Aside from adding inches to your waist, many of us don’t quite realize the effects that fast food can have on us.
As well as making you feel sluggish, bloated and eventually, overweight, fast food can actually have a huge impact on your mood and mind.
It’s time to put down that pizza!
We take a closer look…
You can become more impatient
According to Canadian researchers, simply thinking about fast food can make you feel impatient. The process of buying and eating fast food has led us down a path of doing everything at high speed.
You may be tempted to spend more $$
Since we associate fast food with speed and instant gratification, this has a knock-on effect even long after we’ve left the restaurant.
Much like the point above, we want our food quick and satisfactory, which means we can be tempted into splurging money just as quickly on impulse.
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According to research, even seeing fast food logos or recalling a recent visit to a fast-food chain can shift us into a mental state of impatience.
You may be more susceptible to depression
According to a Spanish study, those who eat a lot of fast food are 51% more likely to be depressed. Why? Well, according to research so far, the higher intake of fast food may cause poor health overall, leading to depression.
Alongside this, depression may also increase our intake of fast, processed foods… “Comfort food”, right?
You eat too much and too fast
It’s not necessarily fast food that makes you eat quicker, but the atmosphere in general. Fast food restaurants are designed with speed in mind – and research has shown that the faster you eat, the more calories you consume.
Bright colors such as yellow and red also stimulate the mind. Loud lighting and loud music can also make you race to eat your food.
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In fact, when Cornell researchers renovated Hardee’s restaurant eating experience with elements such as soft lighting and jazz ballads, people ate almost 200 calories less and said they enjoyed the food more than those who ate in their usual setting.
Your brain gets hooked on sugar
People think that fast food is high in calories and fat, but most of us also don’t realize how high sugar content can be. In fact, it is often foods that look “healthy” that contain the most sugar. For example, a Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad contains 40 grams of sugar; a McDonald’s Fruit & Yogurt Parfait has 22 grams. (Public health organizations recommend consuming no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day.)
New research shows that high sugar intake can lead to many health problems, from heart disease to diabetes to obesity. Brain scans also show how addictive sugar can be: the more you eat, the more you crave it.
You can feel anxious
In addition to depression, excessive fast food consumption is associated with symptoms of anxiety. Pure carbohydrates in many fast food items can cause blood sugar fluctuations. Extremely low blood sugar can cause panic attacks, insomnia and other symptoms of anxiety. In addition, a lack of omega-3 fatty acids in fried foods can cause your brain to mimic the symptoms of anxiety.
You can feel hyperactive
Eat a large amount of fast food and junk food of any sort can make you feel jittery. This is because of the artificial colors and preservatives, particularly sodium benzoate. This jittery feeling is what we more commonly know as a ‘sugar rush’. However, ironically it is less associated with the sugar and more to do with the sodium benzoate. This can be found in products such as fruit juice, diet soda and condiments.
Risk of dementia can increase
Consuming high amounts of fatty fast foods means you could increase the amount of insulin your pancreas produces. Whilst you’ll likely already understand that this is linked to us increasing our risk of getting type 2 diabetes, you may not know that this may also be linked to dementia.
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If your brain develops a resistance to insulin, its ability to create and store memories could be compromised, increasing the risk of dementia. There are researchers out there who state that Alzheimer’s is ‘diabetes of the brain’.
Your mood can fluctuate from bad to worse
Whilst it may be so easy to grab some greasy, fatty food when you’re not feeling your best, research has shown that this can actually be counter-productive. Researchers from Penn State looked into how eating habits can affect mood. Even though there was no reported difference in those in a positive mood, those who felt down stated they actually felt worse after eating an unhealthy meal. Sadly this might indicate that ‘comfort food’ may not be as comforting after all.
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