Increased consumption of fast food, particularly in children and young adults, has become a public health challenge with a global incidence of about 70 percent. Ready-to-eat, processed and preserved fast foods are rapidly replacing traditional foods, affecting the health status of people.
Junk foods, used interchangeably as fast foods, refer to foods that are readily available but lack nutrients and foods that are usually cheap. Fast foods are high in calories, salt, and saturated fat, and they are linked to many serious health issues, including diabetes, obesity, strokes, heart attacks, dementia, and even cancer. The lack of iron, calcium and dietary fiber in these foods exacerbates their harmful effects. Common examples of fast food may include soft drinks, chips, sweets, chocolate, packaged foods, and other processed and packaged foods.
What makes junk foods dangerous?
When you consume junk foods, the high GI of refined flour/refined flour and the added sweetening agents and emulsifiers (particularly palm oil) present in these foods flood your bloodstream with glucose without any nutrients, fiber, or phytochemicals.
Moreover, large amounts of acrylamide and advanced glycation end products present in baked foods can cause an increase in tissue glycoproteins.
The harmful effects of fast food are attributed to the common ingredients used in the preparation of processed foods as well as fast foods and how they affect the gut microbiota.
Microbiota refers to the community of trillions of microorganisms (mostly bacteria), viruses, fungi and protozoa (in small proportions) that inhabit the human digestive system in a specific proportion or proportion. The balance of the intestinal flora, or flora, is important because it helps maintain a healthy digestive system and regulate the immune system. Also, any disruption of the gut microbiota may lead to multiple health problems such as luminal disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease, Allergic diseases, metabolic diseases (eg obesity and diabetes) and neurodevelopmental diseases.
Now, let’s discuss how common ingredients found in fast foods can individually contribute to disrupting gut health.
Studies show that replacing refined grain flour with whole grain flour has positive effects on gut bacteria and an acute innate immune response, among other benefits. This is due to the fact that during processing, refined wheat flour loses all fiber, vitamins and minerals, which is associated with an increased prevalence of constipation, nutritional disorders and digestive disorders.
Also, a high glycemic index, high refined carbohydrate content, and low cereal fiber found in refined flour or maida are closely related to the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Introduced in 1970, HFCS is the worst American gift to the world. An alternative to the commonly used sucrose in packages and Processed foods Soft drinks, fruit drinks, canned fruits, baked goods, jams, jellies, and even in dairy products, HFCS has found favor among manufacturers due to its high sweetness and low price.
But unfortunately, HFCS is an unhealthy alternative that has been linked to cardiovascular disease and problems with gut health. Speaking of gut health, excessive fructose intake (particularly in refined sugar and fruit juice) alters the composition of the gut microbiota and impairs the function of the intestinal barriers through a series of inflammatory reactions. Inflammatory reactions resulting from ingestion of high doses of fructose also have a significant effect on the formation and homeostasis of the intestinal flora. Of concern is the view that disruption of the intestinal barrier caused by dysbiosis or altered microbiota is associated with an increased risk of diseases related to gut health and autoimmunity.
High salt Diet such as fast food may result in decreased secretion of digestive enzymes from the host. It may not only alter cell components, biological processes, and molecular function in duodenal contents, but may also alter the composition of the gut microbiota. This in turn may lead to higher abundances of Ruminococcus and Lachnospiraceae, but lower abundances of Lactobacillus.
Low abundance of Lactobacillus spp. Because HSD intake is important as it is associated with various inflammatory diseases due to poor intestinal permeability and immune balance.
Palm oil is the preferred choice of almost all processed food manufacturers because it is saturated, and foods processed with saturated fat have a longer shelf life. Palm oil is very popular among processed food manufacturers because it is a saturated fat, and the reason foods processed using saturated fats have a longer shelf life.
However, it also has a dark side in terms of health risks. The researchers found that a high proportion of saturated fatty acids The content in palm oil makes it an unhealthy choice as excessive intake of these fats is known to have a detrimental effect on the intestinal flora.
It is an important finding because the gut microbiome is also involved in modulating the risk of many chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
With no nutrition and multiple health risks to offer, Fast food Ask for a complete refusal, especially for children of growing age. Taste is a trap when it comes to junk foods. The increased intake of fast foods reflects the increasing prevalence of various metabolic disorders. Remember that there is no substitute for fresh, home-cooked food. Therefore, try to avoid junk foods as much as possible as some results are irreversible.
Manjari Chandra is Consultant, Functional Nutrition and Dietetics, Manjari Wellness, New York Delhi. Her column appears every two weeks