids in your mouth. These acids can break down tooth enamel. As tooth enamel disappears, bacteria can take hold, and cavities may develop.
Obesity can also lead to complications with bone density and muscle mass. People who are obese have a greater risk for falling and breaking bones. It’s important to keep exercising to build muscles, which support your bones, and maintain a healthy diet to minimize bone loss.
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