Eating healthily is becoming more and more significant in society today. People are more knowledgeable on the subject, and there is more help and advice on hand for someone who wants to eat healthily than there has ever been before. Also well-known are the range of health risks posed to those who don’t eat healthily.
Research undertaken by health bodies and scientists has proved that regularly eating the wrong things can have serious negative effects on the body. If people are not getting the right amount of nutrients, vitamins and enough of the other vital food groups, they are putting themselves at risk of health problems, both now and in their later life.
Here, we discuss just some of the health risks associated with having a poor diet.
Eating too much of the wrong kinds of food and drink, such as processed foods, alcohol and those that are high in fat or sugar, can contribute to the gradual development of obesity. Obesity rates in the UK are the highest of anywhere in Europe, and the USA has the highest rates of anywhere in the world. In the UK, this figure has increased dramatically in the past few years, to the stage now where more than 20 per cent of the populations are now classed as obese – that is more than one in every five people. Obesity puts stress on all parts of a person’s body, increasing the risk of developing other major health problems.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be caused by both obesity and unstable blood sugar levels. When an individual consumes a lot of refined grains and foods rich in sugar, their glucose levels “spike” and “drop” repeatedly and, over time, this can lead to insulin resistance, characterised by a decreased sensitivity to insulin. Then, if left uncorrected, this condition can advance to Type 2 diabetes. According to the NHS: “approximately 2.9 million people are affected by diabetes” in the UK, with “around 850,000” thought to be undiagnosed. (NHS, 2013)
The problem in many people who eat unhealthily is the fact that they are overfed but undernourished. In simple terms, this means that plenty of food is consumed, but what they are eating has been stripped of nutrients and is not offering them anything positive health-wise. While these foods may keep someone full in the short-term, they do not provide the nutrients needed for a person to stay healthy. Most of the necessary vitamins and minerals are found in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
Unhealthy foods are high in things like sodium, sugar, cholesterol and ‘bad’ fats. When eaten on a regular basis, these increase a person’s blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, both of which put a huge amount of strain on the heart over time. This can mean an increase in the risk of heart attack, strokes and coronary artery disease.