We all need to eat, but is what we are consuming any good for us?
Food is energy for your whole body and has a direct effect on how you look, feel and think, as well as on your overall health. As we live our lives with less and less time to prepare good quality healthy meals, many of us grab something quick from the local fast food outlet. In many cases, that means food that has been highly processed and consists of lots of unhealthy fats, added sugar, carbohydrates, and salt (sodium). These foods usually contain a high amount of calories but provide little or no nutrients.
Most people understand that stopping at the restaurant for fast food is not the healthiest choice, but it’s effortless and also often economical . The negative aspect however, is much more than just an unhealthy meal, especially with long term intake. Fast food can affect you emotionally and physically .
As shown by the National Institute of Health, some fast food meals offer a whole day’s worth of unhealthy calories. This can actually pack on the weight leading to obesity and a number of chronic health problems.
Regularly consuming these types of convenience food over a long period might increase your chances of having all forms of diabetes. Those who ate fast food three or four times a week gained an additional 9.9 pounds of body weight and had a two-fold higher increase in insulin resistance when compared with those who ate fast food less than once per week. Insulin resistance arises when the hormone insulin is unable to regulate blood glucose levels. Dyslipidemia and hypertension cardiovascular disease are linked to insulin resistance .
Most fast foods are high in fat and contain little or none of the nutrients found in vegetables and fruit . Vegetables and fruit help stabilise a high-fat meal, lowering but not removing the negative effects on the blood vessels.
The negative effects of low nutrient, fast food on the body are well documented, however, what is not so well known is the effects it has on the brain. The brain, like the rest of the body, needs the correct nutritional balance in order to work effectively and consuming fast food on a regular basis can lead to debilitating effects such as depression and mental health problems.
The fast food industry is well aware of these negative effects and fill their foods with addictive sugars, MSG, aspartame and other toxic chemicals that fool the brain into thinking the food tastes good. Brightly coloured packaging and mega-buck advertising campaigns, aimed increasingly at children, only seem to increase their grip on the nations psyche.
But we all have to eat to survive, so what should we do to combat the obesity and health epidemic sweeping our nation?
First of all, think about how this stuff is slowly killing you and decide if it is worth it. Secondly, start to slowly replace some of the junk you consume with small amounts of fruit and vegetables. Over time you will begin to crave healthy foods more and eliminate the junk from your diet, leaving you feeling much more alert, happier and healthier. If time is tight then try to prepare some healthy meals or snacks in advance so they can be consumed when needed. Avoid anything labelled “fat free” or “diet” as the fats are generally replaced with unhealthy sugars or artificial sweeteners. Ditch the sodas and drink around 8 glasses of water per day to keep you properly hydrated and flush out toxins.
Remember, you only have one body, look after it and live a long and healthy life – for you and your children.