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We all know junk food at this point is bad for us. There are several studies that have emerged showing that fast food, as well as processed foods, are contributing to increased rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, and more health problems. But despite all of that, children are still consuming junk food primarily because they’ve spent years eating poorly, to begin with.
Of course, those habits continue to persist into adult life as well and you can expect certain side effects that stem from junk food or any kind of fast-food.
One of those effects is memory and learning issues. Even a healthy individual is still susceptible to this as a 2011 study showed healthy people who were eating junk food for as little as 5 days performed poorly in cognitive tests that were measuring a persons attention span, speed, and mood. The study concluded that eating junk food regularly for even a short period of time can make an impact on someone.
The reason why junk food is capable of doing that falls into the fact that junk food is high in sugar and fat. Even diets that revolve around those things will hamper your memory. Sugar and fat have the ability to suppress activity in the brain that helps with the functions we mentioned. What’s also important to note as well is that our brain has synapses, which are also responsible for memory and learning. Even eating a lot of calories, in general, can get in the way of these synapses performing properly.
Another scary discovery is that junk food can contribute to dementia. You might know already that our pancreas produces insulin and our pancreas also assists in transporting glucose. What you might not have known is that insulin is also made in the brain and that insulin helps in connecting signals between our nerve cells as well as forming our memories.
Much like with individuals who have Type 2 Diabetes, when you have higher levels of insulin in your body, the brain eventually stops responding to that hormone and develops a resistance to it. This will hamper our ability to think, recall or even create memories which increase our risks of dementia.
One other danger of eating junk food is our ability to control our appetite as well. Of course, a lot of junk food has trans fats. Trans fat and other processed foods, when consumed, send a mixture of signals to our brain which makes processing the food difficult. The end result is that it messes up with our brain because it can’t figure out how hungry we are. As a result, people will overeat.
The problem with that is that overeating can work the same way as a drug addict who needs drugs. People become reliant on unhealthy foods to the point they rely on it so they can activate certain pleasure centers of the brain. The issue is as we were suggesting above, our brain develops a tolerance and will need greater volumes in order to feel satisfied.
No matter if you are healthy or unhealthy, it’s important for us to move away from these sorts of pleasure foods. Junk food is exactly what it says on the label, it’s junk that isn’t going to help you at all.