5 surprising negative effects of a poor diet other than weight gain

Lana Bandoim's picture

Everyone knows that a poor diet leads to unhealthy weight gain. Although many people would love to shed a few pounds, they do not always recognize the negative side effects and symptoms related to junk food. If you need more motivation to eat better, here are some reasons why a poor diet can hurt you.

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Increased inflammation

An unhealthy diet can hurt you internally, and it can also have an impact on your external appearance. Foods that are high in trans-fatty acids, sugars and starches can cause surges in insulin that trigger inflammatory responses in the body. Over time, the result is glycation, which speeds up the aging process and leads to premature wrinkling and damage.

Poor dental health

Although everyone knows that brushing your teeth after eating sugary foods is an important part of maintaining proper dental hygiene, did you know that the mere act of eating unhealthy foods can actually damage your teeth?

“Tooth enamel, a thin covering that protects the teeth from acids in foods can be weakened by sugar,” says Dr. Stuart J. Froum. “Once enamel is weakened, that [sic] teeth are susceptible to cavities and decay.”

Alcohol is also bad for your teeth and is one of the leading causes of mouth cancer. While it is okay to enjoy an occasional cocktail, beer or glass of wine, you want to limit contact with your teeth. It may seem strange, but sipping alcohol through a straw is a better approach.

Anxiety and depression

Does junk food impact the way you think? There is a lot of research and science to suggest that what you eat has a direct impact on your ability to think, feel and make decisions. A deficiency in nutrients may have a strong impact on your mind.

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“I have not seen a study in support of junk food (empty calories) and mental health, although people should realize that minimally processed foods (bagged salads, roasted nuts, canned tuna, frozen fruit, nut butters, tomato sauce, etc.) are fine,” says Mary Hartley, a registered dietitian who has spent time reviewing the link between junk food and depression. “The body needs nutrients to make neurotransmitters, and so, sure, nutrient deficiencies may have a role in some mental and behavioral disorders.”

On the other end of the spectrum, it is believed that eating the right foods can enhance mental health. Hartley points people to omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, magnesium, iron and zinc. One study shows that a Mediterranean-style diet is linked to lower depression risk.

Irregular bowel movements

A poor diet can clog you up a bit. Eating too much white bread, white rice and other processed products will leave you constipated and irregular. These items have little to no fiber, and fiber is responsible for moving food through your body. It is also true that dehydration makes constipation worse. Drinking excess alcohol along with a poor diet can make your bathroom issues even worse.

Bloating and discomfort

Many people choose to drink diet soda instead of regular soda because they feel it is healthier for them. While it may not contain the same amount of sugar, you should not assume that it is better for you. The combination of fizzy bubbles, which trap air inside, and horrible artificial sweeteners, which are known to cause gas, are a nightmare for your stomach. You should keep this in mind and grab water next time.

Eat healthier and feel better

Although the draw of sugary, buttery and greasy foods can sometimes feel like too much to resist, you must learn discipline if you want to feel and look better. An unhealthy diet can lead to more than weight gain. If you want to be healthy, then you need to eliminate the junk food from your diet and focus on natural ingredients.

Image from Pixabay.com and used with permission.

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Comments

I love how you break each section down. Its very easy to understand it inspires me to want to take the necessary steps to be healthier in ALL aspects of my life. Thank you!
In relation to white bread and pasta, I used to worry about my son eating too much of it. Its so easy to make or prepare that there were times when I would go back and think about what he had eaten that day only to realise that it was toast and then cereal and then pasta. Thankfully he now likes to snack on nuts and fruit and we're cool with brown bread and quinoa. Phew!