The Body's Reaction to Fast Food

The popularity of fast food

More often than some would want to admit, people frequently stop at their preferred fast food joint or drive-through.

The Food Institute’s examination of Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that millennials alone spend 45% of their food budget on eating out.

The average American household now spends half of their food expenditure on food from restaurants, compared to 40 years ago. Less than 38% of household food expenses in 1977 were allocated for eating out.

Even if a fast food dinner once in a while won’t harm you, dining out frequently may be detrimental to your health. Continue reading to find out how fast food affects your health.

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Impact on the cardiovascular and digestive systems

Impact on the cardiovascular and digestive systems

The majority of fast food—including beverages and sides—is high in carbs and contains little to no fiber.

The carbohydrates in these foods are released into your bloodstream as glucose (sugar) via your digestive system. Your blood sugar rises as a result.

Your pancreas releases insulin in response to the spike in glucose. Insulin moves sugar to the cells in your body that require it for energy. Your blood sugar levels return to normal when your body consumes or stores the sugar.

Your body tightly controls this blood sugar process, and as long as you’re in good health, your organs can effectively handle these sugar increases.

However, consuming a lot of carbs frequently can cause your blood sugar to increase repeatedly.

These insulin spikes may eventually weaken your body’s typical insulin response. You run a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and weight gain as a result.

Fat and sugar

Fat and sugar

Sugar is frequently added to fast food dishes. That entails excessive calories as well as inadequate nourishment. The American Heart Association (AHA) advises consuming no more than 100 to 150 calories per day from added sugar. That equates to roughly six to nine teaspoons.

The volume of many fast-food beverages is substantially above 12 ounces. Eight teaspoons of sugar are found in a 12-ounce can of soda. 140 calories, 39 grams of sugar, and nothing else are contained in that.

Trans fat is a synthetic fat made when food is processed. It frequently appears in:

  • fried pastries
  • pies
  • pizza crust
  • cookies
  • crackers

Trans fats are never good or healthful in any proportion. It can increase your LDL (bad cholesterol), reduce your HDL (good cholesterol), and raise your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease if you consume meals that contain it.

Restaurants might make the problem with calorie counting worse. In one study, respondents who ate at establishments they considered to be “healthy” nonetheless significantly underestimated the number of calories in their meal.


Some people may find that fast food is more appetizing since it contains fat, sugar, and a lot of sodium (salt). However, water retention can result from diets heavy in salt, which is why eating fast food may make you feel bloated, puffy, or swollen.

Additionally harmful to those with blood pressure issues is a diet heavy in sodium. Sodium can cause your blood pressure to rise and your heart and circulatory system to work harder.

One study found that 90% of adults misestimate the salt content of their fast food meals.

According to the study’s survey of 993 adults, their estimates were six times lower than the actual amount (1,292 milligrams). The predictions for sodium were therefore wrong by more than 1,000 mg.

Remember that the AHA advises individuals to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day. Half of your day’s worth could be found in one fast-food lunch.

The respiratory system is impacted

Weight gain may result from eating too many calories from fast food. Obesity may result from this.

Your risk of respiratory issues, such as asthma and shortness of breath, is increased by obesity.

The increased weight can put a strain on your heart and lungs, and symptoms could appear even with minimal effort. Walking, climbing stairs, or exercising may cause breathing problems for you.

The likelihood of respiratory issues in children is very obvious. According to one study, children who consume fast food at least three times each week had a higher risk of developing asthma.

Central nervous system impact

Central nervous system impact

Although fast eating can temporarily quell hunger, the long-term effects are less favorable.

People who consume processed foods and fast food are 51% more likely to experience depression than those who avoid or consume them sparingly.

The reproductive system is affected

The elements in fast food and junk food may affect your fertility.

According to one study, processed food includes phthalates. Phthalates are substances that can interfere with the actions of hormones in your body. High levels of exposure to these substances may cause problems during reproduction, including birth abnormalities.

The integumentary system is affected (skin, hair, nails)

The integumentary system is affected (skin, hair, nails)

Your diet may affect how your skin looks, but it might not be from the foods you think.

The Mayo Clinic claims that carbohydrates are to blame for acne outbreaks rather than chocolate or greasy foods like pizza. Foods high in carbohydrates cause blood sugar spikes, and these abrupt increases in blood sugar can cause acne. Learn which foods can help you fight acne.

According to one study, children and teenagers who consume fast food at least three times each week have a higher risk of developing eczema. Eczema is a skin ailment that results in itchy, inflammatory patches of skin that are irritated.

The skeletal system is affected (bones)

Fast food and processed food’s carbs and sugar might make your mouth’s acids more acidic. These substances can erode tooth enamel. As dental enamel wears away, germs may establish a foothold, leading to cavities.

Obesity can also result in issues with muscle mass and bone density. Obese individuals are more likely to trip and break bones. Maintaining a nutritious diet and engaging in regular exercise are crucial for preventing bone loss and strengthening the muscles that support your bones.

The social effects of fast food

Today, it is estimated that more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Overweight or obese status is also applied to more than one-third of kids between the ages of 6 and 19.

Fast food consumption in America appears to be rising at the same time that obesity rates are rising. According to the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), there are now twice as many fast food outlets in America as there were in 1970. Additionally, the percentage of obese Americans has more than doubled.

One study discovered that the calorie, fat, and sodium content of fast-food meals essentially hasn’t altered over the years, despite efforts to increase knowledge and make Americans better shoppers.

The increased frequency with which Americans dine out could be harmful to both the person and the nation’s healthcare system.

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