It’s cheap, tasty, and, best of all, convenient. Fast food menus are tricky when you’re watching your weight or your health. You just need to know where to look and how to order.
Healthier foods are more expensive
It may seem that healthier foods are more expensive than their unhealthier alternatives. However, if you try replacing ingredients with healthier alternatives, you’ll probably find your meals will work out costing less.
For example, choosing cheaper cuts of meat and mixing it with cheaper alternatives such as beans, pulses and frozen veg will make it go further in casseroles or stir-fries.Learn more about eating well for less.
These highly processed snacks contain an abundance of calories — especially in the form of fat and sugar — and little to no vitamins, minerals, or fiber (1 Trusted Source).
While these items typically come to mind when you think of junk food, others are not so easily identifiable.
Why We Crave Junk Food
Steven Witherly is a food scientist who has spent the last 20 years studying what makes certain foods more addictive (and tasty) than others. According to Witherly, when you eat tasty food, there are two factors that make the experience pleasurable.
First, there is the sensation of eating the food. This includes what it tastes like, what it smells like, and how it feels in your mouth. These factors all combine to create the sensation that your brain associates with a particular food or drink.
The second factor is the actual macronutrient makeup of the food — the blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that it contains.
Eat Without Electronic Distractions
Paying attention to what you eat may help you consume fewer calories.People who eat while they’re watching TV or playing computer games may lose track of how much they have eaten. This, in turn, can cause overeating.
One review of 24 studies found that people who were distracted at a meal ate about 10% more in that sitting.People who were distracted at a meal ate 25% more calories at later meals than those who were present.
If you regularly consume meals while watching TV or using electronic devices, you could be inadvertently eating more. These extra calories add up and have a massive impact on your weight in the long term.
Junk foods may contribute to diabetes in the following ways:
- Inappropriate portion size: Junk foods are usually not very filling and frequently come in large portion sizes.This can have a negative impact on diabetes, including blood sugar spikes and weight gain.
- Weight gain: Due to its poor nutritional qualities and ability to encourage overeating, people who eat junk food may gain weight. Excess weight and body fat are major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90–95 percent of all cases of diabetes.
- High blood pressure. Junk food is usually very high in sodium, which contributes to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Triglyceride levels. Junk foods are high in trans and saturated fats, which can raise levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that is present in the blood.
According to a 2016 study published in Experimental Physiology, regularly eating junk foods can cause as much damage to the kidneys of people without diabetes as it does to those with the disease itself.