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It isn’t exactly breaking news that fast food is bad for you. And for good reason: It’s really unhealthy, and if you eat a lot of it, not only will you gain weight, you’ll also end up sick and tired. But how much do we really know about why fast food is bad for you?
8 Reasons Why Fast Food Is Making You Sick and Tired (Slideshow)
When we eat, say, a nice piece of salmon with some quinoa and steamed vegetables, we’re getting vital nutrients from every component of that meal: omega-3s from the fish, protein and fiber from the quinoa, and a host of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. And while a five-ounce fillet of salmon actually contains more fat and calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger, it’s the quality of that fat and those calories that counts, and that’s where fast food falls short.
It’s a bit of a trap to think that when you’re looking to eat healthy, counting calories is all that matters. If you limit your overall calorie intake and amp up your workout regimen you’ll most likely lose weight, but it’s not just about calories; overall nutrition is the key to lasting well-being. A salmon fillet contains vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin B6, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus, choline, pantothenic acid, biotin, and potassium. A McDonald’s cheeseburger contains some iron, protein, and five grams of saturated fat. Calorie for calorie, which one seems like the healthier choice?
And don’t forget, this goes beyond weighing the more obvious health benefits of beef versus salmon. Commercial buns are made with enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup, stabilizers, conditioners, and preservatives, none of which offer much in the way of nutrition. Compare their health benefits to whole-grain bread and, well, there is no comparison. The closer to nature a food is, the healthier it will be, and few things are farther from nature than fast food.
So what does this have to do with making you feel sick and tired? A whole lot, as it turns out. What we put into our bodies plays a huge role in how we feel day in and day out, for a wide variety of reasons. Whether you need to explain the why of “no” to fast-food loving kids, inform friends and family, or just inform yourself of the dangers of fast food, here are eight reasons why it does so much more harm than good.
Sugar hides in nearly every fast food item, even the savory ones. Eating too much sugar can lead to diabetes and obesity, and, on top of that, the type of sugar that appears most often in fast food and other processed food is fructose, which is metabolized by the liver directly into fat — just like alcohol.
It’s High in Ingredients That Aren’t Real Food
There are dozens of chemicals in every fast food item, from texturants to fillers, preservatives to artificial flavors and colors. While they’ve all been approved by the FDA for use in food, none of them are food, so they don’t add any nutritional benefits. They’re just empty space, bringing nothing to the party except, possibly according to some reports, cancer.
You&rsquove just polished off a great lunch and are now feeling your energy wane and your eyes getting heavy. It happens to many of us, though few people actually know why they experience fatigue after eating. Find out a few possible causes for this sudden tiredness below.
Reactive hypoglycemia: After a meal full of carbohydrates, you may experience reactive hypoglycemia, which leaves you feeling extremely fatigued after eating and may also lead to headaches, irritability, and light-headedness. This occurs because the excess of carbohydrates cause your insulin production to spike and raise your blood glucose. When you are finished digesting, your blood glucose levels drop dramatically, resulting in a sugar crash.
Tryptophan: Tryptophan increases the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for mood, sleep, and regulating bowel movements. Consuming foods high in tryptophan causes a rise in insulin leaving you feeling drowsy after your meal.
Alkaline tide: Alkaline tide occurs during the first two hours of digestion and raises the blood&rsquos pH level. The digestion process produces an alkaline that is released into the blood plasma of the stomach and makes the blood from the stomach more alkaline than the blood travelling to it during digestion.
Allocation of resources: The theory that blood and oxygen are allocated to the digestive system in the same way they are to the muscles when working out has not been scientifically backed, but could explain the fatigue felt after eating.
Certain conditions: Diabetes and hypothyroidism can also cause fatigue after eating, as diabetes can reduce the absorption of glucose, while hypothyroidism makes the thyroid glands unable to produce enough thyroid hormones.
Food quality: Eating food with minimal nutritional value will leave you tired and fatigued after eating. In contrast, vitamin rich foods can help boost energy after a meal.
Meal portions: Eating large portions of unhealthy foods can leave you feeling sleepy. Livestrong suggests reducing the portion size of meals and eating more frequently so your body can digest smaller amounts at a time, which will leave you feeling less tired after a meal.
Allergies: Consuming a food you are allergic too can result in fatigue, as your body works to get rid of the allergen, expending energy as your immune system protects the body.
Suppression of orexin: This is the most significant peptide that controls wakefulness and is most active in the hypothalamus. Eating too many carbs subsequently leads to increased glucose levels in the bloodstream, leading the suppression of orexin.
Inflammation: The body releases messengers called cytokines that initiate the inflammatory process. Cytokines like TNF and IL-1b can suppress orexin&mdashthe peptide responsible for wakefulness. Foods that can cause inflammation may lead to significant fatigue.
Orexin and Blood pH: The orexin peptide is very sensitive to minor changes in blood ph. Scenarios of increased alkalinity results in orexin to become suppressed leading to fatigue.
Leptin: This is a hormone responsible for the feeling of satiety&mdasha satisfaction of our hunger. Leptin has also been found to increase inflammation, making us feel tired. Interestingly, leptin hormone levels are seen to increase more from carbohydrates rather than from protein or fat.
Parasympathetic activation: This relates to the part of the nervous system that is responsible for regulating the body&rsquos unconscious actions. It is often referred to as the &ldquorest and digest&rdquo system. This process of your nervous system contributes to the feelings of fatigue after a meal.
Cannabinoids and Orexin: These peptides actually have a counterbalancing system. Low levels of cannabinoids potentiate orexin and can stimulate wakefulness.
Insulin and low potassium: Having increased levels of insulin in the blood stream leads potassium to go into cells, resulting in a low blood serum potassium. Having a decreased potassium level can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, or even paralysis.
8 Foods that make you look older
Do you desire to look younger and slow the aging process? If so, you’ll want to eliminate these foods from your diet &mdash pronto!
Feeling your best and looking your best go hand in hand. There are plenty of foods you can eat that are good for your skin and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but what about foods that have the reverse effect?
Are you making sure to avoid these foods? Do you even know what these foods are? Let’s take a look at eight foods that make you look older and what you can replace them with.
Carbohydrates or wheat
Carbs and wheat products are converted to sugar if you don’t use them. High blood sugar, which is caused from eating too many carbs, results in a speeding up of the aging process within your body. Not only will this lead to wrinkled skin, it could also lead to weight gain. Keep your carbs in check &mdash and unless you need the energy for a workout, it’s best to grab fresh veggies or grilled chicken to munch on.
Research shows that Americans consume 3,400 mg of salt per day (no more than 2,300 mg is recommended and people with high blood pressure should consume no more than 1,500 mg per day). Salt raises your blood pressure, puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease and leaves you feeling bloated &mdash which we all know makes you look tired and worn out. We recommend seasoning your food with spices instead, such as fresh herbs or our personal favorite &mdash Mrs. Dash natural salt-free seasonings.
Fast-food hamburgers contain more trans fat than will ever be allowed. Trans fat stiffens your arteries and makes your skin appear stiff and dull. It also can make you feel sick, tired and energy-less. Instead of hitting the drive-thru, plan ahead and pack a lunch that’s healthy. If you must, choose one of these healthier fast food restaurants.
Caffeine &mdash found in energy drinks, sodas and coffee &mdash dehydrates the body. Not being hydrated affects the skin in major ways &mdash including maximizing your chances for wrinkles, fine lines, aging spots and dullness. It also interferes with your sleep, and lack of sleep is a great way to instantly age 10 years. If you have to have your morning coffee, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Similar to caffeine, alcohol dehydrates your body and can wreak havoc on your skin over time. A drink here and there won’t cause much of a difference, but if you’re a regular drinker you may want to switch to lighter varieties of alcohol (such as light beer or skinny margaritas) and up your intake of water.
Extremely processed oils &mdash such as vegetable oil, canola oil and soybean oil &mdash damage your cell membranes. In short, if you consume these oils on a regular basis, you’ll age faster and be at a much greater risk for heart disease. Instead, choose coconut oil or olive oil.
Doughnuts and cakes
Doughnuts, cakes, brownies and other sweet, sugary items are your skin’s worst enemy. They makes it thin, brittle and more fragile (fragile skin equals wrinkly skin). Since sugar is bad all around &mdash yet so hard to avoid &mdash we recommend following an 80/20 plan: 80 percent of the time you eat healthy and avoid processed, sugary treats and 20 percent of the time you can allow yourself to splurge a bit.
Skipping meals is actually worse for you than eating carbs or sugar. It ages your body at an alarming rate and puts you at a much higher risk for overeating the next time you do have a meal. Overeating leads to weight gain, which leads to feeling lethargic, which leads to looking older. Carry small, healthy snacks with you at all times to prevent going more than a few hours without food.
7 Surprising Ways Junk Food Makes You Miserable
Sugar, bad fats, processed carbohydrates. These dietary devils are what make up the bulk of all junk food-and bulk isn&apost the only thing they cause. According to Jim White, R.D, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, VA, foods like processed "white" carbs, packaged cookies, potato chips, sugary sodas, and high-fat burgers and fries not only pack on pounds, they can cause physical symptoms and conditions that make you look and feel like, well, crap. These seven potential side effects of a diet high in junk food just might inspire you to make a beeline for the nearest Whole Foods.
Control Meal Portions
The quantity of food you eat is another major factor in how you feel after a meal. If you eat healthy meals, large or small, your body will have energy. If, however, you eat large meals that consist of unhealthy foods, you will most likely feel like taking a nap afterwards. If you do have unhealthy foods as a part of your diet, try to reduce the portion size of your meals, and eat four or five smaller meals per day instead of three large meals per day. This allows your body to digest a manageable amount of food, every so often, throughout the day.
Signs of Endotoxin Contamination
There are a number of reasons why your body can’t properly eliminate or handle endotoxins, including malnutrition, hypothyroidism, stress, protein deficiency, and liver impairment.
- Hair Loss: Endotoxins can increase the production of stress chemicals that can trigger hair loss.
- Leaky Gut: Endotoxins increase gut permeability, which allows pathogens to enter the bloodstream beyond the intestinal wall. This can trigger the immune system and even lead to autoimmune disorders.
- Hypothyroidism: If you have, or suspect that you have, an underactive thyroid, endotoxins most likely play a role. Endotoxins directly suppress thyroid function, which also decreases immune function.
- Abnormal Periods: Endotoxins in the blood also cause estrogen levels to rise. Signs of estrogen dominance includes worsened PMS, low sex drive, fatigue, and weight gain.
- Puffy Appearance: Excess endotoxins can lead to edema, a metabolic problem where our tissues and cells become “waterlogged” and cause water retention. This can lead to swelling, bloating, and puffiness.
- Premature Wrinkles: Endotoxins stop the cells from utilizing and producing energy. This oxidative stress is characterized by signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
- Fatigue: Endotoxins have an “anti-mitochondrial effect” which are the powerhouse of the cells. By impairing mitochondrial function, endotoxins decrease our cells’ ability to produce energy. This can lead to chronic fatigue.
You never indulge.
"Why am I gaining weight if I'm sticking to my diet religiously?" you may ask. And we have the answer: you're taking it a little too seriously. You don't have to restrict yourself completely when you're trying to lose weight—live a little! It'll actually help you to reverse recent weight gain. Having a cheat day (or even cheat days) while dieting may actually help aid weight loss, according to an International Journal of Obesity study. Australian researchers found that when participants alternated between adhering to a strict diet for two weeks and following it with two cheat weeks lost more weight during the study than those who stuck to a strict diet the entire time. Bonus: The "cheater" group also gained back less weight after the study finished.
The solution: To get back to a trimmer version of you, eat the real thing, but downsize your portion. If you love ice cream, for example, skip the fro-yo and have a small scoop of premium.
8 Reasons Why You Act Against Your Own Better Judgment
We all make poor choices against our better judgment. It’s kind of what makes us human – the tendency to actively and willfully make decisions that will result in unfavorable outcomes. Sure, the candy bar tastes good, but you know you’ll feel awful after eating it. Yeah, that blog is fun to read, but you know you’d be much happier if you finished that essay for class first. And yet five minutes later, a candy bar wrapper sits, emptied of its contents your molars house fragments of nougat and sport a caramel sheen light nausea approaches and you find yourself wading knee deep through comment sections, MS Word window minimized. What just happened? Why did you do those things that you told yourself you wouldn’t, that you warned yourself against, and whose negative ramifications are already coming to fruition – just as you predicted?
Last week, we began the dialog with my introductory post on akrasia – the act of knowingly working against one’s own interests – but we didn’t get into any details. Today, I’m going to try to provide a few answers. I’m going to delve into the reasons for akrasia, particularly as it pertains to making bad eating choices. I won’t discuss psychological issues, per se, instead focusing on physiological explanations, but keep in mind that the two are often one and the same. You can’t really separate the mind from the body (well, without killing the person, that is).
Whether we pick up the phone to order takeout, open the candy wrapper, shove the spoon into the jar of Nutella, or accept the offered slice of cake, we are making a decision. Most health experts say making the healthy decision is a matter of willpower. So that if you make an unhealthy decision you simply don’t want it badly enough. Like Bob Newhart in that old Mad TV sketch, they seem to think all you have to do is just “STOP IT!”
Well, it’s not that easy. Otherwise, folks wouldn’t be making these decisions that go against their better judgment. Otherwise, they’d indeed be “stopping it.”
Many – perhaps most – poor dietary choices stem from an inability to resist cravings. And who can blame you, really? Whether they’re for chips, sweets, or something specific like wheat, cravings are difficult to ignore by design. Their very purpose is to get you to give in to them, to override your rational side and promote decisive, single-minded pursuit of whatever it is you crave. Something, then, is at the heart of these cravings. Something physiological. But what?
1. You’re missing something from your diet and your ancient genes are misinterpreting the modern cravings.
There’s often a disconnect between what our animal bodies need or desire and what our human minds know is best. When the animal body perceives a deficiency, some nutrient lacking in the diet, like salt, it often develops a craving for that nutrient. 20,000 years ago, if you were salt-deficient you would have gone looking for shellfish or rock salt, because those are the salt sources you knew. Your food memory bank was rather limited in scope. Today, that same salt deficiency might manifest as a craving for Pringles or Cheezits, because those foods are listed under “salt” in your food memory bank.
Let’s look at some research on the subject. In one study (PDF), human volunteers were put on a strict low-sodium diet and treated with diuretics for ten days, rendering “substantial sodium depletion.” The effects were pretty telling. Salt thresholds – the minimum detectable level of sodium chloride dissolved in water – lowered dramatically the subjects could detect lower levels of salt during sodium-depletion than they could during sodium-repletion. Furthermore, salt depletion made salty foods taste better than they had before the study, and salt-depleted subjects rated the saltiest foods as the most attractive and desirable.
It’s quite possible that your “Pringles cravings” are actually salt cravings, and that the former is simply what your animal body associates with “salty.”
2. You’re missing something from your diet and your modern self is misinterpreting the ancient cravings.
What about sweet cravings? Paul Jaminet thinks that sugar cravings might actually be fatty meat cravings. It sounds crazy on the face of it, but he makes some salient points. First, certain amino acids are actually slightly sweet. These sweeter amino acids are also hydrophobic, which means they are found inside cells with fats, and they repel water (fat doesn’t mix with water). Hydrophilic amino acids, which are water-soluble, do not associate with fat, and trigger the umami tastebuds, are not sweet. A leading theory of sweetness even suggests that in order for a compound to be sweet (to interact with sweetness receptors), it must be hydrophobic. Paul suggests that in a Paleolithic environment with ample prey, bland (rather than sweet) tubers and less abundant/seasonal fruits, cravings for sweets drove us to eat calorie-dense, nutrient-rich fatty meat.
It’s possible, yet again, that our animal bodies are confused by the modern (and totally understandable) conflation of sweet with sugar and misinterpret what is actually a need for fat. Perhaps those sweet cravings turn into sugar binges because sugar isn’t actually what your body wants.
3. You’re addicted to wheat.
Wheat contains opioid peptides that may be able to activate opioid receptors in our bodies. You know what else activates opioid receptors? Opium, morphine, and heroin. (I’ve never tried any of them, but I hear they can inspire some real devotion from their users. See: Trainspotters, Requiem for a Dream.) I know that may sound glib, and I’ll be the first to admit that research into this is still very preliminary. You won’t find any ironclad evidence on PubMed that wheat is addictive. But the thinking goes that rather than hitting you like a ton of bricks and rendering you speechless from the sublime triggering of your opioid receptors, wheat addiction manifests as a stubborn lingering thing.
Evidence does exist, however limited. One older paper (PDF) that identifies multiple opioid peptides in wheat gluten, suggests that they are capable of binding to brain opioid receptors via a “plausible biomechanical mechanism,” and deems them of “physiological significance.” Dr. Emily Deans, of Evolutionary Psychiatry, has actually used naltrexone – a drug that blocks opiate receptors – to curb wheat cravings in celiac patients who are trying to kick the “habit.”
Wheat plays a huge role in the diets of industrialized nations. If you’re reading this, you probably grew up eating it. You may still be eating it from time to time – and that may be at least partly responsible for your urge to eat that slice of bread.
4. You’re addicted to sugar.
Similarly to wheat, sugar has addictive properties. A review of the rat studies shows that rodents will become quite addicted to sugar rather quickly, at times even choosing it over pharmaceutical-grade cocaine. There’s evidence that the addictive properties affect humans, too. As with wheat, naltrexone has been shown to reduce the rewarding properties of sugar in people. When you block the opiate receptors in the brain, sugar simply isn’t as rewarding and you’re not driven to consume as much of it.
Sugar appears to be addictive in both rats and humans. You, being a human, could very well be drawn to make bad decisions about sweets because you are addicted to them.
5. You’re stressed out.
Everyone knows about “stress eating.” Chronic stress is repeatedly linked to obesity and overeating, and there’s strong evidence that it even elicits cravings for specific foods or nutrients. Like sugar. Remember our old friend cortisol? It’s one of the premier stress hormones, and in high cortisol responders – people that secrete lots of cortisol in response to stress – cravings for and intake of sweets increase dramatically. Stress also appears to increase the desire for “comfort foods,” those deadly high-sugar, high-fat concoctions, via an increase in ghrelin, a hunger hormone.
Stress can also lead to salt cravings, probably because the adrenal glands which produce stress hormones also produce hormones which monitor electrolyte balance. And indeed, stress can also increase salt requirements, which, as we know from earlier, can often manifest as “chips cravings” or “cracker cravings.”
6. You’re training too much without adequate fueling.
My general rule is that starchy vegetables like tubers and potatoes, as well as sweet fruits, are elective foods. You don’t need ’em, and most people, especially those who are trying to lose weight, will be better off limiting them. They can be tasty, though, and if your activity levels warrant a higher intake of carbs, you could eat them. I have no problem with that and I don’t see them as problematic in that situation. In fact, if you’re doing daily Crossfit WODs or pounding the pavement to the tune of 100+ miles each week, you had better eat some tubers and some fruit. If you don’t, if you go very low carb while trying to maintain that breakneck pace, you will suffer. You will probably also crave easily-digestible, refined, processed junk carbs. Think chips, bread, pizza, pasta, or – my own personal favorite/nemesis from my Chronic Cardio days – tubs of ice cream.
Your body needs to replenish the glycogen, and it needs carbohydrates to do it. Gluconeogenesis can only get you so far if you’re pushing your body to its limits. In the face of heavy, glycogen-depleting training, a lack of Primal starch sources will have you craving sweets and grains in no time.
7. You’re not getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep has long been associated with overeating and obesity. For one thing, poor or disrupted sleep schedules promote disrupted cortisol secretion, which – as I’ve shown above – can affect our food choices. Bad sleep also increases insulin resistance, which changes how we process macronutrients (especially carbohydrates) and renders us more prone to fat gain. And now, a recent study has shown that a single bout of acute sleep deprivation (just one night) causes people to find food more rewarding. Patients on no sleep derived more pleasure from food, desired more food, and reported more hunger than patients who had slept. And that was just a single night. Just imagine the effects of days, weeks, or even years of chronic poor sleep.
If you’re running on no sleep, you may very well be more susceptible to the wiles of junk food.
8. You fear being socially isolated due to your food choices.
Peer pressure doesn’t just occur in groups of teens smoking joints behind a 7/11. It can happen at birthday parties, at office events, or during the holidays. Wherever treats are being served, and the vast majority of those in attendance partakes, those who would otherwise refuse the offered treats often feel pressured to give in. You hem and haw, try to say “No, thanks,” but you start thinking you see shared glances between judgmental partiers, sense hurt feelings from amateur bakers, and you worry about looking like a “health nut” (as if that’s a terrible thing or something), so you take the slice of cake or square of brownie and partake. You know what happened last time you gave in. You remember quite vividly the downward spiral of junk indulgence that transpired then, and probably will again. But still you eat it.
One explanation may be that social rejection – even if it’s only imagined – can manifest as physical pain. To figure this out, researchers ran brain scans on study participants as they played a virtual ball-tossing game and then began excluding them from play (PDF). Ultimately, all participants were excluded from the game. During both explicit social exclusion (in which players were prevented from participating by other players) and implicit social exclusion (in which extenuating circumstances prevented participants from joining the game), the brain scans registered significant activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a region of the brain that acts as a “neural alarm system” or a “conflict monitor.” Whenever “something is wrong,” the ACC lights up. Physical pain famously triggers the ACC, but the ACC is not involved in the physical sensation of pain. It’s involved in mental distress.
Distress is a negative sensation. It is unpleasant by its very definition. If you’ve resisted the treats in the past and felt socially isolated or rejected because of it, you may be conditioned to take the treat next time in order to avoid the isolation and avoid the activation of your neural distress center.
Do any of these sound familiar? When it comes to making poor dietary decisions, keep in mind that we are complex animals and the causes of our actions are multifactorial. Some or all of these factors may play into your particular misstep. Maybe you gorged on cake at the party both because your ACC was buzzing in trepidation at the prospect of social isolation and because you’d been putting in way too many road miles, you were overtrained, your cortisol was spiked, your blood sugar was low, and you were craving sugar. It could be any number of things from this list (and even some that aren’t on it).
So, while the decision ultimately rests on your plate, you might find it helpful to understand that a whole host of factors is actively influencing you. These aren’t excuses, and they don’t remove responsibility, but they do show you what might be going on under the hood. Hopefully by understanding exactly why we often make bad decisions about food against our better judgment, we can tip the scales in our favor before the next one is made.
This is your body on fast food
A client recently asked me, “How often can I get away with eating junk food?” She knows that my nutrition philosophy is the “80:20 rule”: Eat healthy foods as often as possible (at least 80 percent of the time), but also enjoy the occasional less healthy food (less than 20 percent of the time), if that’s what you really want.
I’ve seen this approach work well with my clients who were previously chronic dieters yet hadn’t been able to lose weight. Once I give them permission to have “forbidden foods,” those foods lose their power and they’re able to make healthier choices the bulk of the time.
There is some evidence that “cheat meals” (although I hate that term) can help boost fat loss and mental health among dieters. Yet I wanted to give my client a more quantifiable answer. Could a few days of junk food or even a single fast food meal make a difference in your overall health?
Junk food and fast food defined
What is “junk food”? Essentially any food that is highly processed, high in calories and low in nutrients. Junk food is also usually high in added sugars, salt and saturated or trans fats. Some evidence points to junk foods as being as addictive as alcohol and drugs.
“Fast food” is food that is prepared quickly and is eaten quickly or taken out. Although there are a growing number of healthier fast food options, most fast food can still be classified as junk food.
Long-term effects of eating junk food
Eating a poor quality diet high in junk food is linked to a higher risk of obesity, depression, digestive issues, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and early death. And as you might expect, frequency matters when it comes to the impact of junk food on your health.
A review of studies on fast food and heart health found having fast food more than once a week was linked to a higher risk of obesity, while eating fast food more than twice a week was associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and death from coronary heart disease.
This is disturbing considering nearly half of American adults eat fast food at least once a week.
Short-term effects of junk food
It’s human nature to think about benefits and risks over the short term rather than considering the impact our choices have over the long term. So how does consumption of junk food affect your body over the short term?
A few days of junk food
Just a few days of junk food could change your metabolism. A small study of 12 healthy young men found eating junk food for just five days led to a reduced ability of their muscles to turn glucose into energy, even though they didn’t eat more calories as part of the study. Over the long term, this change could lead to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.
Another effect of just a couple of days of junk food is poor digestion. Because junk food lacks fiber, eating too much of it could lead to constipation.
One junk food meal
That single fast food meal can narrow your arteries, leading to an increase in blood pressure.
And the quick spike in your blood sugar from eating junk foods high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars can cause a surge in insulin, leading to a quick drop in blood sugar. That leaves you feeling tired, cranky and hungry for more.
Just one serving of junk food can increase inflammation throughout your body. Further, an Australian study suggests that in people with asthma, a fast food meal high in saturated fat can increase inflammation in the airway, potentially making an asthma attack more likely. . So it seems the quick hit of junk food, while fleetingly rewarding, does carry short-term risks.
The good news: Every healthy meal helps
The amount of inflammation and oxidative stress your body will experience after eating occasional junk food seems to be a function of the “big picture” of your choices over time.
If you want to enjoy junk food once in a while but are concerned about the impact on your health, take a look at your overall health habits. Do you smoke or overdo it on alcohol? Are you exercising regularly and eating plenty of nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish, nuts and seeds, and whole grains? When it comes to your health, it seems you can “get away with” the occasional junk food more easily when you follow a healthy lifestyle most of the time. So think about your ratio of healthy to less healthy foods. Are you achieving 80:20 or is there room for some improvement?
When you’re making the choice between a healthier option and junk food, consider that just one healthy meal a day worked into the typical American diet could reduce overall stress and inflammation in your body. Every meal is an opportunity to positively impact your health.
Based on the current research, my advice to my client essentially remains the same: Once you’re aware of all of the short-term and long-term impacts of junk food and you still really want some, have it less than once a week and really savor it. Then get right back to enjoying nourishing, nutritious foods.
Popular Fad Diets - Why They Can Make You Sick.
Fad diet have been popular for years, and every year thousands of people search the internet for the recipe for that famous cabbage soup - or they decide to go on the 3 day diet or the grapefruit diet, or the mayo clinic diet.
All fad diets claim that a certain extremely limited group of foods will help you lose weight really fast. For instance, the cabbage soup diet consists of mostly cabbage, potatoes and bananas. The three-day diet lets you eat grapefruit, a little bit of tuna, a tiny amount of meat or chicken, some veggies, and, strangely enough, a cup of ice cream. The so-called Israeli army diet only lets you eat one kind of food a day - apples one day, cheese the next, and so on.
You really do lose weight on these diets. You have to. These diets used to be called starvation diets for a reason.
But if you go on one of these diets, or any low-calorie diet, for that matter, you want to make sure you don't want to throw away your fat clothes, because within just a few weeks after going off the diet you'll weigh more than you did when you started.
Starvation will cause you to lose weight, there's no question about it. But scientists have known for over 91 years that one of the almost inevitable results of starvation is weight gain. Your body objects strongly to not being given enough food to keep its internal fires burning, and it can't survive for long without the nutrients it needs to keep all the various functions of it's cells working properly.
That's why you slow down when you're on a low-fat diet. You feel tired and irritable because your body is trying to conserve the little amount of food you're feeding it.
You also get cravings for food - almost any food will do, but the cravings are especially strong for the very foods that make us fat - the sugars and breads and pastas and other simple carbohydrates that make us store extra body fat. Since starvation is a threat to your survival, the cravings will continue to get stronger until they're absolutely uncontrollable.
Then you go off the diet, and gain back all the weight you lost. Most people go on to gain an additional 3 to 8 pounds.
And weight gain is obviously not what you had in mind when you started on the diet in the first place.
But the inevitable weight gain is just one of the reasons why fad diets are such a bad idea.
The other reasons are considerably more serious. On the rare occasions when a doctor prescribes a very low calorie diet, of 900 calories a day or less, they almost always require that their patients get constant medical supervision. That's because this qualified as a starvation diet, and they can be very risky.
Even 'normal' reduced calorie diets have health consequences. That scientific study I mentioned earlier put healthy college students on a reduced calorie diet to see how their minds and bodies would react.
The study volunteers actually ate more calories than the kind of diet that almost every doctor tells you to go on when he thinks you're overweight, and they certainly ate way more calories than you get on most fad diets, like the cabbage soup diet and the 3-day diet. The study had the students eat from 1400 to 2100 calories a day.
A later study done in 1945 for the US army found that the symptoms would get worse if you added exercise to the program.
When I found out about this study, it made me downright angry - why haven't we been told that scientists have known for over 91 years that low-calorie and low-fat diets actually cause the following health problems: Listen closely to this list, because this is what you may experience if you go on any of the currently popular weight loss diets:
* Weight gain.
* Food cravings.
* Feeling tired and listless.
* Constant hunger.
* Reduced interest in sex.
* Chronic fatigue.
* Hormone imbalance.2100
* Scaly skin or eczema.
* Premature wrinkling of the skin.
* Dandruff or dull, lifeless hair.
* Mood swings.
* Chronic yeast infections.
* Poor immune system - frequent colds or respiratory illnesses.
* Digestive problems.
Most people believe that the only way to lose weight is to cut back on the calories, even though scientists have known for almost a century that those serious psychological and physical problems could result.
Let's take a close look at some of the most serious symptoms on that list:
Depression, mood swings, and chronic fatigue. It is impossible to be motivated to stay on a diet, (or to do anything else, for that matter), when you suffer from chronic depression.
Heck, those healthy college-aged men who participated in the low-calorie diet studies even lost their interest in sex.
And many people take antidepressants, like Wellbutrin, for both depression and to lose weight.
Two important studies have found that the depression caused by a reduced calorie diet may actually get worse for a while after you start eating normally again. It takes time for the body to recover from semi-starvation eating plans.
Constant hunger and food cravings, especially for refined carbs: When you combine the lack of motivation that always accompanies depression and chronic fatigue, and match it up with constant hunger and food cravings, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to find out that most people who start a low-calorie diet will actually end up gaining weight.
The only safe way to lose weight is to eat a correctly balanced diet that gives your body all the nutrients it needs, every single day. Stop eating the kinds of foods that cause the excess storage of body fat, and eat lots of the foods that help you lose weight faster.
8 Things You Need To Know Before Eating Jolly Ranchers
When it comes to Jolly Ranchers, beware of candy glass. If you bite into them right away, the candies will shatter. On the flip side, suck on them too long and they'll develop sharp, tongue-poking edges. Eeeek!
Next time you want something sweet and fruity from the bar, order a Jolly Rancher shot, or make 'em at home as shots or a cocktail. Vodka, melon liqueur, and cranberry juice with ice should do the trick.
The Jolly Rancher company was founded in 1949 by Bill and Dorothy Harmsen of Golden, CO and was first sold in candy and ice cream stores in Denver. The name was meant to remind people of the hospitality of the west.
If you're trying to avoid binge eating the whole bag (why try? Follow your heart &hellip), know that the recommended serving size is 3 pieces at 70 calories (or 23 blissful calories each). Move over, Twizzlers! There's a new low-fat snack!
Reach your hand into a bag and you're likely to pull out a red one, but those 'red ones' could actually be Cherry, Watermelon, Fruit Punch, or Strawberry. The red flavors are so popular, you can even buy bags made exclusively of the red flavors.
We did some very scientific testing (read: jammed my hand into the bag a few times and surveyed what I got) and found that strawberry Jollies aren't always easy available. If you grab one at first touch, consider yourself lucky. On the flip side, the bags are usually full of the classic cherry flavor. It's not unusual to find twice as many cherries and strawberries in a picked-over bag. Again, hard evidence? Maybe not. But definitely proof of the peoples' preference &hellip
Answer: no. Green Apple Jolly Ranchers are a fave of green apple flavor fans, and are widely considered to be some of the best GA candy around.
Feel like making some homemade Jolly Rancher-inspired treats at home? The hard candies will melt in an oven set at 350º after about 5 minutes.