By SHANNON SKAE, health and life coach at Revive with Shan
What is fast food? And is it bad for us?
Fast food is food that is easily prepared, commercialised, and heavily processed. It does not require much time to make and is high in saturated fats, trans fats, preservatives, and additives.
Examples of fast foods include cakes, sweets, biscuits, chocolate, sugary drinks and sodas, takeaways, and processed foods such as deli meats.
This food is tasty and can be a feel-good meal in moderation. But having too much of it can have adverse health side effects such as:
- Acne and other skin issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Increased risk of depression
- Negative impact on dental health such as cavities
- Heightened cholesterol
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Weight gain and obesity
- Bloating, constipation, and other gastrointestinal discomforts
- Heart disease
Now do not get me wrong, I love fast food from time to time, especially on weekends – especially when I am too tired to cook and need some fatty food to soak up the fatigue. But I also used to use fast food to binge eat.
Binge eating is when an individual consumes a large amount of food in one sitting and then has feelings of guilt, shame, and a loss of control afterwards.
This eating usually occurs when a person deprives, restricts, and has a militant mindset around food.
Examples of binge eating to look out for:
- Eating even though you are full
- Eating the whole package and all its contents and not knowing how to stop
- Eating a considerable quantity of food in a very short time (under 2 hours)
- Eating to the point of being uncomfortable
- Having seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths at a celebration
- Not wanting to eat out at restaurants because you cannot stop yourself from eating substantial quantities of food
- Preferring to eat alone when you eat unhealthy food so others cannot see how much you eat
Remember, cravings are also messengers of the body. If you binge eat on the weekends with fast foods, you are either not eating enough calories or are working through something emotionally and relying on food to treat this. Contact a psychologist or health coach to help you with these feelings/cravings if this is the case.
It is important to remember that having less nutritious food is good for the soul in moderation, but it is likely to be risky for your health if you consume fast food more than once a week.
I recommend adopting the 80/20 rule: 80% healthy, 20% less nutritious foods.
Enjoy your food but also be aware of what food does for your physical and mental wellbeing.