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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Unhealthy Diet: Effects and Foods You should Avoid


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Victor Anunobi
Victor Anunobi is an environmentalist, writer and movie enthusiast living in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. He enjoys long walks, food and alternative music.

High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition in which the force of the blood in your arteries is greater than which the blood flows through it. It means that the more blood flows through, the narrower the arteries become, and this could eventually lead to problems such as heart disease.


There are many causes of high blood pressure, but one of the primary causes is the excess intake of sodium which is found in junk food.

An unhealthy diet is a meal that does not provide your body with all the required nutrients to sustain healthy living. It is a diet excess in certain nutrients and ingredients such as carbs, fats, oils, and sugars.

An unhealthy diet is responsible for many health problems that plague society today with obesity being the leading disease.

A study conducted by Dr. Ashkan Afshin, an assistant professor of Health Metrics in the Sciences at the University of Washington, says that an unhealthy diet is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths worldwide, much more than deaths caused by tobacco use and hypertension.

“Poor dietary habits, which is a combination of high intake of unhealthy foods, such as red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages and a low intake of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and seeds, overall causes more deaths than any other risk factors globally,”

With the amount of junk food people consume worldwide these days, it comes as no surprise that certain diseases associated with an unhealthy diet are on the rise. These include obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

Food high in fats, calories, and sugars are in excess. However, an unhealthy diet does not only mean eating food dripping in oil, salt, and sugar, several “fad diets” is also an example of an unhealthy diet.

Fad diets usually focus on rapid weight loss. They make promises of reducing body fat within a number of days by eating or not eating certain foods.

An example is the juice diet which involves consuming only juice from fruits and vegetables to detoxify or lose weight. The potential risk of this diet includes dehydration and developing kidney stones.


Furthermore, developing countries are fast adopting the “Western Diet” which is rich in processed food, artificial sugars and sweeteners, salt, fats, and red meat.

Low vegetable and fruit consumption has been estimated to cause gastrointestinal cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke worldwide.

Effects of Unhealthy Diet


The World Health Organization defines obesity as “the abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat that presents a risk to health.” Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, depression, cancer, and sleep apnea.

While there may be other factors that could cause obesity such as genes, environmental factors and lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet is the leading cause of obesity.

As the world becomes more dependent on processed, sugar-laden fast food, rates of obesity will keep increasing. Potato chips, soda, energy drinks, and deep-fried chicken are given examples of foods high in calories.

Insulin resistance

Unhealthy diet has been linked to the resistance of insulin. Frequent intake of processed and fast food leads to an irregular spike in insulin levels. This could cause Type 2 diabetes

Extra calories

Unhealthy diet contains extra calories that the body does not need. Sugars energy drinks, fast foods, and processed food contain high-calorie content and do not bring much else to the table. These are known as “empty calorie food” and they should be avoided.

Puffiness and bloating

Sodium present in highly processed foods, fast food, and canned foods have high retaining content.

When excess sodium is consumed, water is retained in the body until it can be passed out through the urinary system. This excess sodium can cause you to feel bloated and uncomfortable.

It also shows as extra pounds especially on the face. Reducing intake of greasy and salty foods not only reduces water retention capacity but also reducing your risk for coronary heart problems.


Shortness of breath

Extra calories from unhealthy eating leads to extra pounds. Without regular exercise to counter the increase in weight, you may become obese.

Extra weight in the chest and the stomach increases the work on the muscles that control breathing. This makes performing daily tasks difficult and tiresome.


Studies have shown that people who consume food that is poor in quality – that is canned foods, sugary food, processed meat, fried food, dairy food with high fat content – are more likely to show symptoms of depression.

People tend to overeat when they are depressed and alone. Binge eating on unhealthy food is a way to feel emotionally better.


Carbs, not grease, can trigger acne. Diet high in carbs like French fries and potato chips can cause an acne breakout.

Stroke and heart disease

Elevated cholesterol levels and increased blood pressure from diets high in salt, trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may lead to stroke and coronary heart disease. Eating unhealthy clogs the arteries with fatty substances.


An unhealthy diet is not just about eating foods high in fat and sugars. Excessive fasting is also an example of unhealthy eating.

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the blood sugar level is extremely low, and this can be responsible for triggering migraines and headaches. Since the brain requires a certain amount of blood-glucose to function correctly, a reduction in blood sugar causes headaches.

Also, eating a meal high in sugar can cause a condition known as “reactive hypoglycemia” due to the sudden increase in blood sugar which in turn causes excess production insulin. This causes blood sugar levels to fall too low.

Effect on Reproductive system

Studies have shown that eating unhealthy may affect your reproductive system. Processed food contains phthalates which affect how reproductive hormones in your body work. Hugh levels of these chemicals may lead to congenital disabilities.


Effects on Skeletal system

Sugar in fast foods and processed food increases the level of acidity in your mouth, which in turn breaks down the tooth enamel.

Wearing out of the enamel, you’re your teeth at risk because it gives room for bacterial growth and cavities. Excess weight also leads to enormous pressure on bone density and muscle mass. Obese people are at risk of bone loss and breaking bones.

What are the foods that you should avoid?

Unhealthy Diet

Listed below are some of the foods you should avoid if you want to lose weight and prevent chronic illnesses.

  • Most pizzas
  • Sugary drinks such as soda and iced tea
  • White bread
  • Deep-fried food
  • Pastries, cakes, and cookies
  • Potato chips and French fries
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Energy drinks
  • Candy bars
  • Processed meat
  • Processed cheese
  • Coffee drinks that are high in calories
  • Fast foods
  • Sweeteners such as sorbitol
  • Processed food

Eating healthy may seem difficult and sometimes expensive, but it is easier than you think. An excellent place to start would be to have a variety of foods from the five classes of food.

Try and aim for at least two servings of fruits and vegetables a day. You can occasionally indulge in fast foods and sugary food but only in small amounts.

Avoid drinking sugary drinks, instead drink lots of water. Enjoy cooking and eating with friends and family; this builds a healthy eating habit.

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