The risk of heart diseases posed by saturated fats and salt in junk foods is a fact generally known and accepted by many. However, experts writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine have warned that excessive sugar – not just salt and fat – in junk foods can also trigger heart disease.
Junk food generally refers to food items that offer little nutritional value but are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. Salted snacks, candies, fried fast food and sugary carbonated beverages are among the most commonly available junk foods even in hospitals and schools.
The paper says that gum disease, which can be triggered by excess sugar consumption, can also prompt an inflammatory response that leads to cardiovascular disease through a process called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Damage to the arteries occurs almost immediately after just one – that’s right, one – junk food meal.
Dr Ahmed Rashid, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge and co-author of the paper, said: “We know that junk food causes heart disease, we assume it’s through salt and fat but people don’t mention sugar, or if they do it is in terms of obesity.”
“As well as having high levels of fats and salt, junk foods often contain a great deal of sugar and the effect this has on oral health may be an important additional mechanism by which junk food elevates risk of CVD.”
“Among different types of junk food, soft drinks have raised particular concerns and are the main source of free sugar for many individuals.”
According to a local survey, 40 per cent of parents in the UAE admitted that they often give in to their children’s demands for junk food. What about you?
5 Junk Food Quick Facts
- People who drank four or more cups of soda or sweetened fruit drinks a day—including diet versions—had a much higher risk for depression.
- Damage to the arteries occurs almost immediately after just one – that’s right, one – junk food meal.
- Once children have eaten fast food, they consume more calories and fewer nutrients for the rest of the day.
- Fast food typically lacks fiber. The less fiber children consume, the more likely they are to develop constipation.
- Junk food and foods with high sugar content deplete energy levels and the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time.