Well, today I will be talking about junk food or unhealthy food. Who doesn’t relish junk food these days? But wait a minute, are you aware of what junk food does to your body? Yes, mostly everyone is aware of dark sides of junk food but still people can’t stop consuming them as they are addictive. Today, I will be guiding you about adverse effects of junk food.

Let me define Junk Food first!

Junk food is any food which is highly processed, high in calories and low on nutrients. Moreover, junk food is high in refined flour, saturated or trans fats, sugar and salt. Junk/ Fast food also contain MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) which is a flavour enhancing food additive which makes one addicted to that food item. Samosa,pakora, kachori, pizza, burger etc all fall under junk food category.

The more junk food you consume, the less likely you are to consume the essential nutrients that your body relies on. You know that junk food can hurt your health, but you may have not known about the effects of junk food on how your brain functions.

Side effects of Junk Food

1- Poor Concentration :-

When people consume oily and fried food they tend to feel drowsy and unable to concentrate. Junk food consumption over a long period of time increases fat content in the body, leading to lack of oxygen, nutrients and protein particularly can stale your brain cells temporarily.

2- Energy Deficient :-

Since junk food doesn’t contain any nutrient they don’t provide energy to the body and this is a short term side effect of junk food.

3- Leads to heart diseases :-

Junk  food  diet  is  a  major  cause  of  heart  diseases (Myocardial infarction) due to plaque formation in arteries which demands  heart to put  in extra effort to pump blood, this causes two damages to heart – heart fatigues due to continuous extra effort and it suffer in oxygen supply.

4- Leads to Diabetes :-

Since junk food is a rich source of sugar, salt, refined flour and trans fats, it leads to World’s leading disease Diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic  metabolic  disorder  characterized  by hyperglycemia,  glycosuria,  hyperlipemia,  negative nitrogen  balance  and  sometimes  ketonemia.  Diabetes mellitus  is  of  two  types,  Type  I (insulin  dependent)  and Type II (insulin independent). Over 90% cases are Type II diabetes due to junk food consumption.

5- Leads to Hypertension:-

Since junk food is rich in salt and saturated fats, it’s regular consumption leads to high blood pressure also known as hypertension. Uncontrolled hypertension leads to kidney failure, heart diseases .

6- Leads to obesity :-

Obesity is a global issue, it is reaching epidemic proportions in developed nations and is now considered as a chronic disease. If frequent consumption of junk food will be there, a person will become obese and other medical conditions will be gifted by obesity.

7- Hypoxia :-

Hypoxia occurs due to excess accumulation of fat in the arteries, which leads to low oxygen supply in the body.

8- Low Nutrition Value :-

The nutritional value of  junk food is about one on a scale of 1 to 10, which is the least. The nutritional value is lost in  the  process  of  making  the  junk  food  so  synthetic vitamins and minerals are added to compensate it, but they are not  good compared  to natural vitamins  and minerals.

9- Addictive :-

Junk food are highly addictive as they contain high content of saturated fat, sugar and salt as they stimulate the same receptors in the brain that makes you feel good due to increased level of dopamine in the brain. A combination of fat, sugar and salt enhances the flavor of food which makes it addictive.

10- Low satiety value :-

Junk food have low satiety value as they lack macronutrients which leads to satiety. Studies show that satiety, the mechanism that stops us from eating more than what we need, has less to do with caloric intake than it does with the intake of certain macronutrients ― types of protein, carbohydrates and fat . And even though it may feel like a large volume of food, it moves through us quickly ,meaning the feeling of fullness fades soon after we eat.  

Now I would like to tell you why junk foods are so popular…

Junk food advertising :-

Marketing of junk food is done in such a way that people get attracted towards them for e.g.-  celebrities are being casted in advertisements to sell their products, they provide unavoidable offers, they give huge quantity at low price and children are their soft targets so they advertise in such manner that kids get attracted to them.

Time factor :-

People don’t have time to cook food because of long working hours so they prefer easy to cook food or they focus on take away. Even home delivery is easily available therefore people order food from outside to save their time and efforts.

Taste Factor :-

If  time  constraint  is  one  reason  that  pushes  people to consume junk food, great taste also, to an extent  influences them to opt for junk  food. Great taste develops with excess use of fat, sugar and salt which is harmful for health.

Since now, you must be aware of the adverse effects of junk foods, try to avoid them as much as possible. Parents are role models for children so whatever you will eat they will eat and these habits are developed since childhood, try to nurture them with good nutrition rather than with poor nutrition.



Dt Garima Kapoor
Dt. Garima Kapoor, Dietitian