Negative Effects of Fast Food

Fast Food – The Recipe for Death

What if I told you that these French fries that you are happily devouring will lead you to your death in 10 years? You will for sure consider me insane. Here are some real statistics to prove my point: according to The Telegraph, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence says that each year, 40,000 deaths occur in Britain alone as a result of eating junk food and high levels of fat and salt contained in it (Smith).

In 1976, an extremely satirical pop number written by a singer named Larry Groce hit the music industry. What was unique about this song was that it was not about a long lost love, romance, marriage, personal freedom or something like that. The interesting thing about this song was that it talked about the double life that many people were leading then and we are still leading today (Orel). These double lives revolve around eating healthy food some days and sneaking in junk food whenever we can and this is what is leading us fast to our early deaths. It is time for us to stop consuming junk food and start saving our lives.

There are an infinite number of reasons for why junk food is dangerous for human health and should not be consumed. However, I shall focus on only the top three basic ones here. So, why should we not be eating fast food? The answer is that it contains sodium and trans fats, it causes great problems in digestion and it is a leading cause for various life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, kidney disease, liver damage, type 2 diabetes and even cancer.

Although there are a number of unhealthy substances and ingredients that are used in fast foods, but the primary harmful, unsavory components that they contain are trans fats and sodium. These two compounds have the ability to wreak complete havoc in our bodies and cause a great amount of damage. Let us first see what sodium does to our body. An average adult has a minimal need of 500 mg of sodium per day (Coila). However, fast foods are “very high in sodium” (Sodium”). Our kidneys are responsible for expelling extra amount of salts from our bodies. Due to this high quantity of salt, our kidneys have to overwork for eliminating this extra salt. This in turn puts too much pressure on kidneys, increasing the possibility of kidney disease (Pendick; Stiavetti).

Moreover, consuming too much salt (sodium) causes the compound to accumulate in our bloodstreams. As a result, our heart is forced to work much harder than what it actually is meant to do. This extra work by our heart causes heart disease and high blood pressure (Stiavetti). Trans fats are some other deadly substances which are created by adding hydrogen to liquid oils. The fat that is produced as a result is termed as the deadliest fat substance by American Heart Association as it can lead to strokes, heart attacks and diabetes (Stiavetti).

Fast foods are known for their bad reputation for various reasons. Another reason why fast food is damaging to your health is because it is ruining your digestive system. The more you consume it, the faster it will impair your digestion. Research shows that people who eat a diet loaded with junk food are highly likely to experience digestive problems and frequent stomach upsets. Irritable bowel syndrome and GERD are the conditions that primarily develop as a result of consistently consuming fast foods (Stiavetti).

Proponents of fast foods claim that fast food, if taken in moderation is not detrimental to physical health (“Healthy”). However, this concept is far from truth. Fast foods are mostly deep fried. The oil contained in them deposits in the stomach and causes acidity. They are also very spicy and cause excessive irritation of the stomach lining. Furthermore, they also do not have appropriate amounts of fiber which is important for proper digestion (Rupavate).

Finally, the one main reason why we should say outright no to junk foods is that they have the power to cause our death way earlier than it is meant to happen. The intensity of the risk that it puts our bodies to is difficult to put into words. First of all, it causes severe fluctuations in the body’s level of blood sugar, thereby putting our metabolism to excessive stress. Moreover, the increased amounts of sugar require pancreas to produce greater amounts of insulin to protect the body from experiencing a sudden spike in blood sugar levels (Rupavate).

Junk foods do not only have an adverse impact on our digestive systems. It also badly affects our brain functions. According to a study published in ‘Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,’ eating fast foods for one week is more than enough to cause impairment in rats’ memories. Similar studies conducted on animals prove that junk foods contain fats that can hamper the ability to acquire new skills. Similarly, junk foods also lead to serious life threatening diseases such as kidney and liver damage, Type 2 diabetes and in severe cases, even cancer. Something worth mentioning here is the reason for why it is difficult for us to say no to fries and other junk foods. As these foods are high in processed salts, it increases the amount of enzymes being secreted and also increases salivation. This can also affect the kidney function adversely (Rupavate).

Cancer is also propagated by over consumption of junk foods. According to a research published in European Journal of Cancer Prevention, people who consume a lot of junk foods high in fat and sugar are at risk for developing colorectal cancer. A similar study conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center revealed that prostate cancer was common among men who indulged in fried foods more than two times in a single month (Rupavate). Then, we shouldn’t forget obesity which is the mother of many illnesses like high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, reproductive disorders, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, gallstones and cancer (“Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity”). It is a known fact that consuming fast food contributes to weight gain. One fast food meal can have 1,500 calories alone, while we need 1500-1800 calories in a day (Muntel).

Though, all of these realizations are shocking, but not to those who have actually experienced the side-effects of fast food. After coming to America and being away from home, I got hooked on fast food. I started gaining weight and felt lethargic all the time. Movement became difficult; I felt out of breath after little exertion. So, it started affecting the quality of my life. Luckily, I recovered in time; started cooking at home and saved myself.

Thus, these shocking realizations call for some serious changes in government policies and food production, so that healthy lifestyle changes could be encouraged, and the horrendous amount of saturated fat and salts that the world consumes could be significantly reduced. These steps would lose weight if taken only on governmental level. It is useless to hope that anything would change unless we as individuals understand the severity of the situation. It is time for us to take control of our lives and start today. It is we who choose how we are going to fuel our bodies. It is our responsibility to protect our lives and those of our loved ones and junk foods are not giving us life, but leading us to our untimely deaths.

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