Though your children may ask for junk food because they like the taste or because their friends are eating it, you undoubtedly already know that junk food can have negative effects on them. Junk food is typically is low in nutrients and high in calories from added sugars, starches or fats.
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Processed and junk food lovers beware! There are many negative repercussions to persistent junk food eating habits, not just the obvious and inevitable weight gain. Below is a short list of how junk food negatively impacts our bodies. Think about it the next time you are reaching for your second helping of cheesy nachos that accompanies the double stacked hamburger sandwich and large soda.
A negative effect of junk food on children is rapid weight gain, often leading to excessive weight and sometimes obesity. This is because it often tastes good, is not very filling and is high calorie. Candy, soft drinks, French fries and other fried foods, pizza, burgers, baked goods and ice cream are examples of high-sugar or high-fat foods which provide hundreds of calories per day for the typical American youth ages 2 to 18, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Type 2 Diabetes
Junk food puts kids at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes occurs when you are not able to properly regulate your blood sugar level. Your risk increases when you are obese and when your diet is high in high-glycemic carbohydrates, such as sugars and refined starches in sweets, white bread and potatoes. Type 2 diabetes increases your risk for kidney failure.
Junk food can lead to nutritional deficiencies when your children eat it instead of healthy foods with essential nutrients. Healthy meals and snacks should provide essential nutrients, such as B vitamins; magnesium and iron from fortified, whole-grain cereals and grains; calcium from milk or yogurt; healthy fats from nuts and dietary fiber; and vitamin A and vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, children may miss out on these nutrients when settling for such things as breakfast sandwiches, potato chips, candy and soft drinks.
Junk food is often high in saturated fat, which raises LDL cholesterol and may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Junk foods with saturated fat include pizza, ice cream, processed meats and full-fat cheese. High blood pressure is another risk factor for heart disease, and a high-sodium diet leads to high blood pressure. Children may be at risk for high blood pressure when eating salty junk food such as potato chips, French fries, pretzel
Junk food enthusiasts are prone to put on weight, especially when they eat this kind of food very often. The fat and processed flour only make people fatter and unhealthier, as does the oil and grease that are used for fries, chips, donuts and other deep-fried foods. Statistics even show people who eat junk food tend to accompany it with sodas and alcohol, which are either laden with sugar or empty calories and both increase a person’s tendency to put on weight.
Processed food tends to bring down people’s energy levels and make them lethargic because they are filled with carbohydrates that spike blood sugar levels. Soon after junk food is consumed, people feel themselves lulled into a stupor because sugar levels would have risen and fallen dramatically. This makes people feel sleepy and less inclined to be active and alert. Reflexes and senses become duller by the day and people start to lead a more sedentary life.
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Junk food causes diseases like diabetes and heart ailments. People are more likely to get diabetes, especially if they are sedentary, do not exercise, and have a family history of this disease. The fat from junk food raises cholesterol levels and can clog arteries, which may cause heart attacks and bring on strokes which could debilitate, or worse, even a person. When someone is overweight, they tend to be prone to so many other diseases because of their shape and size.
When people eat too much junk food, they neglect to eat the nutritious kind like fruits and vegetables and other wholesome food. This means that the body does not get the necessary nutrition it needs and people end up with a weak immune system. Eating too much junk food will leave people prone to illnesses like colds and fevers, which although not serious, tend to have a nagging effect on life. They prevent people from being as active and organized as they would like to be.
Constipation and other ills
Processed foods have no fiber content and that is why people feel constipated when they go on a junk food binge. Sodas and colas also contain phosphorous and other chemicals which ruin are extremely acidic to your body, and strip your teeth of the enamel, eat away at your bones, and make the entire skeletal structure weak. Over time, it will leave the body prone to frequent sprains and fractures.
Junk food is bad for people of all ages, but mostly for teenagers and young children because it ends up effectively ruining their health for good. Parents and other responsible adults should be extra aware to ensure that they set a good example and feed their children balanced and healthy diets.
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