While the human body is pretty resilient in its own right, you should never make a habit of having a diet consisting mostly of unhealthy junk food. Preventing your body from taking proper nourishment is one way to break down its immunity from ailments among others. The thing is, trying to develop a healthy diet is getting harder and harder with the increase of food products that contain preservatives in the market.
Our busy and fast-paced lifestyle is also eating away at our ability to plan our diet properly as well. Now, what exactly are the ramifications of constantly eating unhealthy food on our body? Let’s go into further detail about the consequences and I need to warn you, it is not going to be pretty.
One of the biggest contributing factor when it comes to unhealthy food and health concern is with rapid weight gain. People who are heavier than their recommended BMI are at a higher risk of contacting over 50 different ailments. Weight gain can lead to obesity of left uncheck which not only affects our self-esteem negatively, it also severely heightens the risk of developing severe and fatal diseases. In fact, a person who is obese is at risk of having a heart attack 20 times more compared to a person who is well within their recommended BMI (Body Mass Index).
If you wish to determine your proper BMI then you need to do some simple calculations. You just need to divide your weight (kg) by your height (m) and divide the answer by your height (m) once again to get your proper BMI.
Eating unhealthy foods does not necessarily cause weight gain but it is one of the most common side effects. Think about rapid weight gain as opening the gates of a castle to invaders and you don’t need to have an expert to say that is not something you would want.
As stated above, weight gain can leave your body open to several health risks. One of the most common and most dangerous is diabetes. There are two types of diabetes which we will be discussing below.
- Type 1 Diabetes
Diabetes causes the body to improperly use glucose. Glucose is sugar and is the main fuel of our body. The pancreas produces insulin which helps keep our body’s glucose levels in check. In type 1 diabetes, insulin is not properly produced by the pancreas which then causes the body’s glucose level to accumulate to dangerously high levels.
The thing about Type 1 diabetes is that it can actually cause weight loss in a person. Once glucose is left unchecked due to lack of insulin, our body will have a hard time moving glucose throughout the cells in our body. The only way our body can react to this increased glucose levels is by ejecting it via kidneys. Dehydration is one of the most common symptoms here as our body continuously try to remove excess glucose via urine.
While type 1 diabetes is exactly linked to obesity, it is still caused by weight problems. Maintaining a healthy body weight is important in preventing diabetes from developing.
- Type 2 Diabetes
Obesity is one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Unlike in type 1 diabetes, the pancreas can still produce the right amount of insulin for the body. However, type 2 diabetes makes it so that our body can’t properly use insulin to keep blood sugar at the proper level. This is called insulin resistance which is what type 2 diabetes does to our body.
The pancreas will try to compensate for this sudden increase of blood sugar levels by producing more insulin, which the body can’t even process properly. This leaves the pancreas working overtime for nothing, basically. One way to combat type 2 diabetes naturally is with proper diet and exercise. Maintaining an active lifestyle and eating a healthy diet can effectively help the body manage sugar levels back to normal.
Heart failure risk will increase for people who are overweight or obese. One of the leading causes of death around the world is a heart attack and this is directly link to body weight which is another reason why you should always be aware of what you eat and your body weight.
There are 5 common symptoms of heart disease:
- Chest pain or angina
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeats or heart palpitations
People who are overweight usually have abnormally high cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can cause blockage in the arteries which can then cause heart attacks. As the heart is another muscle in the body, it needs to get the proper amount of oxygen. It needs oxygen in order to pump blood throughout the body and narrower the arteries get (due to cholesterol build up) the harder it gets for the heart to do its job. If this continues the person will experience regular shortness of breath.
Other Common Chronic Illnesses
As we have noted earlier, eating unhealthy food can cause more than 50 health problems if left unchecked. We have already noted the serious ailments connected to unhealthy eating with the previous entries but understand that the other health problems are nothing to balk at themselves.
Chronic diseases such as cancer and chronic respiratory diseases can also arise from an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Chronic illnesses are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which mean they are not passed down from different persons. Vaccines are also useless in combating NCDs. NCDs also do not simply disappear after a short period of time. This type of illness will take years of constant and regular treatment and even that is not a guaranteed success.
Junk Food Addiction
One of the biggest problems in contending with junk food is that it can basically rig your brain’s reward system. What is reward system? Basically, this is a system in your brain that utilizes chemicals such as dopamine that registers as pleasurable for your brain. The system basically activates whenever you do activities related to your survival, for example, eating. In this case, eating junk foods.
The problem with this system is that junk food tends to make the brain produce more dopamine. Then say, eating apples and oranges. In the long run, this reward system might cause symptoms similar to that of addiction. This is why some people tend to overeat sweets and junk food as it gives them a sort of high.
After a while, this can cause some major damage to the body as the person will suffer from constant cravings akin to that of a junkie looking for their “fix”. Except the “fix” here can be easily bought at your local grocery store.
There are several ways for you to fight off junk food addiction. Here are some techniques I personally use which I found extremely effective:
- Time to clean the cupboards – Do you have a stock of sweets and junk food in your cupboard? Time to give those away. It might be tough but if you don’t have unhealthy food within arms reach your chances of eating one drop down significantly.
- Add protein to your diet – Sweets help release a chemical called dopamine which can be quite addictive due to its ability to give the person a sense of pleasure. You can slowly balance your sugar cravings by eating food rich in protein. Not only does it help curb your sweet tooth, it can also help suppress appetite as you feel full longer.
- Avoid your triggers – There are several factors related to your lifestyle that can cause you to inexplicably crave for sweets and junk food. These are called “triggers’ and these are something you definitely need to avoid at all cost. It might be something work-related or a person specifically. Maybe you have a friend who just can’t avoid ordering desserts which may then cause you to order a dessert yourself. Simply put, you need to determine these triggers of yours and start taking the necessary steps to avoid them.
- Mind over matter – Finally, this one requires some next level of willpower for some. Stay in control of your appetite, not the other way around. Know when you have eaten your fill and don’t go past that. It might be difficult to stave off your sweet tooth but with practice, you can be like the Gandhi of a healthy
Eating junk food might leave you satisfied and in a euphoric state, but the consequences of it on your body could be your undoing in the future. I’m not saying you completely avoid junk food but you need to understand moderation. It’s good to treat yourself once in a while but overdoing it can leave you in a worse state, health-wise, than before. Focus on developing a healthy lifestyle and incorporate exercise and a nutritious diet into your everyday routine and you will effectively reduce risks of ailments. You will also start feeling better both physically and mentally.