Due to the increased pace of our lives and carelessness about our health, fast food or junk food consumption is on the rise, providing us with an alternate to the cumbersome home-cooking. But is food only consumed to fulfill the primary motive of hunger? Research proves otherwise.
Harmful Effects of Fast Food
Food has a much larger role to play in our lives, on social, psychological and cultural levels. Listed below are some of the harmful effects of fast foods on health; our ignorance might just become the cause of our demise.
Possibly the best known consequence of consuming fast food and the number one killer in the US is obesity. The higher calories, bigger portions and meals, and sugary beverages lead to increased weight-gain. Not only does obesity affect the health and physiology of consumers, it causes many associated problems as well, usually of a psychological nature.
Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD)
Among the basic causes of PU’s are stress, alcohol and continuous untimely consumption of spicy unhealthy foods. These ulcers tend to be highly acidic and painful in nature. Fast foods contributing to their development include Pizza, French fries, Salted beverages, etc.
Regular consumption of fast food for a prolonged period can increase ones chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Such a lifestyle, research shows, also develops a two-fold greater resistance to Insulin in the body, thus contributing to abnormal blood glucose levels that are more difficult to maintain. As a result of this, predisposition to hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and obesity also occurs.
People who consume fast food frequently are less likely to include fruits, vegetables or salads in their diet. With nothing to curb their hunger, they consume larger portions of calories, cholesterol, and saturated trans-fats, the basic harmful elements of fast food. The buildup of the above mentioned components may very well manifest itself in some form of a cardiovascular problem, such as thrombosis, angina, and eventually may lead to a heart attack.
Psychological Effects Increased Stress
Eating meals rich in fats have been observed to increase stress levels. Processed flour, chocolate, salted foods, and certain drinks like coffee and tea, contain active ingredients know as ‘stimulants’, which provide instant energy but cause post-consumption stress and dejection. The synthetic additives added to processed foods, such as preservatives and stabilizers, are often referred to as ‘pseudostressors’ or ‘sympathomimetics’, causing a state of stress and anxiety when consumed in large amounts for prolonged periods.
Haphazard Consumption and Appetite Losses
Food, like any other activity, needs to be planned and timed. Fast food disrupts this whole dynamic, resulting in haphazard, untimely and at times un-required consumption. This fiasco routine frequently results in indigestion, loss of appetite, nausea, and since there is no guarantee of the hygiene and origin of what’s being eaten, food poisoning.
Depression and Addiction
Research has also established a link between the consumption of fast food and depression. Frequent fast food eaters are 51% more likely to go into a state of depression and other mood disorders as compared to those who adopt a healthier lifestyle. Further research is also being done to investigate whether fast food can be addictive enough to have dire consequences and severe withdrawal symptoms, and some positive results have surfaced too.
Social Effect Diminishing ‘Family Time’
Similar to the consequences of texting and social networks, the fast food debacle has replaced family meals and gatherings. With their easy access and availability, fast foods are making the concept of sitting down and having a meal with your loved ones rapidly obsolete.