Sooner or later, we all get a hankering for fast food. It’s convenient, tasty and readily available. Yet eating fast food regularly can have disastrous effects on your health since most fast food is loaded with carbohydrates and almost no fiber. Therefore, when your digestive system processes these foods, the carbs are converted to glucose and released into your bloodstream, raising your blood sugar.
In turn, your pancreas counters the surge of glucose by releasing insulin, which delivers sugar to cells in your body for energy. As your body uses or stores sugar, your blood sugar returns to normal. This process is highly regulated by your body, and most healthy adults can handle these spikes in sugar. However, repeated spikes from consuming large amounts of carbs can weaken your body’s normal insulin response, increasing your risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.
Since most fast-food has added sugar, it provides extra calories but little nutrition. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating 100 to 150 calories of added sugar per day at most, which is equal to six to nine teaspoons. Many fast-food drinks, which usually hold 12 ounces, contain eight teaspoons of sugar, meaning 140 calories, 39 grams of sugar, and not much else.
Also, fast food contains trans-fat, which develops during food processing. Trans fat is never good or healthy and can increase your LDL (bad cholesterol), lower your HDL (good cholesterol), and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Fast food is also high in sodium, which can lead to water retention and high blood pressure, putting stress on your heart and cardiovascular system. A fast food meal contains approximately 1,292 milligrams of sodium. The AHA a maximum of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for adults.
Obesity is a problem for those who eat fast food regularly. Added pounds put pressure on your heart and lungs, making it difficult to breathe when walking, climbing stairs, or exercising. One study found that children who eat fast food at least three times a week are more likely to develop asthma.
Other negative effects include, depression, decreased fertility, skin conditions, loss of enamel on teeth and loss of bone density. The growth of the fast food industry in the US has coincided with a surge in obesity. The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) reports that the number of fast food restaurants in the US has doubled since 1970, while the number of obese Americans has also doubled.
Aside from being unhealthy, fast food has also been in the news lately as a result of the Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition report, which issued a failing grade to McDonald's, Five Guys, White Castle, Burger King, and 18 other fast food restaurants for their beef sourcing policies. The Center For Disease Control reports that "at least two million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die every single year" as a result of unregulated beef practices.