Effects of Fast Food on the Body


Swinging through the drive-thru or hopping into your favorite fast-food restaurant tends to happen more often than some would like to admit. According to the Food Institute’s analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials alone spend 44 percent of their budget’s food dollars on eating out.In comparison to 40 years ago, the average American family now spends half their food budget on restaurant food. In 1977, just under 38 percent of family food budgets were spent eating outside the home.While an occasional night of fast food won’t hurt, a habit of eating out could be doing a number on your health. Read on to learn the effects of fast food on your body.

Digestive and cardiovascular systems

Most fast food, including drinks and sides, are loaded with carbohydrates with little to no fiber. When your digestive system breaks down these foods, the carbs are released as glucose (sugar) into your bloodstream. As a result, your blood sugar increases. Your pancreas responds to the surge in glucose by releasing insulin. Insulin transports sugar throughout your body to cells that need it for energy. As your body uses or stores the sugar, your blood sugarreturns to normal.

This blood sugar process is highly regulated by your body, and as long as you’re healthy, your organs can properly handle these sugar spikes. But frequently eating high amounts of carbs can lead to repeated spikes in your blood sugar. Overtime, these insulin spikes may cause your body’s normal insulin response to falter. This increases your risk for weight gain, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

Sugar and fat

Many fast-food meals have added sugar. Not only does that mean extra calories, but also little nutrition.The American Heart Association suggestsonly eating 100 to 150 calories of added sugar per day. That’s about six to nine teaspoons. Many fast-food drinks alone hold well over 12 ounces. A 12-ounce can of soda contains 8 teaspoons of sugar. That equals 130 calories, 39 grams of sugar, and nothing else.Trans fat is manufactured fat created during food processing. It’s commonly found in:

  • fried pies
  • pastries
  • pizza dough
  • crackers
  • cookies

No amount of trans fat is good or healthy. Eating foods that contain it can increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


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