10 things you might not know about unhealthy eating

Posted on: 05 November 2019 by Riccardo Di Cuffa

We all have our eating vices - the guilty treats we use as a pick me up, but have you ever questioned why we fall back on them or what the consequences are? Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa reveals all.

Unhealthy comfort foods

Addictive qualities of junk food

Eating junk food regularly has been said to alter brain activity in a similar way to addictive drugs such as heroine and cocaine. A recent study performed on rats showed that a high-calorie, fatty diet in rats caused them to additionally overeat.

Junk food and infants

Four out of five children can recognise the McDonalds logo by the age of 3. Fast food is high in sodium, saturated fats, trans-fats and LDL cholesterol which are all bad for your health. Generally, in your average mass-produced chicken nugget, only about 50% of it is actual chicken meat. The other 50% is said to be a combination of fat, ground bone, blood vessels, nerve and connective tissue!

A precendent for a lifetime of unhealthy eating

Pregnant mothers who eat unhealthily during pregnancy increase the likelihood of their child being an unhealthy eater.

This relates back to the fact that foods high in saturated fats, sugars and rich in carbs have addictive qualities and when you are pregnant, your baby eats what you do. Give them the best possible start from the get-go by ensuring you have a balanced healthy diet throughout pregnancy.

Liver damage

Unhealthy eating has the same impact on the liver as hepatitis if consumed regularly enough. A continuous diet high in fats and sugars can be highly toxic to our vital organ, the liver. Luckily, this damage can be reversed so if you think your diet might need improving then there’s no time like the present to start eating healthily.

Potato crisps - Emiliano Vittoriosi

Brits consume half a billion crisps a day!

That is around 17 million potatoes, but crisps are also high in both saturated fats and salt. The UK consumes more crisps than anywhere else in Europe, with Walkers producing 10 million packets of crisps a day to satisfy our needs. It has been said that eating one pack of crisps a day each year is the same as drinking five litres of cooking oil a year.  There are so many healthy snacks in the market now, try something new.

Burger off

Americans eat 50 billion hamburgers each year – that’s enough burgers arranged in a straight line to circle the earth more than 32 times! 

Most hamburgers contain high percentages of fat, are high in calories and usually also contain additives. Furthermore, a burger is generally loaded with toppings and condiments, the most popular being ketchup of course, which is packed full of sugar. If you are in the mood for a burger, why not try a grilled veggie burger which contain less saturated fats and salts and instead are often rich in vitamins and minerals!

Eat cold, stay hot

Eating ice cream actually warms up the body rather than cooling it down. Whilst we may think that ice cream is the perfect cooling summer snack, the high fat content in this treat can cause the body to warm up. Furthermore, ice cream also contains lots of sugar which can contribute to health problems such as weight gain, tooth cavities and high blood pressure if eaten too regularly.

marmalade and toast - Calum Lewis

You are toast

Although toast is a favoured breakfast choices, it is often very unhealthy. Toast covered in sugary spread can nearly exceed the recommended daily amount of sugar in one swoop. Consuming too much sugar will in turn increase your blood sugar levels and triglycerides which increases your risk of heart disease.  Try porridge, eggs or green juicing as healthy breakfast alternatives. By the way... did you know you could cover the Great Wall of China eight times with the number of jars of Nutella sold in a year?

White carbs = bad

White carbs significantly increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Wholegrains on the other hand help control blood sugar, contain lots of fibre and lower ‘bad’ cholesterol.  Try to eat brown rice, pasta and wholemeal bread.

That extra sausage could be one bite too far

Fatty meats such as sausages are high in ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol. Bad cholesterol can cause clogged arteries which can lead to heart disease, angina and even puts you at a higher risk of a stroke. Healthy fats such as avocados, eggs and nuts help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase ‘good’ cholesterol.

Images: MichaƂ Kubalczyk, Emiliano Vittoriosi and Calum Lewis via Unsplash 

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