Eating fast food is a quick way to lessen hunger. Grabbing a sandwich or two can make us feel full for at least an hour. Buying at a nearby fast food restaurant is a convenient way of appeasing our hunger. Gone are the days when you have to spend several hours to prepare a meal(1). Cooking for the always-on-the-go people can be a chore. But, are fast foods always the safest choice in lessening hunger?
Health Watch Activated
Burgers, French fries, fried chicken, ice cream, and sundaes are just some examples of fast food we love eating. However, what are the effects of eating these types of food? The following are some health concerns regarding fast foods:
- Weight Gain Dilemma
Fast food can make us gain weight. One research explained that when people eat fast food more than two times a month it can lead to weight gain. An occasional visit is okay, but making it a habit of eating fast food is not (2). It was also found out that you have 5.2% more chance of gaining extra weight if you live near a fast food restaurant(2).
- Extra Servings of Sugar
Sugar contains high amounts of calories. There are plenty of sugar-laden foods in fast food restaurants like ice cream and sundaes. Indulging in foods that are rich in sugar leads to obesity which is an important risk factor in developing diabetes. Also, too much sugar in the body can lead to insulin resistance (3).
- The Deadly Culprit Called Salt
Salty food affects our blood pressure and our heart muscles (4). Having too much salt can result in the fluid build-up. This is dangerous to people with cirrhosis, heart problems, and kidney disease. Aside from these, salty foods contribute to the build-up of stones (4).
- Too Much of the Blues Called Depression
A study was conducted and found out that too much consumption of fast foods and pastries is linked to developing depression (5). A research team conducted a study in which they tried to find an association between the level of trans fat in the body and emotional awareness. Results indicate that the high level of trans fat present in the body means the respondents have decreased the level of emotional clarity or awareness. People with high level of trans fat are not as effective in identifying and controlling their emotions as compared to those with low levels of trans fat (6).
- Beware of Phthalates
Eating fast food exposes us to chemicals called phthalates. Phthalates are present in packaging materials and items that are utilized in fast food making. It is claimed that an increased exposure to phthalates affects the reproductive capabilities of men and can cause developmental concerns in babies when exposed during their mothers pregnancy (7).
Rehabilitating Our Fixation
What then are some steps on how we can lessen eating fast foods? Here are some quick tips:
- Make it a habit of eating healthy options like fruits and veggies. Readers Digest suggests placing healthy food at the center of the fridge for easy retrieval (8).
- Do advance planning. Before leaving the house, eat plenty and pack something healthy to munch on (9). This can help in avoiding a hasty stop at the nearest fast food restaurant.
- Create goals. Creating a plan to lessen weight or junk food intake can be effective. Try maintaining a schedule of when and how much junk food you are allowing yourself to eat in a day with the goal of lessening your intake. Do this for several days or weeks until it becomes a habit (9).
- Choose your food wisely. Eat foods that have healthy fats and protein. Proteins and heart-friendly fats can lessen hunger pangs (10).
- Have enough sleep. Not having enough sleep can make you hungry and crave for food (11). Lack of sleep stimulates the endocannabinoid system which is largely responsible for regulation of appetite.
Eating fast food may be beneficial to those who are always in a hurry, but the health risks are difficult to ignore. Health concerns include obesity, development of diabetes, exposure to harmful chemicals, having too much salt in the body, and increasing the risk for depression. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is always the key to living a healthy life.
After all, health is wealth.
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