Junk food effects
Imagine this, a plate of hot French fries and a huge burger with hot cheese oozing out of it, and a large serving of any aerated drink; looks like a treat! This calorie-dense junk food does look mouth-watering but is known to be nutritionally poor. Junk food or fast food has become an increasingly popular food choice to grab when on the go. Ideally, junk foods are defined as processed foods with negligible nutrient value and are often high in salt, sugar and fat.
Junk food facts
What is junk food?
Junk foods are processed foods consisting of high calories, but that is considered only as a broad umbrella. These foods are prepared in a way that they look appealing and are enjoyable so you are chemically programmed to ask for more. According to Dietician & Nutritionist, “Commercial products including but not limited to salted snack foods, gum, candy, sugary desserts, fried fast food, and sweetened carbonated beverages that have little or no nutritional value but are high in calories, salt, and fats may be considered junk foods.
Though not all fast foods are junk foods, but a great number of them are. For instance, a salad may be fast food, but it is definitely not junk food. Some foods like burgers, pizzas, and tacos may alternate between junk and healthy categories depending on the ingredients, calories, and process of manufacturing.”
Why are junk foods bad for you?
Frequent consumption of junk food increases the intake of excess fat, simple carbohydrates, and processed sugar which may lead to a higher risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases among other chronic health problems. The resulting obesity may begin clogging up the arteries and lay the basis of an impending heart attack. It has also been suggested that eating junk food affects the brain in the same way as consuming addictive drugs. An addiction to junk food may even result in rejection of healthier food options like fruits, vegetables, salads, etc. leading to further lack of nourishment.
How should you really avoid junk food?
According to Doctors, the red flags that you should look out for and avoid bringing home include trans-fats, refined grains, salt, and high fructose corn syrup. Avoid foods that say corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated, fractionated, or hydrogenated on their label.
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So next time you want to know if what’s on your plate is junk or not, ask yourself these 3 crucial questions:
1. How many calories am I consuming in this one serving?
2. What are the healthy nutrients I am taking in with this meal?
3. What’s the quality of ingredients used; how fresh is this food item?
Do note that quitting junk food is a gradual process. If you are someone who is accustomed to daily doses of junk, then quitting may not be way. The first few days could be tough as you may experience some of these symptoms: irritability, headaches, dip in energy levels and so on. An occasional treat never hurts, what you have to look out against is consistent consumption of junk foods, especially at the cost of healthy nutrition.
Junk food lower sperm count
Junk foods including pizzas and burgers have been touted as the root cause of a number of lifestyle ailments, including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar etc. These ailments then may cause other health complications including fertility issues. A new study has, however, said that even young and fit men whose diets are made up of processed and junk foods like pizza, burger, chips etc. These foods, the study indicated, may be responsible for lowering the sperm counts in even fit men, as compared to men who consume fresh foods. Poor dietary habits leading to obesity have in the past been linked with lowered fertility in men.
The findings by a team of researchers from Harvard University from the US and Denmark found that men, who followed a typical western diet characterised by red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and starchy carbohydrates, had a lowered sperm count. These men even though they were fit and young had the lowest average sperm counts. This amounted to a mere 25.6 million sperms per ejaculate, despite the fact that these men were at the peak of their reproductive age in some cases. In comparison, men who consumed a healthier diet, which is rich in healthier proteins like fish and chicken, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables as well as consumed enough water, had the highest sperm counts.
Meanwhile, men who followed a strictly vegetarian diet fell between the two and had lower sperm counts than those who consumed white meats, fruits and vegetables. The study also said that those who ate poor diets as kids had imbalanced hormones and irreparable damage may have been caused to the sperm-making cells of the men with low sperm counts. The findings of the study hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal but were presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna, Austria.
Junk food vs healthy food
When you tend to quit junk foods gradually, here’s what happens to your body,
Stop eating junk food
1. Weight loss
Eliminating junk food can significantly reduce the total number of calories we consume in a day, which leads to weight loss. Quitting junk food like potato chips and cheesy foods is a simple way of reducing calorie intake.
2. Good nutrition intake
By eliminating junk food, there is more room for nutrient-dense food. Replacing junk with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will supply essential nutrients such as fiber, protein, calcium, vitamin, etc.
3. Reduced health risks
Diet high in saturated and Trans fats from food like French fries, cheese burger, or processed food can increase the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. Too much sodium increases the risk of kidney disease and high blood pressure. Cutting on such food items from the diet, reduces the risk of chronic health conditions.
4. Clear and glowing skin
What we eat shows on our skin. Rightly said! The key to good skin, hair lies in the food choices we make. From the day you cut back on eating junk, you ill find you skin look and feel much better.
5. Better mood
Mood can be affected as a result of eating less processed food, considering the body doesn’t get the required nutrition only leading to an imbalance. Providing body with adequate nutrition for proper functioning make us feel happier as a result.
6. Better sleep
Sugary food, high in trans-fats not only leads to weight gain but also a disrupted sleep. The added sugar in many products increases the blood sugar making it difficult to have a sound sleep. Reducing junk food will lead to more restful sleep and fresher you the next day!
7. Improved muscle tone
Eating a clean diet that is rich in whole food, lean protein and no processed can help in building strong muscles.
Dietitian and Nutritionist shares, “Effective way to make a change to your eating habits is by choosing healthier options like baked, grilled and roasted foods instead of fried options. Also eating healthy options like fruits and vegetables at regular intervals will control your craving for unnecessary munching.”
So, if you are planning to cut down on your junk food intake, make sure you don’t quit abruptly, rather give your body some time to adjust to the new change and see it reacting positively to a healthy lifestyle.
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