Is junk food bad for your health?

It’s amazing that this is still a question and not a fact! No one questions whether drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is bad for you, or if smoking is bad for you. The relationship between junk food and disease is as strong, if not stronger, as these examples – yet we still find it freely available in stores and advertised to our kids.

Here’s a question for you: Do you eat junk food? If you said yes, then you’re in for a shock. Here are a few reasons why you should stop.

High in carbohydrates

Junk food is mostly made up of highly refined, rapidly absorbed carbohydrates, also known as sugars. Not all carbohydrates are bad for you – those you get from vegetables and fruit are essential for your health. But those made with large amounts of wheat, corn or soy flour lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar, which leads to spikes in insulin and growth hormone. Mix that together with our inactive lifestyles, and you send all these unhealthy carbohydrates straight to fat. Next stop: diseases like insulin sensitivity, diabetes and obesity.

Full of bad fats

Junk food also contains high amounts of unhealthy fats. Again, not all fats are bad for you. Your body requires lots of fat to keep your brain in top shape and other internal processes running.

Healthy fats are found in nuts such as almonds and walnuts, butter, coconut oil and olive oil. However, manufacturers use the cheapest fats they can – margarine or other hydrogenated fats are commonly used – and what’s even scarier: they often use the same cheap oils over and over again, creating cancer-causing chemicals in the oil. Then we eat food cooked in it!

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“Fake foods”

A lot of junk food is fake food that relies on food technologists to create copy-cat flavours, colours and scents to mimic real food because real ingredients are expensive and cut their profits. They’d like you to believe that artificial ingredients cause no harm, but research shows otherwise. Higher rates of allergies, digestive system disorders, nervous system disorders and energy imbalances are shown to present in people who eat a lot of these fake foods.

If you’re eating a lot of nutrient-empty junk food, your body eventually uses up all its stores of vitamins and minerals it usually gets from real food, which can leave you with a variety of deficiencies and diseases such as chronic fatigue and depression. Some manufacturers try to counter this by adding vitamins and or minerals in their products, but they can’t get the variety or mix of nutrients that you will get from real food.
The verdict on whether junk food is bad for health is in – eat for health, not just for habit.

Want to ditch the carbs and eat the right way? Sign up with our Eat Healthy Tip Module. For just R1 per day you’ll receive 2 daily nutrition tips written by our doctors which are sent straight to your phone! To subscribe, sms EAT to 44388 today.

Author: Dr Yesheen Singh

Read more:
What’s in the food you’re eating?
Here’s what you should be eating at work