Junk food refers to food containing high levels of calories from sugar or fat with little protein, vitamins or minerals. The term means that a particular food has little “nutritional value” and contains excessive fat, sugar, salt, and calories. Junk food can also refer to high protein food containing large amounts of meat prepared with, for example, too much unhealthy saturated fat; many fried chicken and similar outlets supply food considered junk food.
Eating junk foods causes bowel inflammation and deteriorates bowel health.
Generally diets that are high in fat and sugar and low in fibre are bad for the health. Studies show that a high intake of dietary fibre, particularly cereal and whole grains, reduces bowel cancer risk, while eating red and processed meat increases the risk.
Typical junk food includes fast food: burgers and fries. Healthy diets include pulses and beans.
Research shows that up to a third of bowel cancer cases could be avoided by eating healthy foods.
Junk food makes people become obese. This is a problem particularly in countries like the US. Reports show that obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic health problems.
Insulin levels increase with the intake of processed sugars, such as those in soft drinks, white flour and other foods that lack fiber and nutrients necessary to properly metabolize carbohydrates. Eating junk foods throughout the day causes chronically high insulin levels, which eventually prompts the cells to begin to ignore this important hormone level, resulting in a condition known as insulin resistance. Ultimately, obesity and Type 2 diabetes may set in.
Many junk foods contain high sodium levels. Consuming high amounts of salt causes high blood pressure, heart, liver and kidney diseases. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends not more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day.
Junk food may lead to depression in teenagers. Due to puberty, teens are more susceptible to mood swings and behavioural changes. A healthy diet contributes to maintaining a good hormonal level while unhealthy diet does not. Consuming trans fats, saturated fats and processed food has been linked to up to 58 per cent increase in risk of depression.