Swinging by your favourite fast-food restaurant seems to happen more often than we would care to admit. The term “fast food” generally refers to food that people intend to consume quickly, either on- or off-site. It is without a doubt that fast food is typically very poor in terms of nutrition. Not all fast food is bad, and a person can make an informed choice, however, even the healthiest fast-food items are generally high in sugar, salt, saturated fats and trans fats.
Fast food is highly palatable, meaning that it is very quickly broken down in the mouth, does not require much chewing, and activates the reward centers in the brain rapidly. This combination trains the palate to prefer these highly processed, highly stimulating foods. This reduces desire for whole, fresh, nutritious foods.
Most fast food, including drinks, 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 sugar returns 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. Over time, these insulin spikes may cause your body’s normal insulin response to falter. This increases your risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.
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 trans-fat can increase your bad cholesterol, lower your good cholesterol, and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Fast foods may be great for satisfying hunger in the short term but the long-term effects could be dire. Obesity, heart diseases, diabetes are just a few of the long-term problems of consuming fast food. Eat some fresh, nutritious food and make it a part of your lifestyle.
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