10 things you might not know about unhealthy eating

Posted on: 25 January 2019 by 50connect editorial

Ever wondered why we crave the things that are really, really aren't good for us. Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa has some surprising answers.

unhealthy eating habits

Junk food may be addictive in the same way drugs are

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. 

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!

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.

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.

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. 

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!

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.

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 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.

Riccardo Di CuffaAbout the author

Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa | MBBS MRCS(ed) DOHNS MRCGP PG Cert Aest

Riccardo qualified at the Royal Free Hospital in 1998 and initially pursued a career in ENT. His particular interest in family medicine encouraged him to choose a General Practice career and he has been qualified for nearly 10 years as a GP. He was Clinical Lead for the services division of The Practice Group and has helped to develop primary care services for the NHS. His specialist interest in ENT meant he has developed and delivered intermediate ENT care services throughout London.

Riccardo is a founder and owner of Your-Doctor.co.uk

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