Should you completely avoid junk food?

Weight Loss
Coach Shivani
January 12,2023

While junk food might be a joy for the taste buds, it is well-recognized that it has negative health implications. Regular consumption of these may negatively impact your health and possibly permanently harm your body.

According to scientific studies, eating highly processed food increases your risk of developing a number of lifestyle diseases including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Even while such foods are notorious for having a significant negative impact on health, aiming to totally avoid junk food is not a realistic strategy. The negative effects of junk food are based on how much and how often you consume them. Knowing this is helpful as it means that limiting your consumption of junk food can be a more realistic & practical strategy for most people rather than aiming to avoid junk food completely. 

This means that it’s ok to indulge once in a while.

 

junk food

 

In this article, let’s look closely at whether you should avoid junk food altogether and some tips on how to allow yourself junk food as part of an overall healthy diet.

What is junk food?

Junk food is any food with little to no nutritional value and is rich in fat and trans fats.

 

Think of junk food as ‘empty calories’. It has calories but is empty in terms of nutrition.

 

Most fast meals, such as sweets, soda, bakery items, burgers, and salted and fatty foods, fall under the category of junk food.

They typically have very little by way of vitamins, minerals and other nutritional components. In fact, this is why you will find that a lot of foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals – it is usually because the food itself is lacking in them. At the same time, these foods are high in calories, sugar, salt and fat.

The body will receive less of the vital nutrients and vitamins it needs if we eat more of these meals at the expense of more nutritious alternatives. In addition, we will be putting artificial ingredients and preservatives into our bodies which can have adverse consequences in the long run.

Also Read: Junk Food Vs Fast Food

Why should we avoid junk food?

Your physical and emotional health and wellness are impacted by what you eat and drink.

 

The saying ‘You are what you eat’ is a scientific fact.

 

You can lower your chance of developing chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep. Of these factors, a healthy diet plays the most important part and that is why junk food needs to be watched.

Junk food has become the leading cause of weight gain and obesity because of its high calorie content and addictive nature. Additionally, such foods deprives you of vital vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.

 

Junk food consumption significantly affects how you feel and how much energy you have.

 

For example, those who consume such foods frequently may experience fatigue more often than others.

The amount of harmful cholesterol in your blood rises from eating junk food. This seriously endangers your heart. Not only is junk food bad for our bodies, but it also demotivates and dulls us. Numerous nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals included in whole foods all play a role in maintaining good physical and mental health.

avoid junk food

When people feel hungry, they choose junk food many times because it is tasty and gives instant satisfaction. However, it leaves them feeling hungry again soon after because it is nutritionally deficient and does not contain any vital proteins or vitamins. This is why your body will crave more food until it gets enough of these important nutrients.

Harmful effects of junk foods

Here is a quick summary of the potential harmful effects of junk food.

Obesity

Junk food isn’t very filling because it has a low nutrition value. At the same time, it is artificially flavored to make it addictive. As a result, you end up eating a large amount of such foods. This is one of the biggest reasons for excess calorie consumption from junk foods like soda, energy drinks, chips, biscuits and similar packaged snacks. These foods can contain hundreds of calories but will not satisfy your hunger.

Worsens appetite and digestion

Excessive consumption of high-carb and high-sugar foods can change blood glucose levels and make the brain crave more food. Eating a lot of such foods with refined grains, salts, sugars and fats can take a toll on your digestive system and disturb your natural appetite and feelings of hunger.

 

You forget what real hunger feels like because you eat junk foods whenever you ‘feel’ like eating.

Inadequate growth and development

An excess of fatty acids, a lack of nutrients, and unhealthy eating habits can prevent your brain and other body body systems from developing properly. This is particularly important for children and adolescents who need important nutrients as their body develops..

Depression

Junk food has a lot of sugar and fat, which can change how the brain functions by triggering specific chemical responses. The body may lose essential minerals and amino acids when junk foods are consumed in excess. This can affect your ability to cope with stress, which may result in anxiety and depression.

Loss of memory and learning problems

According to studies, people who consume processed foods often do badly on cognitive measures. It concluded that eating junk food can weaken your brain and cause memory loss. These meals may cause a fast onset of irritation in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in memory and recollection.

Can I include a small amount of junk food in a healthy diet?

When it relates to junk food, we would recommend that you consume it in small amounts and occasionally as a treat. Consuming your favorite delicacies in balance can help you maintain your healthy diet (especially over the long term), take pleasure in holidays, festivals and other special occasions, and steer clear of unhealthy food obsessions.

 

Giving up junk food entirely is usually not sustainable or fun. Most importantly, completely giving it up is not necessary.

 

Also Read: Junk Food Effects on Body

Tips to control eating junk food

If you are wondering how to control eating junk food, here are some tips that can help you deal with it better:

  • Plan your meals: Making a plan for the following week’s meals might help you keep your cravings under control. This way you will not have to decide what to eat at the last minute and thus avoid junk food.
  • Increase your water intake: Increasing your water intake can reduce your cravings and help you to avoid junk food. Whenever you feel like a snack, have 1-2 glasses of water first. In many cases, this will make the craving go away.
  • Eat healthy meals: Starving yourself never works and merely makes your urges worse. You can instead eat healthy meals that are heavy in proteins, like paneer, soya bean, greek yogurt, eggs, seafood & meat. Protein-rich meals keep you fuller for longer and reduce cravings.
  • Get sufficient sleep: Lack of sleep can sometimes cause powerful cravings. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to experience hunger and give in to desires. Sleep has a strong connection with cravings and weight gain, so aim to get 7 hrs sleep on a regular basis. More is ok.

Also Read: How To Stop Eating Junk Food

Healthier choices for snacking

Homemade burgers: Make up a hamburger with lean ground beef and whole wheat bread. A vegetarian option is a bean burger that uses black beans or rajma. Use tahini, tomato ketchup, or mustard as substitutes for mayonnaise.

Follow these simple steps to make your burger healthy. 

 

Pizza with salad: The size of a pizza is always on the large side. Take a slice, followed by a salad served on the side. This way you can enjoy your pizza without overdoing it.

Bake your french fries: Bake your french fries instead of frying them. Also, don’t go overboard with the salt. This will reduce the fat and added ingredients.

A scoop of ice cream: Moderation is key when it comes to desserts like ice cream. Consider getting one scoop of ice cream rather than an ice cream sundae of a larger serving of 2-3 scoops. In this manner, you can still indulge without overdoing it.

Also Read: Healthy Snacks For Weight Loss

Bottom line

Junk food is a significant contributor to obesity and a catalyst for the emergence of several chronic diseases. Such foods are addictive and simple to overeat because of the addictive combination of fat, salt and sugar they contain.

Starting a no-junk-food diet may not be helpful or realistic. For most people, occasionally indulging in your favorite indulgence is a healthier and more long-lasting strategy. Use the tips and healthy options in this article to minimize these foods in your life while still enjoying them occasionally. This will help you with weight loss, weight maintenance and better overall health and wellbeing.

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