Aging is something that every person has to face up to. There are many factors which can affect aging aside from the passing of time. Some obvious culprits are the sun, which can damage skin if people go outside unprotected, and cigarettes, which cause damage internally and externally. Another factor which affects aging is our diets. Can eating a poor diet of fast food really speed up the aging process?
Fast food is one of the most prominent causes of obesity. It’s quick, convenient and cheap, and many people rely on fast food as a part of their fast-paced lifestyles, grabbing a quick bite between activities to save making a meal from scratch at home. Busy parents also often resort to instant meals and canned or packaged goods to feed their families in place of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy, balanced meals.
All of this can lead to obesity, as excessive fats and sugars in fast foods increase daily calorie intake as well as building up negative attitudes to healthy foods. Obesity can lead to a number of health problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and organ damage which means that obese people will suffer from health problems earlier in life.
However, there is more to the aging effects of fast food than simply obesity. A person of average weight who eats a diet of fast food will still age faster than a person who is eating a healthy diet.
Repairing the Body
One of the biggest reasons that a diet of burgers, fries and sweet treats will age the body faster is that it will not provide the body with the nutrients it needs to rebuild and repair. Cells regenerate constantly, and every few months, most of the body’s cells have been replaced with new ones.
For this repair to work effectively, a person’s body requires the right raw materials. For skin regeneration, vitamin A is one of the most crucial nutrients, although vitamins B, C and E are also responsible for maintaining healthy skin.
A fast food diet does not contain a large amount of these nutrient and vitamins, which means that skin is not repaired as well as it should be, and becomes dry, and even begins to wrinkle prematurely.
With a fast food diet, not only are people not getting the nutrients they need, they are also introducing harmful chemicals into their bodies. Trans fats are often found in processed or fast foods, and can damage the body in several ways which lead to premature aging. Trans fats cause inflammation within the cells, which damages chromosomes and accelerates the aging process. Trans fat molecules also damage cells because, as a man made chemical, they are the wrong shape and distort the shape of cell walls, damaging cellular structure which prevents the human body from regenerating as effectively.
Trans fats are only one of the ingredients often found in fast food which damages the body. Sucrose, or refined sugar, is another culprit which ages the body. Excess sugar in the human body slows the healing system by attaching to protein molecules and accelerating the aging of cells. Refined carbohydrates cause similar problems, as the break-down causes a sugar rush in the body, and insulin is released to combat the sugar spike. Large quantities of insulin can cause age-related disease such as diabetes and heart disease.
The best way to avoid the effects of aging which are caused by poor diet and excessive consumption of refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, trans-fats and other harmful ingredients is to cut back on fast food and processed foods. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables contain essential nutrients, and a healthy, balanced diet will certainly slow the effects of aging.