“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,”
said politician Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the famous French lawyer, better known as an epicure and gastronome.
Expanding waistlines are a growing public health concern. Globally, the obesity rate has tripled since 1975. According to the World Health Organization, over 1.9 billion adults are overweight, of which 650 million are obese.
The younger generation is mainly affected by high-calorie and low-nutrition foods. High sugar, fat, and salt levels put children at increased risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, not to mention tooth extraction. Perhaps more troubling, the habits formed in childhood seem to stick to life. This is a tragedy because these problems are avoidable.
Why need to eat Healthy food?
Food can act both positively and negatively on our health. This is now scientifically indisputable. Otto Heinrich Warburg Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1923 discovered that “by depriving a cell of 35% of its oxygen for 48 hours it is possible to convert it into cancer. All normal cells need oxygen to live, unlike cancer cells, which prefer a poorly oxygenated environment.
According to the scientist, “tumor tissues are acidic, while healthy tissues are alkaline.”
In a nutshell: Healthy cells live in an oxygenated and alkaline environment. Cancer cells need an acidic and low oxygen environment to live. Therefore, a healthy diet rich in natural and alkaline foods and physical activity helps to expel (acid) toxins and improve our health and quality of life.
Most industrially refined foods (packaged sweets and chocolates, corn flakes, white bread) increase insulin and therefore blood sugar, leading to an increased risk of contracting diseases. Foods rich in saturated fats such as sausages, red meats, and cheeses also hinder insulin’s proper functioning. Sucrose (sugar) or milk directly affects insulin but does not increase blood sugar. Today we know with certainty that there is a precise relationship between diet and cancer thanks to the numerous scientific studies published on the subject. It has been shown how much greater or lesser spread of this disease also largely depends on how you live, what you eat, and even how much you eat. Fruits and vegetables are very rich in precious substances, such as vitamins, fibers, and carcinogenesis inhibitors (flavonoids and isoflavones). Consuming these foods in large quantities hinders the appearance of most cancers: mouth, larynx, esophagus, stomach, intestine. Not putting these foods on the table every day means depriving the body of critical natural shields, which on the one hand, neutralize carcinogens and, on the other, reduce the ability of cancer cells to proliferate.
Healthy and proper nutrition is essentially:
- balance between nutrients;
- wholesome, unrefined foods;
The balance of proper nutrition
A healthy and correct diet introduces all the nutrients with balance, therefore the right amount of carbohydrates, natural sugars, proteins, and good fats. It is useless to convince ourselves that our overweight is attributable to carbohydrates. By getting rid of it, we will regain a fit and healthy body because carbohydrates are necessary. Consuming a diet that mostly includes only protein is not a good idea for health.
Opting instead of a diet consisting of all the nutrients in balance guarantees us a healthy organism and a body at the right weight. We do not ignore the physical exercise that completes the healthy lifestyle given by a series of elements, including the correct diet.
The benefits of a healthy diet
A correct eating style contributes to building, strengthening, maintaining the body, and providing the daily energy essential for the organism’s proper functioning. Therefore, proper nutrition is crucial for healthy physical development starting from the prenatal stage, then during childhood and later in life. For example, balanced nutrition is directly linked to good maternal and child health, facilitates children in learning, and helps adults be more productive.
A balanced diet, combined with an active lifestyle, which includes the daily practice of physical activity, helps maintain adequate body weight, allowing a more harmonious growth from a physical point of view and more serene from a psychological perspective. Often, overweight or obese people tend to be marginalized and subjected to real social stigmatization. In particular, children are prone to develop a problematic relationship with their bodies and with their peers, consequently isolating themselves even more with an inviting increase in sedentary habits.
Eating healthy helps prevent and treat many chronic diseases such as obesity and overweight, arterial hypertension, cardiovascular system diseases, metabolic diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Furthermore, a healthy diet strengthens the immune system helping to protect the body from certain diseases not directly related to nutrition.
Following a healthy and balanced diet helps improve the quality of life and can even lengthen it. The plant and animal world offers us an infinite variety of products to choose the most suitable ones to adopt a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing taste. From white meats to carrots, to then move on to the world of legumes and whole grains, follow a healthy diet, and your body will be positively affected.
Furthermore, from a medical perspective, there are many benefits of consuming healthy and nutritious foods. Let’s see them together.
- Prevention of neurodegenerative diseases: inserting fatty foods rich in Omega 3 (such as oily fish), vitamins A and B (such as oranges, carrots, and tomatoes), and antioxidants in your diet will help you protect brain cells, reducing the risk of contracting neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
- Prevention of osteoporosis: the supply of calcium and vitamin D, accompanied by proper physical activity, is essential to prevent the contraction of osteoporosis, a disease that affects the bones and which increases the cases of fractures, reducing the quality of life.
- Prevention of type 2 diabetes: a sedentary lifestyle combined with a diet rich in sugar and low in fiber can cause a high blood concentration of glucose, leading to hyperglycemia and, subsequently, diabetes.
We find that diabetes, due to too high sugars, hypercholesterolemia, or an excess of cholesterol, leads to the circulatory system’s diseases, not to mention the overload of the kidneys and liver, dental problems, difficulties digestive and intestinal up to tumors. Obesity, of course, has to be taken into account. According to the WHO, about 1/3 of cardiovascular diseases and cancers can be avoided thanks to a correct and healthy diet.
Do you know what foods are unhealthy? When examining your diet, it can be difficult to determine what foods are healthy or not. The most common unhealthy foods include highly-processed items such as fast foods and snack foods. Highly-processed foods tend to be low in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) and high on empty calories due to the content of refined flours, sodium, and sugar.
The risk of obesity, in particular, is determined not only by an incorrect diet (which determines an imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure in favor of the former) but also by a sedentary lifestyle. Overweight and obesity are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as conditions of abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat that present a health risk.
The term junk food indicates the junk food that is so loved because:
- immediately ready;
On-time, however, we end up feeling guilty, looking in the mirror and noticing that there is something wrong: dull skin, falling hair, brittle nails, a few rolls on the stomach, etc. That junk food is a real addiction, so much so that it is difficult to try, and this constitutes a real obstacle towards the path of healthy and correct nutrition.
Highly processed junk foods and Unhealthy foods
Nitrates: Processed foods contain a large number of nitrates. Nitrates are used mostly in meats like cold cuts to keep them from growing bacteria or losing aesthetic appeal. Many studies show increased occurrences of cancer in those who consume too many nitrate-containing meats.
Fat: Most processed food contains a lot of fat. This is generally saturated fat, which can increase LDL cholesterol.
Sugar: Processed foods are also generally high in sugars, making them very high in calories.
Salt: Salt (or sodium) is used as a preservative in foods and can increase blood pressure and cause bloating.
Vitamins: Processed foods are not known for their healthfulness, and many of them lack vitamins.
About Junk food which foods to avoid or at least limit to eat
How to avoid unhealthy food
Andari offers several pieces of advice on how to stay away from food that is bad for you:
- Choose processed foods carefully.
- Avoid sodium from the six most common salty foods (bread and rolls; cold cuts and cured meats; pizza; burritos and tacos; soup; sandwiches).
- Read food labels and stay away from items that have sugar added, excess sodium, and fat.
- Plan and prepare healthy snacks and meals homemade from whole, fresh foods.
- Choose lean meats with less than 10 percent fat.
- Don’t skip meals (this can contribute to snacking on unhealthy foods when hungry).
Disadvantages of fast food and unhealthy food
Fast food makes you slow down.
Fast food is undoubtedly a lifestyle trend, but the connotation of “fast” remains unchanged even then. Since these are handy meals that you can grab and bite into even on the run, you have to flatten them and not eat them. This means that you only satisfy the taste buds and hunger, but you are not getting any nutrients from them if there are any. It is not recommended to eat food at such a rapid pace, as it negatively affects digestion and hinders metabolism. It naturally makes you feel more full and makes you lazy, thus slowing you down.
Fast food increases your calorie count.
But it’s not just the consumption rate that wreaks havoc on your body’s assimilative capacity. One major drawback of fast foods is that they are loaded with carbohydrates and nearly come without fiber. So you consume calories, but you don’t burn them. Since it doesn’t consume any fiber, you can’t expect the body to break down those carbohydrates to digest them.
You are left with a desire for more.
Either it’s the addicting taste of fast food lingering long after or the empty calories intensifying your appetite. You can’t get enough of that junk. You often end up eating more frequently than necessary. It needs no further claim that eating fast food leads you to eat more and gain weight.
It is easier to binge on fast food than on healthy alternatives. Binging is terrible in itself, and when you pile on foods that aren’t good for you, you are only intensifying the effort you torture your body with.
By invading your lifestyle, fast food craves your life.
Fast food draws the taste buds so much because they are high in salt and sugar, which easily triggers the taste vessels and leaves you craving your daily dose of junk. The consumption of salt and sugar should always be done according to the recommendations as they don’t do much for your body other than improving the taste of the food. With fast food, though, you end up loading yourself with incredibly high amounts of both.
Fast food manifests itself as an addictive disorder.
Fast food is called addiction for no reason. Once you’re on stage when you always swear to fast food, you can’t live without it. You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you try to banish the cravings. Because practically living with junk food leads to your body being nutrient deficient, you also lack the mechanism to cope with stress. Notably, the lack of the amino acid tryptophan will further render you unable to fend off those cravings due to lower specific sensory satiety, even manifesting itself as something seriously real like depression.
Sugar, spice, and not all pretty
While the many disadvantages of fast food stemming from its high sugar content are known to all, salt somehow manages to evade the necessary speculation. Excessive sodium intake is not only adverse to blood pressure but can also cause water retention leading to conditions such as swelling or edema.
Blood sugar levels are violated by too much junk.
Naturally, with such high amounts of sugar and other carbohydrates, fast foods cause blood sugar levels in the body to fluctuate. Carbohydrates are released into the bloodstream as Glucose, in excessively unhealthy amounts that cannot be countered by the body’s insulin. Instead of being stored for future use, Glucose stays in your bloodstream as it continues to inject more and more into your body. Over time, as glucose levels continue to rise, insulin production weakens, leaving you at risk of developing hyperglycemia or diabetes and other related complications.
Fast food makes you prone to chronic diseases.
Junk foods are much tastier than homemade meals because they are fried and not cooked or boiled. Excessive oil in junk food makes it even more, junk because it loads each bite with saturated fat or trans fat and cholesterol. Even baked treats like pizzas and pastries also stock up on high-fat content. Heart disease and stroke are the most common complications that arise from the drawbacks of fast food. Also, because the same oil is reused multiple times and heated to high temperatures, one can develop other serious health risks.
Fast food also offers all the harmful effects of processed foods.
Fast food can also be deceptive. Even the seemingly healthiest option on the menu bodes not very well when it comes to eating right. Healthy junk food is a very blatant oxymoron, and if you are someone who has succumbed to this console of having a regular “balanced” fast-food diet, we need to burst your bubble. Because the calorie intake, even with the healthiest fast foods, is more than what is recommended to be consumed as an average healthy person. And since healthy fast foods are processed foods too, we don’t need to tell you more.
Fast food can make you much more obese and unhealthy.
The weight gain associated with increased fast food consumption is also a disaster for overall health. Obesity is one of the highest mortality factors for people who swear by food on the go. And being obese brings other lifestyle complications like breathing problems and kidney ailments and a host of other diseases.
Junk food also raises many health ailments
Since junk foods include very often chemically modified ingredients or even altered ingredients, they can spell about you. Phthalates are chemicals found in abundance in processed foods that interfere with the body’s hormonal mechanism. This not only causes extreme fluctuations in moods but can also lead to nervous and reproductive disorders.
Nutrient-deficient fast food weakens you.
The disadvantages of fast food are more pronounced and severe than you would expect. Copious amounts of refined carbohydrates in junk food lead to low bone density by loading you with excess fat and draining you essential nutrients. This, in turn, leads to the bones becoming brittle, thereby hampering skeletal health. It leads to the tooth enamel’s breakdown as the nails and hair become brittle, the skin becomes dry and wrinkled. And a diet lacking in any vital minerals and vitamins weakens the immune mechanism.
Junk food piles up on your plate, but holes in your pockets
Fast food restaurants cost you more too. Because it is more than a service, the fast-food industry is counting on profits even when it tends to value its products reasonably. However, the numerous health costs associated with fast food consumption regularly compensate for this affordable price. And when you eat regularly, you’re already a lot more expensive than you would by treating yourself to a home-cooked meal. Fast food saves you some of your time but at a significantly higher cost.