Avoid junk food to stay healthy

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Junk food also called Fast Food refers to any type of food that is high in calories, salt, sugars, and unhealthy fats, and low in nutrients. It is often cheap, convenient, and widely available, making it a popular choice for many people, especially those with busy schedules. It is either ready to eat or very easy to cook in a few minutes and consume. Examples of Junk food include chocolates, pizzas, burgers, cakes, biscuits, snacks, chips, soft drinks, samosa, and other ready-to-use food items.

However, the consumption of junk food is linked to a variety of harmful effects on health, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The main harmful effects of junk food on health are enlisted below.

Firstly, junk food is very high in calories, which usually leads to excessive weight gain and subsequently obesity. When we consume more calories than we burn, our body stores the excess calories as fat, leading to an increase in body weight. Junk food are often high in calories, with a single meal often containing more calories than we need for an entire day. This excess calorie intake leads to weight gain and obesity, which in turn increases the risk of numerous health problems such as cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, endocrinal disorders, Polycystic Ovarian diseases, and certain types of cancers.

Secondly, junk food is high in sugars and unhealthy fats and very low in fiber, which can have harmful effects on our cardiovascular health. A diet high in sugars and unhealthy fats can lead to an increase in blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, which can all contribute to the development of chronic heart diseases. Junk food has also been linked to an increased risk of stroke, due to its high levels of sodium. Due to very low levels of fibers and roughage, it also leads to abdominal discomfort,  bloating, chronic constipation, and then piles.

Thirdly, junk food is usually low in nutrients, which can lead to malnutrition and other health problems. When we consume junk food, we are often consuming empty calories, meaning calories with little to no nutritional value. This can lead to deficiencies in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are needed for optimal health. Malnutrition can lead to a variety of health problems such as weak immune systems, poor bone health, and cognitive impairment.

Junk food is also linked to Fatty liver disease and excessive consumption of calories is stored in the liver as fat in hepatocytes called Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which then impedes the normal functioning of hepatocytes, affecting the body’s metabolism and can lead to chronic liver disease.

Junk food has also been associated with dental cavities, memory and cognitive impairment, and skin-related diseases. Junk food is often high in additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, and coloring agents, which can have negative effects on our health. Some of these additives have been linked to an increased risk of many cancers,  while others can cause allergic reactions or other health problems.

In conclusion, the consumption of junk food has many harmful effects on health. It is important to limit our intake of junk food and focus on consuming a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in nutrients and low in calories, sugars, and unhealthy fats. By doing so, we can reduce many risk factors of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health problems, and lead a healthier, and happy life.

The author is a consultant Radiologist at GMC Anantnag.


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