Side Effects of Giving Up Fast Food


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Fast food … it’s been a staple of American life since the first White Castle opened its doors in 1921. But now with over 200,000 fast food companies and a new option at every corner, fast food is quickly super-sizing Americans. The CDC reports that over a third of all Americans eat fast food on any given day. We all know it’s not the best option for our health, but there are some surprising side effects from giving up fast food.

What is your favorite fast food?

“I love pizza,” said Ron Rovito.

“I do like the fast foods. I like the chicken fingers, French fries, cokes, and my favorite chocolate milkshakes,” shared Sean McMonagle.

So, what happens if you gave it up? You’ll be at lower risk for heart disease and diabetes. But experts say you’re also at lower risk for Alzheimer’s. Studies show the hallmark Alzheimer’s protein, beta-amyloid, was higher in those with high-junk-food diets. And with less blood sugar, experts say you won’t just lose weight, your mood may also improve! Researchers have found a fast-food diet can damage neurons and even cause depression. But if you’re one of the more than 84 million Americans consuming fast food every day, experts say start small.

“Oh, my kids, they’ll tell you McDonald’s French fries are the best fries ever, and I agree, they have great fries, but we don’t need to eat them every week,” stated Misti Neal, MS, RD, Director of Food and Nutrition at Southwest General Hospital.

Researchers warn that giving up fast food can also cause withdrawals marked by irritability, mood swings and cravings, and say that these symptoms should diminish over time as fast food is phased out. However, the good news is that as your gut microbes change with your diet, you’ll start to desire more natural, whole foods, too!

Contributors to this news report include: Sabrina Broadbent, Producer; and, Roque Correa, Editor.

REPORT #2852

BACKGROUND: Diets containing greater amounts of fast foods and other processed foods high in fat, starches, or sugars, are the main causes of weight gain, overweight and obesity. Greater body fatness is also a cause of many cancers. Fast foods are readily available convenience foods that tend to be energy dense and are often consumed frequently in large portions. Most of the evidence on fast foods comes from studies of foods such as burgers, fried chicken, chips, French fries, and high-calorie drinks containing sugars, such as cola, or fat, such as shakes. Most of these foods undergo some form of processing before consumption. More highly processed foods have generally undergone industrial processing and are often higher in energy and lower in micronutrients. Some examples are potato chips, breads, pasta, pizza, cakes, pastries, biscuits, and cookies.


FAST FOOD HEALTH RISKS: Roughly, eight out of ten Americans eat fast food at least once a month, and 47% of Americans eat fast food once a week or more. The science says these foods produce the same biochemical effects in the brain that are characteristic of substance abuse. Hundreds of millions of people have come to crave these unhealthy foods. Processed foods destroy our physical health, leading to diabetes, obesity, premature cardiac death, cancer, strokes, and more. These foods also alter our brain and mental health, fueling depression, mental illness, among other issues. According to a study published in the Public Health Journal, people who eat fast foods are 51 percent more likely to develop depression compared to those who eat little or no fast food. Another study published in the Journal of Adolescence Health found that eating just one serving of French fries per week during adolescence increased women’s breast cancer risk later in life by 27 percent. Other impacts to our body fast foods can initiate are brain fog, mood swings, anxiety, violence, and aggression.


NEW NUTRITION STUDY: Nutrition scientist Elizabeth Parks of the University of Missouri, Columbia, states, “We all know people who lose weight easily, and others who don’t.” The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is making a major push to understand these individual differences. It has announced the largest study yet to investigate “precision nutrition,” a 5-year effort to examine how 10,000 Americans process foods. They will collect data ranging from continuous blood glucose levels to microbes in a person’s gut. The study “has the potential to truly transform the field of nutrition science,” generating new tools, methods, and “a wealth of data to fuel discovery science for years to come,” Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), said. Ultimately, it might enable nutritionists to tailor diets to an individual’s genes and microbiome.


* For More Information, Contact:

Misti Neal, MS, RD

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