What is junk food?
“Junk food,” also called discretionary choices, are food and drinks that do not contain nutrients the body needs. Instead, junk food are high in calories from sugar or fat and low in components with nutritional value, such as dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. For this reason, we also call them “empty calories”.
What foods are considered junk food?
Foods that are considered junk food includes:
- Sugary drink like soda, juices, energy drink
- Processed meat such as hotdogs, bacon, ham
- Sweet desserts or treats like candies, gum, chocolates, cakes
- Fast food meals such as french fries, fried chicken, hamburger, pizza, tacos
- Instant noodles
- Ice cream
- Other processed foods with an unhealthy amount of sugar, salt, and bad fat.
The Health Effects of Excessive Junk Foods
Consuming too much junk food prevents the body from absorbing the essential nutrients that help it function well. Eating too much junk food can cause health problems that might lead to some serious diseases in the future. Some of the negative effects of junk food include:
One of the key factors on why obesity is still a global health problem is because of overindulgence to junk food. High levels of sugar, saturated fat, sodium, calories, and less to zero amount of nutrients (minerals and vitamins) in too much junk food can cause excessive weight gain. Obesity can lead to more serious diseases such as type- 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and certain types of cancer.
Poor control of appetite and digestion problems
According to research, consuming an excessive amount of junk food can affect the brain, specifically the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating the appetite. Excessive sugar from junk food messes up the suppression of your appetite, causing an increase in the desire to eat more even though you’re full.
Binge-eating junk food can also cause digestion problems, as these food do not contain fiber which helps with digestion. If food is not digested well, then it might lead to constipation and other digestive problems.
Memory loss and learning problems
Poor diet, especially when consuming high-fat, high-sugar food can cause inflammation in the hippocampus which is a part of the brain responsible for memory, learning, emotion, and motivation. Damage to the hippocampus can trigger learning problems and impaired memory. If not given attention immediately, this might increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.