Health & Wellness

What is Junk Food: 10 Harmful Effects of Junk Food on the Body

Junk foods have become an essential part of life; people do not understand the risk these foods possess. Children and adults are both equally attracted to it because of its taste.

Some of the commonly eaten junk food is sugary drinks, pizza, white bread, industrial vegetable oils, margarine, pastries, cakes, French fries, potato chips, ice-cream, candy bars, processed meat, processed cheese, and highly processed foods.

Junk food taken occasionally is not a health hazard; too much is always too bad. People who eat junk food are weak. Here in this article, we will mention 10 harmful effects of junk food on the body.

Junk food effects, digestive system, respiratory tract, liver, kidney, and heart. There is an increased amount of sugar and cholesterol in the body.

The food does not produce any energy, and people become sedentary over regular intake of food.

Harmful Effects of Junk Food

People might fill full after eating, but there is no nutritional value. One should eat junk food safely and do some physical activity in exercise, dance, or yoga. Eat junk food in a controlled manner to satisfy your palate.

1. Trigger Digestive Problems

As we all know, junk food is rich in fats and oil. This fatty system upset the GI tract resulting in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome.

The oil gets deposited on the stomach wall, which makes the gastric cells produce gastric acid.

This excess acid produces acid and results in various indigestion problems. The spices also irritate the gastric lining, increasing the secretions.

Ideally, the diet should be composed of fibers that ease digestion. A Diet with an inadequate amount of fibers results in constipation and hemorrhoids.

Junk food is also loaded with carbohydrates that breakdown into sugars. The pancreas will find it challenging to deal with the excess sugar, resulting in fluctuations in blood sugar level, and regular consumption can result in diabetes.

2. Lack of Energy

Junk food is rich in fatty acids and sugars, but it does not have any nutritional value. The food lacks adequate nutrients to get energy and perform day-to-day activities.

A diet should compose of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibers for the body’s healthy functioning.

You might find yourself full after eating junk food, but it will not give you any energy; but instead, you will feel tired and exhausted.

Regularly eating junk food makes an individual weak, and a person will feel fatigued after doing small work.

3. Risk of Diabetes

One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of diabetes is unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle. Middle-aged adults need a steady amount of sugars in the body.

Low sugars and excess sugars are both not good for health. The body should also have a healthy metabolism rate to combat the high calories consumed by the intake of junk foods.

Obese people are resistant to insulin, making the metabolism of sugar even more difficult.

Junk food affects metabolism, and the body loses the tendency to deal with the excess sugar produced after eating junk food. People develop insulin resistance.

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4. Beware Of Refined Sugar

People with sweet tooth often opt for Junk food in pastries, cookies, cakes, etc. The products are composed of refined sugar, which is rich in calories. To combat the excess sugar, the pancreas has to work to release more insulin.

Junk food is devoid of carbohydrates and proteins, which are beneficial for the body.

They also intend to increase food intake as the body is devoid of nutrients required for normal functioning and energy to perform day-to-day activities.

People may feel lethargic even after eating junk food, as it does not have any nutritional value.

5. Affects the Brain Function

A recently published study shows that fat from junk food replaces the good fat present in this brain. It decreases the cognitive ability and also learning power.

This bad fat also impairs the signaling mechanism from the brain. Junk food can result in neuroinflammation, i.e., inflammation of neurons resulting in brain damage.

In a study, people who are on junk food with cakes, cookies, and sugary drinks caused inflammation in the hippocampus. Hippocampus is also the area that is responsible for sending and receiving signals.

Junk food also induces cravings because of signaling in the form of mouthwatering.

This craving for food makes it difficult to get distracted for the food and go for healthy eating.

6. Risk of Heart Disease

As we all know, junk foods are processed foods and are composed of fatty substances and are especially rich in bad cholesterol.

This bad cholesterol gets deposited on the arteries, reducing the lumen of the arteries. The reduced lumen increases blood pressure.

The deposited fats can form plaques blocking arteries resulting in cardiac arrest. Sometimes, the deposits turn inflammatory, attracting more agents to enhance the blockade.

People with diabetes have higher chances of developing heart diseases. The fatty substances increase body weight and make you obese.

The higher the body weight, the increased are the chances of cardiovascular risk. The fatty deposition can be fatal and can result in cardiac arrest.

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7. Impaired Kidney Function

Fries and chips are composed of a high amount of salt. Salt is responsible for water retention, which in turn causes hypertension. The sodium-potassium balance of the body is disturbed.

It can result in various cardiovascular risks. Fries and chips are highly processed foods that cause excess salivation, and hence more enzymes are released, increasing your appetite and craving for food.

The kidney is responsible for the flushing of toxins. Increased junk food increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. In diabetes, the body does not produce a sufficient amount of insulin or becomes resistant to insulin.

Long-term uncontrolled diabetes increases sugar concentration in the body. 

Increased blood sugar levels have adverse effects on the kidney along with other organs. The damaged kidneys cause reabsorption of glucose in the body.

8. Risk of Liver Damage

Junk food is mostly rich in fatty acid contents. People who regularly eat fatty food, the liver show changes in the liver enzymes. The presence of liver enzymes is an indication of damage to the liver.

The liver fails to perform its functions properly. The fat gets deposited onto the liver and results in fatty liver. The effect of junk food in the liver is the same as that of alcohol consumption.

A high intake of junk food (twice daily for a month) without any exercise or physical activity damages the liver.

People should avoid overeating fatty, and it also adds to the weight of an individual resulting in obesity.

Proper control of diet and physical activity can reverse the effect of fatty food on the liver.

9. Difficulty in Breathing

People often neglect the effect of junk food on the respiratory tract system. Excess calories of junk food make people obese. The excess weight produces pressure on the heart and lungs.

The obese and heavy-weight develops shortness of breath and asthma-like symptoms even while doing small daily chores. People find it difficult to walk, climb stairs, or exercise.

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10. Can Cause Cancer

Junk foods like pizza, biscuits, burgers, and chocolate, which are rich in calories, increase cancer chances.

There are several published reports which indicate the consumption of junk food can result in cancer.

It is confirmed from a study of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a diet rich in high calories without low or nil nutritive value can develop cancer.

Obese women who regularly eat junk food are at increased risk of developing cancer.

According to a study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, food rich in sugar and fat increases the chance of developing colorectal cancer.

Establishing the relationship between diet, lifestyle, and cancer is a complex process. But an inappropriate diet and a sedentary lifestyle can be the causative agent for cancer.

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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