We all know eating fast food isn’t good, but we still do it anyway. It’s convenient, quick, relatively affordable and safe in terms of knowing what you’re getting. And although there’s a lot of lifestyle benefits as well as indulging in your favourite tasty fast foods, it is damaging your short term and long term health.

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With many expatriates in the UAE being unaccustomed to the overall lifestyle over here, fast food is mainly seen as comfort food. However, it’s time to change the habit and start understanding how it’s ruining our health and go for the more healthier alternatives.

Negative Effects of Eating Too Much Junk Food

fast food and health

1. Health complications

The additives that are inside a lot of fast food dishes can be harmful to you, especially in the long run. A lot of the food options in fast food contain artificial flavours, toxins, and chemicals to enhance flavour and look of the product. They can increase the risk of health complications such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer. 

2. High in saturated fat

The alarming levels of saturated fatty acids in fast food can increase the risk of heart disease. A lot of these fats can raise your blood cholesterol levels and can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease.

3. Bloating

Fast foods contain more sodium, then your body needs. This sodium will have your body clinging onto all its water weight, making you feel bloated right after meals. 

4. Never feeling full

Fast food is often served in small portions but can contain the same amount of calories as a large meal would. This means that even though you’ve eaten a serving and have reached your calorie intake, you will be left wanting more. This opens the door to overeating and other poor dieting habits.

5. Weight gain

As fast food is very calorically dense, its very easy to get into a caloric surplus and gain weight very easily. Fast foods are often low in protein, but high in fat and carbohydrates, which can lead you to gain large amounts of fat and very little muscle onto your body. 

6. Constipation

Fast food is relatively low in fibre. Very low to be exact. This means that fast-food meals sit in your stomach for a long time as digestion is difficult and will lead to constipation. 

7. Addiction

Fast food can be addicting because let’s face it, it tastes good. But no matter how nice something maybe, addiction can never be a good thing. Not only does being addicted mean you are overeating, but it can result in poor lifestyle habits and discourage you from eating healthier or exercising more often. 

Fixing up Your Diet

fast food and health

Now that you’re aware of the short term and long term effects of fast food and overall poor dieting, here are some things you can try to fix up those habits and get you off to a good start with healthy dieting.

  • Count your calories – Whether trying to lose, gain, or maintain your current weight, you can do yourself a favour by counting your calorie intake. Find out what your calorie limit is based on your objectives and make sure that the foods you eat are fitting in. You’ll notice a lot of fast foods are so high in calories, that they won’t fit into your caloric intake. 
  • Exercise – Exercise not only helps you stay in better shape and promote better health, but it also encourages you to be more fitness conscious. Once you get into the habit of effective and consistent exercise, you’ll realize your dieting habits will also follow.
  • Cook at home more often – Eat fresh foods by cooking yourself. You can have a light and easy breakfast meal to start your day well. Oatmeal, yoghurt or fruits are great breakfast options. Make Cokkyourself dinner and eat the leftovers for lunch. When you cook your food, you can control portions, know what you’re consuming, and also save money. 
  • Visit proper restaurants – Although this can be quite difficult for people who have come to the UAE from other countries, finding restaurants can be hard when you aren’t accustomed to middle eastern cuisine or the local area. Do some research on healthy food options and restaurants in your area. This is a much better way to eat out rather than fast food take away joints.
  • Moderation is key – Fast food should not be forbidden. You can still enjoy it from time to time while still maintaining a healthy diet in general. Limiting fast food to once a month is usually a good rule of thumb to stay on the safe side. Also, when trying to incorporate fast food into your diet, try to stay within your daily caloric intake. This means that you can enjoy your food without worrying about gaining weight. Do not overindulge or get back into poor dieting habits as that is the starting point of going backwards with your health.

If you want to know more about maintaining a healthy diet or struggle with poor dieting habits, speak with your doctor or a dietician today. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.