Sounds dramatic, but it’s a lot truer than you’d think. Junk food is doing your body harm on so many levels. It’s flooding your liver, kidneys, and bloodstream with chemicals you have no way of processing. It’s loading you up with way too many calories of empty carbohydrates that get turned into stored fat, and trans fats that slow down heart function. It’s causing oxidative stress that could increase cardiovascular disease and low-grade inflammation that could lead to cancer. Worst of all, it’s so darned delicious that it makes you want to keep eating it even though you know how bad it is for your health.
According to a new study from The Physiological Society, junk food can do just as much damage to your body as a serious health condition. Specifically, it can lead to kidney damage on par with diabetes.
Diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, developed over time as a result of chronically high blood glucose levels. The accumulation of sugar in the blood can lead to organ damage, as the kidneys are unable to process/eliminate the sugar. This is known as diabetic kidney disease, and it plays a major role in the 1.5 million deaths resulting from diabetes every year.
But according to the above-mentioned study, regular junk food consumption can be just as harmful to your kidneys as diabetes. The researchers fed rats junk food (chocolate bars, biscuits, cheese, and marshmallows) over the course of eight weeks, followed by a high fat (60%) diet for another five weeks. The tests revealed that both the high fat and high junk food diet had significant effects on the glucose transporters in the rats’ kidneys. These changes in the glucose transporters were similar to those seen in patients with type 2 diabetes. Basically, the junk food altered the rats’ glucose transporting mechanisms to the extent that their body reacted as if it had diabetes.
This is very concerning news for junk food lovers. Diabetes can be fatal, and at the very least serious if not treated. People can live for decades with diabetes, but the disease is a contributing factor to a wide range of diseases and health conditions. Diabetics have a higher mortality rate and lower survival rate for other health problems. It’s not something to take lightly.
An occasional treat won’t hurt you, but you need to remember what that treat is doing to your body when you eat it. If you’re not careful, junk food consumed in excess will have significant negative effects on your body.
1. Havovi Chichger, Mark E. Cleasby, Surjit K. Srai, Robert J. Unwin, Edward S. Debnam, Joanne Marks. “Experimental type II diabetes and related models of impaired glucose metabolism differentially regulate glucose transporters at the proximal tubule brush border membrane.” Experimental Physiology, 2016.