It is no secret that fast food is not the healthiest choice we can me at meal times and that is okay as long as our favorite tasty treats are enjoyed only in moderation. However, when fast food becomes the go to choice for our daily diet – that is when the trouble starts. Let’s take a look at some of the main health concerns that are associated with the regular consumption of fast food.
Fast Food and Weight Gain
The most widely publicized ‘side effect’ of eating too much fast food is of course, weight gain. When you consider that popular fast food menu items such as hamburgers, fries, tacos and even shakes contain upwards of 500 calories each then you should get some idea of the problem here. If you order a burger and fries, washed down with a shake you could be consume as much as 2000 calories in one sitting. That’s the entire recommended daily allowance for the average adult woman! This means that unless you do not eat anything else that day you are taking in more calories than you need, and if you do not exercise those will hang around your body as fat. If you are doing this daily you will soon see rapid weight gain.
The Link Between Fast Food & Diabetes
A recent study carried out in the Netherlands indicates that those who eat fast food regularly have an elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This section of the population could be as much as 70% more at risk. The study involved examining the diet of almost 21,000 individuals who are classed as overweight or obese. Researchers from the University Medical Centre in Utrecht split the participants into two separate groups. The first group consisted of individuals who regularly enjoyed a diet of fish, chicken, wine, raw vegetables and fruit while the other group contain those individuals who regularly indulge in fast food, chips and snacks.
The individuals in the ‘fast food’ group displayed a 70% higher risk of type 2 diabetes on average. However, the level of risk did fluctuate based on the amount of fast food each person ate. The participants who ate the largest volume of fast food showed a 114% more chance of developing type 2 diabetes in later life when compared to those who ate the least amount of fast food. This is primarily because a lack of complex carbs in junk food means that it cannot help your body to maintain steady blood sugar levels. Since many fast food items contain large amounts of refined sugar, this is a bad combination
A Lack of Important Nutrients
When it comes to our health, fast food restaurants have always been surrounded by negativity. The main issue being that fast food is most typically characterised as being high in calories, fat and carbs. They are dense in terms of energy, but nutritionally speaking they are very poor as they lack fibre, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are necessary for keeping your body healthy. Since fast food cannot provide these, those who dine on this type of food are likely to feel chronic fatigue and may lack the energy required to perform even the most basic of daily tasks.
The Potential For Liver & Heart Damage
The liver and heart are also at risk when too much fast food is consumed on a regular basis. This is thanks to high levels of fat and sodium which are known to contribute to heart disease by way of raising cholesterol and promoting the build up of arterial plaque. In 2005, a study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario, Canada found that there was a direct link between the concentration of fast food restaurants in an area and the number of hospitalizations for coronary issues. The research showed that with every 10% increase in the number of fast food outlets in an area, the residents were 1.39 times more likely to suffer from a cardiovascular condition. Similarly, the high level of trans fatty acids found in the majority of fast food menu items are renowned for causing fatty liver deposits. Over time these deposits can lead to liver disease.
Being Sensible When It Comes To Fast Food
Overall, the fast food industry does get a bit of a bad reputation and perhaps not undeservedly so. However, that does not necessarily mean we should ever eat from a fast food restaurant! The occasional big mac from McDonald’s or KFC bargain bucket every once in a while is unlikely to do much damage to your health providing that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet the rest of the time. Moderation is the key to being able to enjoy fast food without damaging your health. You may also wish to try some of the healthier menu options which many fast food franchises are now offering.