7 Ways Junk Food Makes You Miserable
Posted by Girls Guide To on May 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM
You know it’s not good for you. Sugar. Trans fats. Carb overload. These diet devils are what’s lurking in all that junk food—and weight gain isn’t the only thing they cause. Foods like processed “white” carbs, cookies, potato chips, sodas, and high-fat burgers and fries not only pack on the pounds, they cause physical side effects that make you look and feel like, well, crap. The last few weeks I have been indulging a little bit too much (thanks to a stressful work project and some relationship woes) and started to notice a few awful side effects (see #2 and #5 and a horribly broken out face), so I did some research and found these seven potential side effects of a diet high in junk food that just might motivate you to make a beeline for the nearest Whole Foods (where I’m headed after work!).
1. Pass the Wrinkle Cream Please
What’s bad for your waistline is also bad for your face. We all have heard that sugar and grease cause zits, but sugars, trans fats and starches can also cause insulin to surge and trigger an inflammatory response, the end product of which is a fancy-science term called glycation. This speeds the aging process (aka, gives you wrinkles) by deactivating the body’s own age-fighting antioxidants, making you more prone to sun damage and premature aging. Eek!
2. Tight Jeans (The dryer must have shrunk them…again!)
There is a ton of sodium in processed junk foods, and sodium is a big cause of bloating. How? The purpose of sodium is to regulate the amount of blood in your vessels, but it also attracts water. High concentrations of sodium pull water from your cells, causing your body to hang on to extra fluid to compensate. And get this: If you’re a fan of diet soda, which many body-conscious girls are, it can make matters even worse: The combination of bubbles (which trap air) and artificial sweeteners (which can cause gas) is bloat central.
3. That…uh…Not-So-Regular Feeling
Sorry to be so frank, but white bread, white rice, and other “white” (read: processed) products can cause constipation because they contain little to no fiber, and fiber moves everything through the body. Dehydration can make constipation worse as well, and if you’re coupling your white bread with booze—knocking back beers and hot dogs at a Sunday afternoon ball game—you’re not looking at a regular Monday morning.
4. A Roll of Tums for Breakfast
Too many high-fat meals are a recipe for acid indigestion. Foods high in saturated fat take longer to digest; so when you haven’t fully digested last night’s cheeseburger and fries, excess stomach acid can splash back into your esophagus the next time you eat (gross), causing heartburn.
5. Crazy-Lady PMS
Foods don’t actually cause PMS, but some can certainly make it worse. Sugar and starches can cause insulin to spike and then drop, which affects brain chemicals and may make mood swings way worse. Apparently, sweet coffee drinks are one of the worst things you can indulge in when your hormones are raging—the combo of sugar and the simulant effect of caffeine (and the subsequent crash) can push you over the edge. Sorry Starbucks! Looks like I’m skipping my afternoon treat this week!
6. Headache Central
Tyramine, a chemical formed in the breakdown of a certain protein in food colorants, dyes, and nitrates (found in hot dogs and other processed meats) is a known headache inducer; experts believe it increases blood flow to the brain, causing vascular changes that result in pain. If the snack you’re about to eat has a hue that’s not found in nature, you may want to steer clear.
7. A Down-in-the-Dumps Mood
Studies show that people who eat a lot of junk food are more likely to experience depression. Even if you don’t fall into a serious funk, pigging out on food that’s not good for you will make feel lousy (and guilty)—and when you don’t feel great your mood is bound to be lousy as well.
Have you experienced any of these sh*tty side effects? How did you make yourself feel better?