When it comes to diet, what you put into your body plays a significant role in your overall appearance and health. It can be easy sometimes to pull into a local fast-food restaurant and order a quick bite when you don’t have a chance to cook. And this is not always so bad. However, if you select the wrong foods, it can be very harmful to your health.

Many fast food options contain highly processed carbohydrates, sugar, unhealthy fat, and sodium.[1] They are high in calories and are low in anti-oxidents, fiber and many other nutrients.

This guide will discuss the short-term and long-term unhealthful impacts of fast foods.

Effects of Sugar and Fat

Eating added sugars is not advised as they provide absolutely no nutritional value and contribute to weight gain and heart disease. Foods with high sugar content provide less satiety and can make you more hungry for the next meal. Eating foods with high carbohydrates increases the body’s need for insulin and leads to more hunger.

Some of the Starbucks drinks are loaded with sugar, e.g. a 16-ounce Cinnamon Dolce Latte contains 40 grams of sugar. That is 2.84 tablespoons of sugar and equivalent of eating two Twinkies.

Diets high in saturated fats are linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. A diet high in trans fats increases the amount of bad cholesterol and can cause heart disease.

Effects of Sodium

fast food to avoid, salted pretzelsWhen too much sodium is included in the diet, water retention occurs, leading to a feeling of being bloated. Even worse, sodium can contribute to the following:

Top 10 Most Unhealthy Fast Food Restaurants

  1. Sonic
  2. Carls Junior
  3. Burger King/While Castle
  4. Jack in the Box
  5. Arby’s
  6. Popeyes Chicken
  7. Subway
  8. KFC
  9. Round Table Pizza/Pizza Hut
  10. A&W

Other food chains not making the top 10 are In-N-Out, Taco Bell/Del Taco, Wendy’s, Quizno’s, Whataburger, Habit Burger, and Donut King.

Some Healthier Fast Food Restaurants

On the other hand, there are some healthier options out there, such as:

  • Panera Bread
  • Jason’s Deli
  • Au Bon Pain
  • Noodles and Company
  • Corner Bakery Cafe
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Chipotle
  • Atlanta Bread
  • McDonald’s
  • Einstein Bros Bagels
  • Taco Del Mar
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs

Whether you go to one of the unhealthy or healthier options, it is still essential to understand what to avoid and why it should be avoided. And fast food should not regularly be eaten regardless. The best option to support good health is to cook your meals at home.

List of Impacts that Fast Food has on the Body:

1 – Digestive System

Many fast foods are made of simple carbohydrates such as white bread or white rice. During digestion, your system breaks these carbohydrates down into sugar, known as glucose. The glucose is then introduced into your bloodstream, which then causes the pancreas to release insulin, which transports the blood throughout your body. Blood sugar levels drop as the sugar is absorbed, leading to low blood sugar. Lastly, your pancreas releases glucagon, which tells the liver to use stored sugars. If this continues regularly, it can put you at risk of type 2 diabetes.

2 – Respiratory System

Consuming fast food with excess calories regularly can lead to weight gain and obesity. Obesity causes respiratory issues such as shortness of breath, wheezing without much exertion, sleep apnea, and asthma.

3 – Central Nervous System

Studies have found that eating doughnuts, croissants, bran muffins, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs may be linked to depression.

Another negative side effect of eating fast food is the effect on the brain’s synapses & molecules that aid in memory and learning.

4 – Skin and Bones

Many people falsely assume that chocolate and greasy food cause acne. But it is, in fact, the carbohydrates that cause this health issue alongside the increase in blood sugar.

Foods high in carbs and sugar also cause the bacteria within your mouth to produce acids that can destroy tooth enamel. Since tooth enamel can never be replaced, avoiding these foods is highly significant.

Make Wise Food Selections

Whether it be out at a fast-food restaurant or at home, it is important that you select foods wisely. Here are some simple guidelines as a start to selecting healthier food options.

Carbohydrates

Avoid simple carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, doughnuts, white tortillas, and bagels.

Instead, aim for healthy carbohydrates such as whole oats, whole wheat products (not enriched), brown rice, yams, as well as corn tortillas, and watch out for sodium and sugar content.

Protein

Avoid high-fat proteins such as beef patties, fried chicken, and meats high in sodium such as sliced turkey
and ham.

Instead, go with proteins such as egg whites, healthy fish such as cod and salmon, lean cuts of beef, lean poultry, and soy.

Vegetables

Feel free to load up on vegetables if they are made available. But avoid eating vegetables containing a lot of sodium, heavy sauces, or that provide little nutritional value.

Fruits and Sugar

Fruits also play a significant part in maintaining a healthy diet. However, drinks such as Jamba Juice smoothies contain incredibly high sugar levels, such as 60 grams or more.

The best practice is to eat fresh fruits and avoid juices or smoothies, as they often contain more than the recommended daily intake of sugar.

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