How Eating Junk Food Affects Your Body
Written by: Brandi Monasco
You say to yourself, “It’s just one ice cream cone.”
“I ran a few miles this morning.”
“One bad meal won’t make me gain weight.”
Most of us know that eating junk food is unhealthy. Overdoing it on pizza, ice cream, or hamburgers might make you feel lousy a few hours later, or you might even be concerned about it going straight to your hips and thighs. But eating junk food actually has more repercussions than just gaining weight.
Recently, there was a study that involved 12 relatively healthy, college-age men who were put on a high-fat diet for 5 days. You won’t believe the RESULTS of this study!
- Junk Food Messes Up Your Metabolism. The men in the study gorged on pizza, microwave meals, mac and cheese and other high-fat, processed foods. Their muscles began to lose the ability to oxidize glucose, which is a process that provides energy for your body, shortly after 1 meal. The failure for your muscles to oxidize glucose can lead to insulin resistance in the future.
- It Zaps Your Energy. The familiar sugar crash. Eating empty calories can make you feel tired, shaky and even hungry just a few hours after your meal. When you eat junk food that contains a lot of sugar, your insulin is pumped through your body, telling your cells to soak up all of that glucose that is coming their way. The tissues soak up the glucose so fast that the rapid change in blood sugar makes you feel irritable and tired.
- It Narrows Your Arteries. We know that eating high-fat food causes high cholesterol, which isn’t healthy. A single meal that is high in saturated fat causes immediate damage to your arteries.
“While cholesterol builds over time to narrow artery walls, scientists who fed perfectly healthy men a meal high in saturated fat—read: a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich with three sides of hash browns—saw subjects’ artery walls narrow by 24% only 2 hours after eating.”
- It Alters Your Brain Chemistry – In A Bad Way. Eating meals that contain high sugar or high-fat content encourage the release of dopamine and opioids in your brain, which are the same chemicals released when you are addicted to drugs. That’s scary!
- It Changes Your Gut Bacteria. Your gut is lined with 100 trillion bacteria. This bacteria protects your body from outside offenders such as free radicals. Eating junk food changes that bacteria and damages the “gut-to-brain” communication chain that tells you when to stop eating. When you don’t know when to stop eating, you tend to overeat.
- It Makes You Gain Weight. It’s as simple as that; you gain weight. But, eating junk food also leads to tissue inflammation.
The next time you think about driving through your favorite fast food place, stop and think twice about it. Remember, moderation in all things is important. But be honest with yourself about your definition of moderation.
Let us know your thoughts about this study in the comments below and what your favorite ways of keeping yourself on track are, we love hearing and learning from you!
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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