Eating unhealthy foods may lead to inflammation, a key player in the formation of artery-clogging plaque. Hamburgers, fries, and sugary sodas are some of the most common unhealthy foods to indulge in. Healthy foods may cause inflammation and build up plaques in the arteries. This plaque can then harden, narrowing or blocking blood flow to your heart, brain, and other vital organs. So, make sure you are getting your nutritional needs met with an array of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that help keep your arteries clean!
Your diet can affect your heart health. Eating foods such as red meat and sugary treats may trigger inflammation, raising your risk of cardiovascular disease. But a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other anti-inflammatory foods reduces the risk, according to a large Harvard study. “Inflammation is marked by the release of molecules called cytokines into the bloodstream. These attract immune cells to artery walls, contributing to the development of plaque, Dr. Kathryn Rexrode, explains.
When you are hungry, fast food is often the best way to work your way through a meal. But while they are convenient when you need a quick pick-me-up, these restaurants can sometimes be at odds with your health goals. But when 5 p.m. rolls around and you have not given a single thought to what is for dinner, the glowing sign in front of the burger joint down the street might be calling your name. A brief swing through the drive-thru can seem like a great option, but there is a definite downside to fast food restaurants focusing on process and efficiency instead of serving quality, nutritious foods. Frequent fast-food consumption can make you gain weight, increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and lead to depression. So, it is not surprising that dietitian Nancy Geib, RD, LDN recommends discarding your morning drive-thru habit — even if it is what is most convenient. But if burgers, French fries, and greasy breakfast sandwiches become centerpieces of your diet, they could take a serious toll on your health. It can lead to various diseases such as it increases the chances for a person to develop depression, and various other diseases, for instance, cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
What Is Fast Food?
Fast food has become so popular in America that one in three Americans eats it every day. But did you know the concept dates back a century, and that your favorite fast-food retailers are still an integral part of the neighborhood you grew up in? Fast food is having a moment. It is part of the country’s diet — and it has become a part of how we live, from taking our kids to school on an empty stomach to having a quick meal waiting for us when we get home. Fast food is a big business, with big chains like McDonald’s and Subway — as well as smaller local restaurants — chipping away at one another to increase the size of the market share.
Fast food is famously cheap, tasty, and convenient. Fast food restaurants are known for their high-quality, highly processed food and takeaways accessible by the public. You know when you are eating fast food because the ingredients are processed, mass-produced, and prepared quickly — usually on a grill, in a fryer, or in a microwave.
Disadvantages Of Fast Food
If you were to eat one fast food meal per day, how much damage could you potentially be doing to your body? You already know some of the problems that come with eating unhealthily, but here are just some of the things that frequently eating fast food might do to your body. Fast food can have a major impact on your body. Every individual is different, and everyone reacts differently to a variety of foods. Still, there are some generalizations that can be made about how different foods affect us. Some of them are:
- Raises one’s blood pressure: Sodium is an essential nutrient. It is added to many processed food items to enhance taste and serves as a preservative for canned foods. If we consume too much sodium, our cells eventually become desiccated — meaning they lose fluid, Geib says. Even if you are trying to eat healthily, it is important to keep your salt intake in check. High-sodium diets are known to increase blood pressure, which puts stress on your cardiovascular system. Over time, high blood pressure can stiffen or narrow your blood vessels, becoming a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Ideally, most adults should try to keep their salt intake under 1,500 milligrams per day, according to the American Heart Association — its current recommendations allow for up to 2,300 milligrams daily. Because sodium is so prevalent in our diets, it can add up quickly. For example, one bacon cheeseburger alone can get you pretty close to the daily recommended 1,500 milligrams of sodium.
- Leaves you bloated: Bloating is one of many symptoms of excess gas. It can happen when you eat a meal that is high in sodium, high in fat, or heavy with refined carbohydrates (such as bread, pastries, or buns). If you add a soda to your meal, the carbonation could make it worse. Bloating should only be temporary, but it could cramp your style if you are wearing pants that are tighter in the waist or if you are trying to get rings on or off your fingers.
- Drive up your cholesterol: Fried food is high in fat, and saturated fat raises your “bad” cholesterol and puts you at risk for heart disease. Bacon, eggs, and cheese — all on one plate? You may want to rethink that because eating too much saturated fat can lead to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to less than 6% of your daily calories. In other words, no more than 13 grams per day.
- Contribute to digestive problems: With regular consumption, you will get the recommended amount of fiber (25 to 35 grams a day). Eating foods rich in fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. If you eat a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, and vegetables, you will have steady energy for hours as well as an increased sense of fullness. Fiber helps keep things moving in your digestive tract and lowers your risk for diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and other conditions associated with straining or constipation.
- Lead to weight gain: The truth is, fast foods are not that much different than home-cooked meals. Eating out can be a bit of a problem — even for folks who are not trying to pack on extra pounds. It is suggested to avoid high-calorie foods like fried chicken, ice cream, and popcorn, in moderation and instead sticks with lean proteins and fresh fruits. And do not forget the sugar: Try to stick to natural sweeteners like stevia and honey instead of giving in to dessert after your meal!
- Drain your energy: Eating refined carbs and sugar can make you tired and cranky. Carb-rich foods are quick and easy to digest, releasing sugar into your bloodstream quickly. A balanced meal with protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates takes longer for your body to digest and absorb. This slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream, so you get sustained energy without a crash.
- Affects your mood: Eating a lot of processed foods — especially fried, sugary and salty foods — may increase your risk for depression. While your diet has an important impact on whether you are happy, eating a lot of processed foods can also lead to depression. The reason is simple: When you eat a diet that is high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and refined carbs, you are not only getting too much of those things, but you are also missing a lot of other important nutrients Eating a lot of processed foods may even increase your risk for depression.
Unhealthy Foods to Avoid
There are a lot number of fast-food present in today’s world. Some fast food which is very unhealthy are:
- Pizza: Pizza can be a tasty treat but eating just one slice could add up to more than 2,000 mg of sodium in a single meal. Three slices from a large pie contain more than 690 mg of sodium — the daily limit for most Americans.
- Burger And Fries: If you absolutely cannot get enough, a double cheeseburger and large fries provide about 1,200 calories and up to 1,700 milligrams of sodium. The combo with a large soda tops 1,500 calories, leaving you hungry again before you have even finished the meal.
- Cold Cut Combo: The concern with lunch meats is the high amount of sodium, saturated fat, and nitrates that increase the risk of certain cancers. Three ounces of processed deli meat can pack up to 1,300 milligrams of sodium — even before you add cheese, condiments, bread, and chips.
- Hot Dog: Hot dogs are loaded with sodium and fat. If you eat two hot dogs every day, it would be close to the daily recommendations for saturated fat and sodium in your diet.
- Fried Chicken: One fried chicken breast from your favorite chicken place packs 500 or more calories, 34 grams of fat, and 1,200-plus milligrams of sodium. That is not even counting the extra grease added by the deep fryer.
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