Among the most valid reasons not to eat junk food is that it makes you miserable. It’s a funny thing really, because you first feel the compulsion that you must have that burger loaded with cheese or that oozing filled-crust deep pan pizza so thick you could use it as a doorstop and boy does it taste good while you’re eating it – but not so long after, the post-junk food blues hit. You start recriminating about the fact that not only have you just dropped a load of dollars on food when you have a fridge and pantry full at home, but you have just rewarded your body with a pile of stuff it doesn’t deserve. Thoughts turn to poor nutrition and unwanted weight gain and you vow never to eat junk food again and to take a different route so you cannot be lured in by the bright lights of the drive-in. Until the next time! What you need therefore, are convincing and valid reasons not to eat junk food that will solidify your resolve. Like these!
Fiber is a necessary component to a healthy diet. It helps to regulate your bowel movements because it is not broken down by the body. Think of it as nature’s broom. One of the best reasons not to eat junk food is that it contains almost no fiber. This is not just a downside to candy bars – white bread, white rice and other processed foods have low fiber content as well.
While not the root cause of Pre Menstrual Syndrome, junk food can make your symptoms far worse than usual. Sugars and starches take your body’s insulin levels on a wild rollercoaster ride (not the good kind). This affects brain chemicals, making you feel worse. Caffeine is another rollercoaster ride inducer. Combining the two is asking for double trouble, and makes drinking something like a sweet coffee drink during your period one of the least helpful things you can do.
Sodium in your body works to regulate your blood vessels, and it attracts water. Your body tends to retain water in response to high amounts of sodium, in order to compensate for all the water the sodium attracts from your cells. This water retention is what causes you to puff up – bloating. Junk food is full of sodium, and therefore a leading cause of bloat…and muffin top.
When a protein found in nitrates, food colorants and dyes break down, they all release a chemical called Tyramine. This chemical is a known cause of headaches and is believed to cause changes to your blood vessels and increase blood flow to your brain. Avoid the resulting pain by avoiding unnaturally colored snacks.
If you love greasy fast food, chances are it’s a burning love; as in stomach acid splashing up into your esophagus and causing what is commonly called heartburn. This uncomfortable phenomenon can occur when you chow down on something before your last meal has fully digested and cleared out of your stomach. Yet another of the reasons to avoid junk food is because it contains very high levels of saturated fats. These fats take longer to digest, and eating them increases your chance of getting that burning sensation.
Everyone knows that junk food can make you feel bad, but now there is research that suggests it’s about more than just feeling remorse when you step on the scale. Studies published in the Public Health Nutrition Journal and the British Journal of Psychiatry have found increased junk food consumption led to increased risk of developing depression. A 51 percent greater risk in the first study! Even though junk food was not singled out as the sole cause of depression, researchers were able to reiterate that it’s another of the good reasons to avoid junk food and that munching on an apple is a more sensible food choice.
If you don’t wrinkle your nose at junk food, you may very well wrinkle everything else. Junk food can make you look older than you are by contributing to the formation of wrinkles. In your body, sugars and starches cause a process called glycation to occur. In this process, sugar molecules attach to collagen fibers, and after a series of chemical reactions, create cross inks that bind collagen fibers to each other. Normally, collagen helps our skin stay strong. When cross-linked due to glycation, collagen becomes stiff and so does our skin. Additionally glycation causes elastin to clump together. Normally, elastin helps skin remain supple. One study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that the effects of sugars and starches on skin begin appearing as early as age 35.
Next time you see the golden arches or Wendy calls to you, remember these reasons to give up junk food and drive on by. Do you have a junk food weakness? What can you not resist?