The fast food industry was one of the hot topics on the first day of the Healthy Gut Expert Summit. Mc Death, Murder King, Pizza Slut, Taco Hell, and Drunkin Donuts are just a few of the fast food establishments that are serving up death and disease Hot-N-Ready in a drive thru window near you. Now there is nothing wrong with grabbing a salad from one of these spots, but it’s mind boggling what these pieces of human excrement are allowed to feed you, and most importantly your children.
This is a diagram that illustrates 13 of the illnesses associated with the over consumption of fast food and cancer should also be listed. Each of these health ailments are the precursor for short and long term damage to our body.
Short Term Health Damage
Before we get into those long term health situations of eating fast food, I feel that it’s very important to set the stage with the short term damage. Dietitian Christy Brissette discussed some of the short term ills caused by fast food. She also discussed the fact that it does not take long for the symptoms to begin to manifest themselves. She wrote that it only takes ONE fast food meal to do the following:
- Narrow the arteries and cause increase of blood pressure
- A blood sugar spike from the carbohydrates and added sugars. This will lead to an insulin surge that will rapidly drop the blood sugar levels. This leaves one feeling tired, cranky, and hungry for more.
- Increase of inflammation throughout the body. Most Chron’s sufferers know at this point they should drop fast food. Also, an Australian study suggests that in people with asthma, a fast food meal that’s high in saturated fat can instantly increase inflammation in the airway, making the potential of an asthma attack all the more likely.
- A study of 12 healthy young men that ate fast food for five days had a reduced ability of their muscles turning glucose into energy even though they didn’t eat more calories as part of the study.
- Constipation due to a lack of fiber in the food
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Poor sleep
Long Term Health Damage
These short term term health effects eventually lead to long term damage. The high blood pressure developed in the short term has these potential long term effects:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Weakend and narrowed blood vessels in the kidneys
- Thickened, narrowed, or torn blood vessels in the eyes
- Trouble with memory or understanding
- Metabolic Syndrome
The long term effects of cholesterol are
- Stomach pain from fatty deposits
- Heart attack
- Atherosclerosis- A disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries.
Long term issues with blood sugar levels are also associated with the constant consumption of fast food. The obesity and constant blood sugar spikes is a gateway to type 2 diabetes.
With the global spread of fast food chains, obesity has become a public health issue worldwide. As of July 1st, 2017, America ranked #1 as the world’s most obese nation beating China by almost 13 million people. There are several health issues that have the potential of being increased by obesity such as:
- High blood pressure
- Some cancers
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Gallbladder disease and gallstones
- Breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma
Fast food can also impact your mental health. According to the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, young adults 30 and under have an increased risk of suffering from mental distress with fast food consumption. The chronic inflammatory response that we discussed earlier is linked to depression and anxiety.
Now of course I couldn’t leave out our good friend cancer. We all know that cancer is linked to constant fast food consumption. However, I was surprised at a study in the UK that suggest people whom consume burgers, pizza, or chicken nuggets weekly have a 10% increased risk of developing cancer regardless of if you’re overweight or not. In fact, other studies suggest that healthy women have a 27% increased chance of developing breast cancer with the constant consumption of fast food. Men ages 35-74 have a 37% increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
Another issue with fast food is their use of vegetable oil. Scientist found that heating up vegetable oil releases toxic chemicals called aldehydes which have been linked to cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Martin Grootveld, a professor of bioanalytical chemistry and chemical pathology, said that his research showed “a typical meal of fish and chips”, fried in vegetable oil, contained as much as 100 to 200 times more toxic aldehydes than the safe daily limit set by the World Health Organization.
Also, the constant use and re-use of these oils throughout the day, and the elevated temperatures increase the free radicals carcinogens in the oil. This further elevates the exposure to cancer causing chemicals.
We literally could spend all day discussing the dangers of fast food consumption. A dietitian said that she gives clients the 80:20 rule. If they are eating an 80% healthy diet then they are allowed to eat 20% unhealthy. I understand and get that you might want a cheat day and grab a double burger. I used to eat double burgers with fries. Here’s the deal with the 80:20 rule, it only applies if you’re eating healthy 80% of the time. It doesn’t mean that you can cook fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and broccoli loaded with cheese on Monday, and then grab a double burger on Friday as a cheat meal because Monday wasn’t technically “fast food”. I have several post coming up on fast food because I think it’s needed. Next I will go into these wicked food scientists that make your junk food so addictive.