Food temptation is everywhere: fast food joints on your drive to work, cookies at your local coffee shop and snacks your coworkers bring to the office.
It’s so easy to give into cravings when you’re hungry, sleepy or bored, but one study found that these little vices are worse than you think.
In fact, all it takes are a few sugary or fatty snacks and you can set yourself up for metabolic disease.
What Is Metabolic Disease?
Metabolic disease, also known as metabolic syndrome, is a cluster of conditions that affect your metabolism. Together, they increase risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes (1).
These Conditions Include:
- A large waistline
- A high triglyceride level
- A low HDL cholesterol level
- High blood pressure
- High fasting blood sugar
If you have at least 3 of these symptoms you may be suffering from metabolic disease (2). Metabolic syndrome is also closely linked to being overweight or obese and a lack of physical activity.
How Junk Food Causes Metabolic Syndrome
“Acute effects of diet are mostly small, but may have large consequences in the long run” warns Suzan Wopereis, Ph.D. from TNO, Microbiology, and Systems Biology Group in The Netherlands (3).
According to a new study published in the FASEB Journal (4) (on which Dr. Wopereis contributed) overeating during snacktime or mealtime can trigger a chain reaction that can lead to metabolic disease.
Using 10 healthy male volunteers and 9 patients with metabolic syndrome, researchers gathered blood samples before and after they consumed a high-fat milkshake. These samples took into account 61 biomarkers, such as cholesterol and blood sugar.
Who Should Absolutely Avoid Junk Food
The people with metabolic disorder had negatively impacted their metabolic biochemical processes after the snack. This demonstrated that one simple bad food decision can be very harmful to these individuals.
Why Everyone Needs To Be Careful
The healthy volunteers were then put on a snack diet of 1300 additional calories per day (consisting of chips, candy bars, nuts and pie). This went on for four weeks.
By the end of the diet, the volunteers showed the start of “negative health effects similar to that affecting those with metabolic disease (4).”
In fact, biomarkers showed that the hormones that control sugar and fat metabolism as well as inflammation had all been affected by the junk food.
To summarize : “in some people just one high-calorie shake was enough to make people with metabolic disease worse, while in others, relatively short periods of overeating trigger the beginnings of metabolic disease.”
How To Prevent Metabolic Disease
The best way to protect yourself from metabolic disease is to eat healthy and to exercise regularly. Both of these lifestyle habits can prevent all the symptoms that come together to cause metabolic disease.
“Eating junk food is one of those situations where our brains say ‘yes’ and our bodies say ‘no,'” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.
“Even one unhealthy snack has negative consequences that extend far beyond any pleasure it brings.”
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