It’s no secret that regular physical exercise can have a dramatic effect on your general health. But leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t end there. Another big component of the health equation is the food (fuel) you place in your body. Most people think that their diet is pretty healthy. But you’d be shocked to see the effect that your favorite sweet or salty snacks could have on your body maybe that’s why they are called junk food. Suppose you’re fighting sickness regularly or dealing with chronic pain and discomfort. Then try to change what’s on your plate. This may be your most straightforward solution and your first step towards a healthier lifestyle.
The bad side of junk food is not an unknown fact. Many research studies have shown that fast food and processed foods have:
- Increased childhood obesity
- Heart disease
- And other chronic diseases
Recently, the Delhi Government has called for a crackdown on junk food sold in and within 50 meters of schools. They’re not only adding inches to your waistline. But scientists and researchers have also indicated that junk food can cause major serious brain damage through different studies. The worrying thing is that it’s not just years of poor eating. But regular consumption of fast food can lead to a mental meltdown for a few days.
The more junk food you eat, the less likely you will consume the essential nutrients that your body relies on. You know, junk food will affect your health. But you might not have known about the effect of junk food on how your body functions.
Here are the 5 harmful effects that Junk Food can have on your body:
1. It can cause memory and learning problems
A research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011 found that healthier people who ate fast food for just 5 days did not perform well on cognitive tests that measured concentration, speed, and mood. It concluded that eating junk food for just five days daily will make your memory weaker. This is probably because a poor or toxic diet will cause some chemical reactions. These reactions cause inflammation in the brain’s hippocampus and brain areas.
Diets that are high in sugar and fat can suppress the action of a brain peptide called BDNF. BDNF helps with memory and learning formation. Also, the brain includes synapses that are responsible for learning and memory. Eating too many calories can interfere with the healthy development and functioning of these synapses.
2. Lessens its ability to control appetite
Excessive intake of trans fats present in fried and refined foods can give mixed signals to the brain. This makes it difficult to process what you have consumed and how hungry you are. Maybe that’s why you end up overeating. Healthy brain functions need a daily intake of essential fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3. These two factors’ deficiency increases the risk of:
- Attention deficit disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- And other brain-related disorders
Over-consumption of junk food can displace trans fats that are more difficult to digest. A 2011 study shows that trans fats can cause hypothalamus inflammation. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain that includes neurons to control body weight.
In the worst of cases, the pattern of overeating can be similar to drug addiction, to the extent that depending on junk foods can cause brain pleasure centers that are bigger than receiving drugs.
3. It can cause chemical changes that can lead to depression
Many studies have shown that eating diets high in sugar and fat affects the brain’s chemical function. This makes it more dependent on those foods. Research at the University of Montreal on mice found some info. The mice would have withdrawal effects after the researchers discontinue their daily diet of junk food. In humans, these withdrawal symptoms will lead to:
- An inability to deal with stress
- Make you feel sad,
- And eventually, turn back to certain foods to comfort yourself and handle these feelings.
You can soon be caught in a vicious circle even before you know it. Even by eating so much fast food, you can lose out on vital nutrients such as tryptophan amino acid, increasing your depression. A fatty acid imbalance is another reason why people who eat more junk food are at greater risk of depression.
4. Increases the risk of dementia
There has become one of the most frightening discoveries associated with the consumption of junk food. You should know that insulin is released in the pancreas and helps to transport glucose to the body. Insulin is also developed in the brain, where it helps to carry signals between nerve cells and form memories. Research at Brown University has shown that too much fatty food and sweets will significantly increase our body’s insulin levels.
As in type 2 diabetes, with elevated insulin levels, the brain stops responding to this hormone and is resistant to it. This can limit our ability to think, recall, or create memories. This increases the risk of dementia. Researcher Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., professor of anatomy, neurology, and neurosurgery at Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School, Brown University, was the first one who discovers this relation.
5. It makes you impatient and can cause uncontrollable cravings
Eating sugary cupcakes or doughnuts may temporarily raise your blood sugar levels. This may make you feel happier and comfortable. Still, as soon as they return to normal, you will feel even more irritable.
Fast food is all about processed carbohydrates that cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate rapidly. If the sugar level falls to a superficial level, it can induce anxiety, confusion, and fatigue. With a high sugar and fat content, you prefer to eat too much and too much to satisfy your needs. This will teach impatient behavior when dealing with other things. Fast foods and refined foods can contain artificial flavorings and preservatives such as sodium benzoate, increasing hyperactivity.
The Bottom Line
Although our brains are wired to eat a variety of foods, junk foods can reduce this desire. This will trap you in a vicious circle of unhealthy eating. The more junk food you consume, the more you want to eat. By learning the basic knowledge, you will break the cycle and lead a healthy life.