By: Amani Moore
Junk food. It’s cheap, fast, and delicious, but how does it affect our body?
When running up the steps, do you ever feel winded and don’t know why? Junk food may be the reason behind that exhaustion. This happens because junk food lacks all of the nutrients such as protein and carbohydrates that keep you energized and healthy. If eaten on a regular basis, junk food can lower energy levels to a point where it can be difficult to do simple, everyday tasks. Junk food may make you happy, but when looking at all the facts, is it really worth it?
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Consuming junk food can also lead to depression in teenagers. Teens go through a lot of hormonal changes, causing moods to fluctuate and different emotions to flood in. A healthy diet plays a key role in how to maintain hormonal balance. With a horrible diet (like junk food) one may tend to feel sluggish, heavy, and overall unsatisfied. According to msn.com, the likelihood of teenagers getting depression has increased by 58 percent when their diets consist mostly of junk food, as feelings of sluggishness and lack of energy contribute to depression, sadness, and low self-esteem.
Junk food is almost an addiction. We crave it, as it causes a high of energy and happiness for a little while until its effects wear off, and all that is left is feelings of exhaustion and lack of energy. Once it’s gone we keep buying more and more! Those who are addicted to fatty junk foods are bound to have a higher risk of digestive problems like Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), as the foods are deep fried. The oil from the junk food enters the stomach and causes acid to form. This causes irritation of the stomach lining because it lacks fibre and if you like hot junk food, because its too spicy. “I pick up my little brother (11) from Elementary School often, and whenever we drive by a taco bell or Mcdonalds he always begs to go. If I don’t take him he throws a fit, yelling, kicking, screaming all of that,” says Derrick Ringer, a Hammond High graduate.
Metabolism gets put under stress due to junk food consumption as well. This is because these foods are high in refined sugar. Refined sugars in junk food can cause the pancreas to secrete more insulin in order to prevent a rapid spike in blood sugar. But, since junk food lacks sufficient levels of nutrients needed to keep blood sugar at a healthy level, it drops and increases the craving for more junk food.
Among many of the health defects junk food can cause, there is also an increased risk of heart disease. Junk food can increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels and the fats accumulate over a period of time. Over that time, weight can pile on and lead to obesity. The more weight you put on, the higher the risk of suffering a heart attack. They call it “Junk food” for a reason. It’s really like junk. Like at a landfill, trash accumulates and grows bigger in time, just as junk food does. It builds up inside the body and causes unhealthiness and weight gain over time.
Junk food can also cause kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver damage. Eating french fries and chips is satisfying once in a while, but they contain high amounts of processed salt. High amounts of bad fats and sodium from salt increases blood pressure and affects the kidney function. High levels of trans fat found in junk food can cause deposition of fats in the liver, which can cause liver dysfunction.
Eating junk food in moderation is okay, but make sure not to eat it constantly. A good schedule to go by is eat junk food once every 2 weeks. This way, health is not in jeopardy, but cravings are still being occasionally satisfied. One step at a time we can get our community to be healthier both physically and emotionally.