Foods that can be produced for the masses, and prioritize speed of service more than any other factors of culinary sciences are called Fast Foods.
Fast food is a commercial term that can be used to refer to the following:
- The restaurant prepared fast foods
- Frozen food items
- Ready to eat meals
Factors that have contributed to increased fast food consumption are as follows:
- Easily Available
- Good Taste
- Satiety and Euphoria
As consumers, what we don’t realize is that all the aforementioned advantages provide short term relief with serious longterm repercussions.
Increased consumption of fast foods, processed foods, and junk foods has increased the risk of developing several diseases and disorders that have contributed to a decrease in quality of life and an increase in the risk of early death.
Natural foods are defined as foods that do not contain any of the following:
- Artificial flavoring
- Artificial coloring
Today we have articulated this article to discuss the benefits of natural foods and how eating healthy affects health.
Natural foods vs. Fast Foods
Effects on Metabolism
A major component of an unhealthy diet is excess carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids, both of which are key elements of fast food. It is an indisputable statement that increased consumption of fast foods leads to poor health outcomes.
Consuming fast foods causes obesity and metabolic syndromes not only in adults but also in the younger population. Diseases that usually presented after the age of 40 are now being diagnosed in children as well.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1.6 billion of the world’s population is overweight and the leading cause of obesity is an unhealthy diet.
According to research, there is conclusive evidence that increased fast food intake causes the following:
- Insulin Resistance
- Abdominal Obesity
- Cardiovascular Disorders
On the other hand, eating natural food doesn’t only save you from such debilitating effects but also results in:
- Reducing oxidative stress that helps decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders and cancers.
- Decreasing incidence of allergic disorders in children
- Decreasing the risk of obesity
Effects on the Respiratory System
Increased weight has a myriad of effects on respiratory health. Obese individuals complain about dyspnea on exertion and have to use bronchodilators to relieve it.
This can be attributed to the fact that obese individuals have a higher metabolic rate and require high oxygen consumption. Increased pulmonary demands can cause atelectasis but healthy weight loss regimes are able to reverse these changes.
When surveys are conducted regarding the reason for the preference of fast foods over natural foods a common reply is that fast foods are cheaper and more easily available.
What we don’t realize is that in the long run, the health problems caused by consuming these fast foods result in a significant portion of our income being spent on medications, that are necessary to treat the conditions that could have been prevented by a healthy lifestyle.
Another factor is how we buy food. The cost of food is not only determined by food type but the food proportions and diet patterns as well. If we monitor nutrient intake, prepare food at home, and eat a well-balanced meal in the recommended proportions affording healthier food options can become relatively easy.
Effects on Mental Health
Fast food consumption not only affects physical health but causes significant damage to mental health as well. Children and adolescents that eat junk foods in large quantities are at an increased risk of psychiatric disorders and violent behavior.
Eating healthy improves mood, reduces stress, and can also improve symptoms of depression.
Effects on the Integumentary and Reproductive Systems
The Western diet refers to increased consumption of fast foods that causes an altered metabolic response and production of cytokines that can promote acne breakouts.
There is an increased prevalence of psoriasis in obese individuals who also have comorbid conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
Fast foods contain high preservative content and processed chemicals that can cause hormonal disorders and adversely affect reproductive health. Obesity due to increased fast food consumption adds to these disorders.
The increasing availability of takeaway, food delivery, and dining out options has contributed to an increase in weight gain in the population.
Obesity has now become a global health concern that causes a significant burden on the healthcare system and obesity-related disabilities result in decreased manpower.
The obesity pandemic needs to be taken seriously and obesity prevention should be a high priority.
Eating healthy plays an important role in the maintenance of a healthy and happy lifestyle. A monitored balanced diet with all the essential nutrients along with exercise promotes good mental and physical health, improves self-esteem, and prevents the development of several chronic diseases.