What is Junk Food? What are the Side Effects of Junk Foods?

Updated on & Medically Reviewed by Dr Lalitha
Junk Foods
  *** This Article is Written by Sneha Mukkavilli.

Junk food is food which has low nutritional value and minerals but has high amounts of fats, salt & sugars. Junk food may give short bursts of energy every time it is eaten.

Some Examples of Junk Food:

  • Fried Food (i.e. French Fries)
  • Packaged Snacks (i.e. Chips)
  • Packaged Beverages (i.e. Soda)
  • Fast Food
  • Ice Cream

Junk food contains more processed carbohydrates, saturated fats, sugars and salts than what our bodies need. So, our bodies store excess carbohydrates and fats in the fat cells. Along with this, eating junk food often causes inflammation in the GUT & brain, called ‘neuroinflammation’. This can lead to brain cells, known as ‘neurons’, to become damaged. This makes it difficult for the brain to receive signals from the stomach telling you when you’re full and leads to a cycle of overeating junk food and damage to neurons. Over time, the combination of storing the excess carbohydrates and fats along with overeating will lead to weight gain and excess fat underneath the skin.

Why Do People Eat Junk Food So Often?

1. Addictive:

Consuming junk food stimulates the release of opioids in the brain which in turn stimulates the release of dopamine. The release of dopamine is what gives eating junk food a short-term pleasurable feeling, which is why junk food can become addicting.

2. Cheap

Junk foods tend to be cheaper than healthier options such as fresh fruit or vegetables.

3. Convenient

Packaged foods are readily available in grocery stores and vending machines, and unlike fresh vegetables that may need to be cooked before eating, packaged foods can be eaten immediately. Junk food can also be stored for long periods of time unlike fresh produce.

4. Habit Forming

Because junk food is addicting, eating it tends to become a long term habit.

Consuming junk food will have immediate and visible effects on our body.

Harmful Effects of Junk Foods:

Short Term Harmful Effects or Side Effects of Consuming Junk Food:

1. Tooth Decay

Due to the high amounts of sugars in junk food, your mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria which decay your teeth.

2. Low Energy Levels

Junk food does not contain proper nutrition to give long lasting energy thus making you have low energy levels.

3. Trouble Concentrating

Junk food reduces the ability of brain cells to work together, thus making it harder to learn.

4. Trouble Sleeping

Junk food disrupts the brain’s electrical activity making it more difficult to have a sound sleep.

5. Bad Mood

Junk food causes the number of brain cells in the brain to reduce, which is directly linked to feeling down/mental health issues.

Consuming junk food regularly for long periods of time can cause more chronic conditions.

Long Term Effects of Consuming Junk Food:

6. Obesity

Junk foods can be correlated with obesity because of their high energy content and the amount of fat present, sugars, chemical additives, and sodium.

7. Type 2 Diabetes

Junk foods which are high in calories and low in fiber will break down in the body quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar levels.

[ Try: Moderate Tablets to Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes ]

8. Fatty Liver Disease

The excess fats in junk foods are stored in the liver, thus causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which can progress to because liver cancer.

9. Cancer

As junk foods is directly linked to weight gain, being an unhealthy weight can lead to increased risk of cancer

10. Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of getting a heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome Include:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Blood Sugar
  • High Cholesterol Levels
  • Excess Body Fat

It is recommended that the consumption of eat food/fast food not exceed to more than once a week.

How to Avoid Junk Foods? OR How Do We Limit Junk Food Consumption?

1. Make a List:

Write down the foods that you need to buy before heading to the grocery store to avoid picking up unhealthy foods.

2. Try Meal Planning:

Prepare food for the entire week in bulk and portion out how much you are going to eat each day. This will save time and money throughout the week. It is also a healthier option than packaged foods.

3. Smaller Portion Sizes

Instead of eating chips straight from the bad, or ice cream out of the tub (etc.), put a small portion of it into a bowl or plate. This way, you can limit how much you are eating.

4. Eat Consciously

Whatever you are eating, be it healthy or junk, think about how it tastes and how it makes you feel as you are eating. This helps you savor the moment and feel satisfied.

[ Also Read: What is Healthy Eating? ]

Remember, nothing is healthy without moderation! It’s okay to have a sweet treat and enjoy yourself every once in a while!

Works Cited:

Also Read the Articles:

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a healthcare professional.

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