We’ve all been hungry and — realizing we’re short on time — driven to the nearest hamburger joint, ordered a No. 7, and gobbled down a half-pound of beef and some salty, greasy fries. How did you feel afterward? Probably not awesome.
Readily available online nutritional facts for fast-food companies and cultural revelations, such as the eye-opening 2004 Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me, show us the facts: Much of fast food is high in calories, saturated and trans fats, sugar, and sodium, and consuming them as a regular diet can lead to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Nothing’s new there.
What doesn’t get talked about as often is the less serious but still unpleasant health risks that come with a side order of large fries.
The older you get the more you care to schedule and regulate your bodily functions. You might be suppressing the urge to giggle, but there is a reason why Activia, Fiber One cereals, and probiotic supplements are popular — people want their pipes flowing well.
Do you know what hinders proper digestion? Fast food. Constipation happens after consuming meals packed with processed foods like white breads and rice because there is little to no fiber, which helps to move our bowels. Tack onto that high doses of sodium and you make that constipation worse.
Toying with Your Emotions
Fast-food consumption does a lot to our mood, as well as our bodies. Stress and depression are side effects of a diet that regularly includes fast food. In addition, that sadness also makes us sluggish and unmotivated, so that’s another contributing factor to gaining weight. After the weight gain, you can likely add negative body image to the list, which gives you a recipe for very unhealthy emotional, mental, and body issues.
Likewise, high amounts of sugar and sodium cause a spike that, for premenstrual women, could make PMS symptoms much worse — for everyone else, it can increase the desire to consume more fast food.
Another emotional and chemical side effect of regular fast food consumption is a decreased libido. Foods high in fat can cause a biochemical change tanking libido, sperm count, and ovulation.
Those looking for the fountain of youth or clear skin should not look at the nearest drive-thru. Excessive sugar in a diet can cause a weathering or aging of skin and wrinkles. Fast food contains excessive sugar, or advanced glycation end products. The more AGEs in a long-term diet, the greater the risk of other health issues, such as dementia and cataracts.
Likewise, salt in excess causes us to retain water and cause puffiness, especially under the eyes. Finally, it might be those processed white breads and french fries that cause your skin to break out, not the grease in which they’re cooked.
— Laura Van Wert, HellaWella
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