It seems like addictions are imprinted in our human nature; whether we talk about alcohol, binge-watching TV shows, or our morning cup of coffee, we all have guilty pleasures we can’t let go of.
But what if they affect our health more than we think?
In 2021, food manufacturers are counting on our cravings and addictions to increase their sales numbers. They know what we like, and they deliver it anytime at affordable prices.
The only problem? They may cost us our long-term health.
Let’s take, for example, McDonald’s. This is the most powerful fast food chain worldwide, and for good reason: they have plenty of tasty items to choose from, they always taste the same, and they’re delivered in a matter of minutes.
However, McDonald’s has also become notorious for its genetically modified ingredients, preservatives, and other artificial substances used to obtain their trademark flavor.
Of course, I’m not being absurd; we all can give in to this guilty pleasure every now and then. But what if it becomes a regular habit?
Today, experts will show us the real impact of eating McDonald’s every single day – and it’s chilling indeed.
You’ll increase your diabetes risk
Diabetes isn’t caused by sugar alone. In fact, many foods and ingredients can increase your long-term risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including refined grains.
Unfortunately, most foods and beverages offered by McDonald’s can seriously damage your blood sugar levels and insulin production.
Our body is designed to handle fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which happen every time we eat anything.
However, the extreme insulin spikes caused by eating McDonald’s foods might just be too much to handle – especially if you were to consume them daily. As a plus, the sugar, carbs, and empty calories in fast food meals increase your risk of obesity tremendously, which is another factor that can determine type 2 diabetes.
Note that diabetes is one of the 10 most common causes of death and among the top 3 most common illnesses in our country. Although it can be managed, prevention is always easier than treatment, right?
Your heart health will be affected
When it comes to long-term illnesses caused by poor lifestyle choices, the harsh truth is that a diagnosis almost never comes alone.
For example, if you have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (or have already been diagnosed with it), you also increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Almost every menu item you can get at McDonald’s exceeds the daily amount of sugar recommended by the American Heart Association.
Here’s an example: if you enjoy a McDonald’s Big Breakfast with Hotcakes, you will have consumed your daily recommended intake of sugar before 10:00 a.m. I’m not even mentioning the sodas, which are overloaded with artificial flavors and added sugars.
McDonald’s meals are also dangerously high in trans fats. This is the most dangerous type of fat you could possibly eat; in fact, it’s so dangerous that doctors recommend having zero trans fats daily.
Both added sugars and trans fats can increase your bad cholesterol along with the extra pounds. These factors combined can lead to several cardiovascular problems including clogged arteries.
You’ll gain weight…
…and I mean it.
No matter how delicious and satisfying McDonald’s may be, it has an inevitable effect: weight gain.
The Food and Drug Administration recommends a daily calorie intake of approximately 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men.
Now, if you’re going to eat a McDonald’s burger with French fries and a soda, you’ll easily exceed 1,000 calories at once.
What’s worse, these 1,000 calories aren’t even healthy or nutritious; in fact, chances are most of them come as added sugars, trans fats, and unhealthy carbs.
The result? Sudden weight gain that’s particularly hard to get rid of.
You’ll have digestive problems
All those artificial flavors, fried foods, and sauces can really take a toll on your digestive system.
Our major body functions have barely changed during the past centuries, which means that our stomach isn’t designed to handle so many artificial ingredients consumed daily.
However, the worst of them remains sodium (salt).
In fact, sodium is the very reason why McDonald’s meals are so tasty and addictive. Nutritionist Toby Amidor points out that you can eat more than 75% of your daily recommended intake of sodium in a single fast-food meal.
And when you get too much sodium, you increase your risk of the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Kidney diseases
Before you get to experience those long-term problems, though, all that extra sodium can give you bloating, stomach cramps, or even nausea.
You might experience depression
‘Depression? “I’m pretty happy when I eat fast food!”
That’s most people’s reaction when they hear that McDonald’s can increase the risk of depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, the pleasure we get from eating all those French fries and burgers is just a temporary illusion caused by artificial flavors and great marketing.
According to a study from the Public Health Nutrition, there’s a strong link between consuming fast food and depression. The research paper proved that people who eat fast food regularly are mostly sedentary individuals who barely reach their daily recommended intake of nutrients.
Many people who end up gaining weight due to fast food also become insecure about themselves, which affects their social life. This leads to a vicious circle that clearly increases the risk of depression.
You might damage your fertility
These days, more and more people are struggling with infertility; unfortunately, adopting an unhealthy lifestyle is among the leading factors contributing to this issue.
For example, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives revealed that fast food in general is high in phthalates, a category of chemicals that can have a serious negative impact on your hormones, which in turn affects your fertility.
Furthermore, eating such chemicals as those found in fast food during pregnancy can increase your fetus’ risk of birth defects. Overall, it’s just not worth the risk, regardless of whether you’re planning to have a child soon or not.
Your skin and hair will be affected
We already know that our diet has a major impact on the foods we eat – whether it’s positive or negative.
Our integumentary system (skin, nails, and hair) requires plenty of nutrients to stay strong and healthy; this is why you’ll find plenty of beauty products enriched with nutrients like calcium or other vitamins.
However, the beneficial effect of such products will only be temporary if you eat McDonald’s menus constantly.
According to the Mayo Clinic, foods rich in carbs can lead to extreme blood sugar spikes; this is one of the main triggers for acne.
A study published in the BMJ Journals found that teenagers who eat fast food three times a week or more have a higher risk of developing eczema – a skin condition that irritates the skin.
If you want to learn how to eat more healthily and help your skin, this book might help you.
Your respiratory system might get hurt
By now, we’ve established that McDonald’s (and fast food in general) can easily make you gain unwanted pounds, thus increasing the risk of obesity.
And when obesity comes, it doesn’t come alone.
Carrying all that extra weight 24 hours a day can become exhausting for major body systems.
Now there’s so much pressure on your heart and lungs, which can translate into difficulty breathing, even after the slightest physical effort such as taking a walk.
The situation is even worse for children. According to a study from the BMJ Journals, children who eat fast food more than three times a week have an increased risk of asthma – a serious respiratory condition that may require lifetime treatment.
Your memory might suffer
Earlier on, we discovered just how dangerous trans fats are and that we should avoid them at all costs. But what about other types of fat?
Over the past few years, researchers have discovered that saturated fats can also have a serious negative impact on our health when consumed excessively.
Marisa Moore, RDN, LD, explains that “it’s been long known that saturated fats can negatively impact the heart, but there’s also research that suggests high saturated fat intake may negatively impact brain function and memory.”
This negative impact may show up, especially when it comes to your prospective memory (the ability to remember what you wanted to do).
You’ll increase your risk of cancer
These days, many people feel like almost every food out there can increase their cancer risk. Although that’s an overstatement, many foods are so rich in unhealthy ingredients that they can indeed increase such risks in the long run.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has found that PhIP, a chemical linked to prostate, colon, and breast cancers, often shows up in fast food meat (especially grilled chicken).
In 2009, there was even a lawsuit debating this problem, and Burger King had to post warnings inside every restaurant regarding the content of this chemical in some of their foods.
Although McDonald’s meals haven’t been examined for this particular chemical yet, they surely have sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite – two additives commonly used to preserve the color of the meat and make it last longer.
Now, considering that a McDonald’s burger looked the exact same way after 21 years of being kept in a bag, clearly their foods do contain cancer-causing chemicals.
…although you may not immediately feel like it.
Of course, we’re not talking about the physical sensation of starving because you definitely feel full after a Big Mac menu with extra fries and a pie for dessert.
We’re talking about nutritional starvation.
McDonald’s has a crazy amount of calories, but very few of them are truly nutrient-dense. This means that your stomach will be full, but your body won’t get any vitamins, minerals, or macronutrients it needs to thrive.
As a result, you’ll feel hungry again within a short time. Now, if you’re going to eat foods low in nutrients again, you become trapped in a vicious circle where your body never receives what it truly needs.
Recovering from a fast-food addiction is just as difficult as any other type of addiction. If you think you need help adopting a healthier lifestyle, you can always ask for professional guidance; now you can even attend therapy sessions virtually from the comfort of your home.
You should also check out: 12 Less-Known Signs Your Food Has Gone BAD