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Fast food is the number one most convenient way to fill one’s stomach, especially when you haven’t a moment to spare. Of course, everybody wants to have some indulgent food, however, frequent overindulgence and overconsumption of fast food can result in numerous health defects and damage to one’s body. Some have even likened fast food to providing the same risk as smoking in terms of damage to the heart and cardiovascular system. It’s really unsurprising considering the minimal nutritional content that fast food often has and a large amount of harmful fat, added sugar, chemicals, and other additives that make it taste great but won’t make it good for you. The key is in the word “fast” – it’s fast for a reason, not because it’s healthy but because it’s easy to prepare and serve to a customer. Of course, if you eat fast food, you’re likely to save a lot of time, but gorging on sandwiches, candy, pizza, and whatever else you crave can have various adverse effects on the body and its functioning. It’s important to be aware of the risks associated with it as not to do any damage.
Have you ever stopped to look at the calorific content or the content of fat in your fast food? If you take a look, you’ll notice that the calories and fat are far more likely to outweigh what could be found in regular, healthy, cooked food. The body gains weight when one eats more calories than it can burn and research has linked increasing visits to fast food outlets with increasing obesity. This should pose as an unsurprisingly significant correlation. In fact, research has shown that if you visit a fast food outlet more than twice a week, you are highly likely to experience significant weight gain than if you don’t.
Other research from the University of California has linked living close to fast food outlets to being a significant cause of obesity in as much as 5.2% of cases. Remember, the term obese is different from weighing above the average – it refers to an excessive amount of weight. Anything that’s excessive should be rid of by default. What does all this research tell you? If you’d like to lose weight, do not eat at fast food outlets. Moreover, if you engage in a habit of eating fast food on a regular basis, you are less likely to be eating as many fresh fruits and vegetables which can result in a significant change in your habits. Replacing healthy foods with fast foods that have a lot of sugar and calories can cause you to become even more obese.
Couple an overdependence on fast food with the lack of physical activity and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Type 2 diabetes is especially common in people of this description and unfortunately, it can be a real killer. An excessive consumption of sugars and carbohydrates causes excessive blood glucose levels in the body which can have dangerous consequences on the gut workings. This can result in the unfortunate condition of diabetes which stops the body from producing insulin to break down sugars that it takes in.
Cardiovascular disease involves the heart and blood vessels, including major arteries and veins in the body. Unfortunately for lovers of fast food, cardiovascular disease can be the result of an overconsumption of sugar, saturated fats, and extra calories that are all highly prevalent in fast food today. Overconsumption of these substances can result in increased calories and body weight which can bring about coronary illnesses. An overconsumption of saturated fats is also particularly dangerous as this can result in excessive levels of cholesterol – this horrible stuff can clog up arteries and subsequently lead to strokes and heart attacks, so you should pay attention to the contents of what you eat on a regular basis. Doctors are often checking patients’ cholesterol levels as a warning indicator of possible cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.
The natural food we consume actually contains the right amount of salt that we need in our daily diet, so doctors say that we shouldn’t need to put more on our food. Unfortunately, salt tastes good to us and salt sells, that’s why fast food is full of the stuff. Even foods that you may not think would contain a lot of salt themselves, such as sandwiches, can contain more than what you need to consume every day. Eat fast food and you’re more likely to develop problems associated with salt consumption, such as high blood pressure and poor kidney functioning.
Scientists have found a link between eating too many fast food and learning problems. Studies have demonstrated that people eating fast food for over 5 days underperformed in exams and tests compared to those of similar ability that didn’t eat fast food. The logic that stems from this is that poor diet can change regions of the brain that are linked to memory retention, particular chemical reactions triggering certain lobes of the brain to swell more than others and thus leading to memory loss. High fat and high calorie foods are more likely to overwhelm brain function and cognitive development, whilst also harming the synapses in neural links that are important for learning. Moreover, a lack of nutrients and minerals in fast food can lead to poor immune system functioning and ultimately poor cognition as a result.
If you’re more biologically prone to suffering from dementia, eating fast food can actually raise the likelihood of it occurring. This is a frightening concept to think about – no one wants to lose their memory! Researchers at Brown University have found that the consumption of a lot of fatty foods and foods with high sugar content can cause excessive insulin levels within the body. Insulin levels, if too high, can lead parts of the brain to shut down, subsequently resulting in a higher risk of dementia. Insufficient consumption of unsaturated fats such as Omega 6 can actually result in an intensification of dementia. Most fast foods are likely to contain saturated fats that are not required for cognitive function. In addition, the excessive consumption of fast food makes it difficult for the Omega 6 to be digested because of an inflammation of the hypothalamus in the brain.
The reason people that love fast food find themselves overeating is because an excessive ingestion of fats can actually lead to mixed signals for the brain. Our brain, if given too much fat, can get confused about whether the body has had enough to eat or not. Eating too much fat in this way is a double-edged sword – the body thinks that it needs more and more when in fact it probably doesn’t. It can be remarkably easy for a person that has become accustomed to a diet of fast food to actually take in a lot more than they need.
Other than the health problems that fast food can create, fast food outlets have been receiving striking criticism over the years for their lack of ethics towards supplying quality food to their customers, animal cruelty, exploitation of workers, and even widespread cultural degradation as people consume more fast food instead of traditional food. Recent studies such as the 2014 World Health Organisation report claims that the regulation of food markets is often to blame. More government restrictions need to be put on fast food outlets in order to combat some of the problems that they can pose.
So what can be made about fast food in the end? The phrase “you are what you eat” comes to mind and needs to be thought of because if you keep eating fast food, you’re more likely to become what you eat – a substance that is of poor quality and high in fat. There are a lot of people that just can’t imagine a day without their favourite cheeseburger or pint of coke, however, the documented dangers of fast food are out in the scientific literature and could not be more patently obvious, therefore, it is important to consider what you eat at all times. Moderation is most likely the key to a successful diet if you just can’t get rid of fast food, but keep in mind that you have the ability to invest in your health with food that you eat.