Fast Food Linked To Diabetes
The fast food king McDonald’s recently pulled a website recommending employees avoid ‘’unhealthy choices’’ like burgers and fries. Why does McDonald’s advice employees to stay away from fast food? The shocking truth revealed below.
In an odd twist of PR fate, McDonald’s employee guidelines recently told employees to avoid eating foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Considering that most of the menu items at McDonalds are laden with these ingredients, it seems a little strange that the company would not encourage its own employees to eat there.
The news outlet, CNBC, uncovered an employee website where several posts instructed employees with information such as, “Fast foods are almost always high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. Some fast-food restaurants still use hydrogenated vegetable oils for frying. These oils contain trans fats, which increase your risk for heart disease. Some cities have banned or are trying to ban the use of trans fats.”
The article explained that employees should avoid fast food because of these issues. Another post offers a comparison between healthy and unhealthy foods. Listed as an “unhealthy choice” was a picture of fries and a hamburger which looked like many of the available menu choices at the popular fast-food chain.
Once the story was leaked McDonald’s quickly took action and removed the website, stating that the message was “taken out of context.” Clearly, your product is extremely unhealthy if your own employer warns you away from eating the food.
The Trouble with Fast Food
No matter how healthy you try to be, you probably have eaten at McDonald’s at some point in your life. McDonalds offers, inexpensive, quick food items that are easy to eat on-the-run.
The original business model was designed to provide fast, cheap food options to beat competitors in popularity and production quantity. McDonald’s was never meant to provide healthy food options, and most likely, was never intended to become anyone’s primary food source. However, today’s Standard American Diet (sometimes called the SAD diet), is largely made up of foods from places like McDonald’s. Today’s families often eat on the run, and have less time to make better foods at home.
Food is fuel for the body. Most of the nutrients that your body needs come from food. Over-processing foods, however, like fast food restaurants do; destroys the nutrients in foods. In fact, most of the chronic degenerative diseases seen today are caused by a lack of nutrients in the body, likely influenced by too much fast food. The main ingredients in fast food, hydrogenated oils, potatoes, low-quality meat, over-processed grains, and sugar; are some of the worst foods you can put in your body. These ingredients lack nutrients even in their natural state, but in the over-processed state served at a fast-food location, offer virtually no benefit other than filling your stomach for a few hours.
But how unhealthy is fast food really? Doesn’t it offer some benefit? You might be surprised at how terrible fast-food really is for the body.
In early 2012, a 17-year old girl was hospitalized after she collapsed and fainted at school. When the hospital investigated the cause of the collapse, it was found that the girl had eaten nothing but McDonald’s chicken nuggets and fries since the age of two. She had breathing problems, inflamed veins, anemia, and a severe lack of vitamins and minerals in her body. The hospital had to inject her with vitamins so she could survive.
The Unhealthiest Fast-Food Ingredients
While most people eat something other than fast food at least some of the time, even eating fast food more than a couple times a month can have detrimental effects on your body. Take a look at how the main fast-food ingredients contribute to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even respiratory problems:
Hydrogenated oil (sometimes called trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oil) was the food industry’s response to the belief that animal fats contribute to heart disease and a variety of other health problems. Hydrogenated oil is manufactured by changing the chemical structure of liquid oil so that it can form a solid state. Shortening is one of the most common sources of hydrogenated oil.
Basically, hydrogen molecules are fused with the oil molecules at high heat to create the solid form of oil, which lasts much longer on the shelf. In a fast-food restaurant, you’ll find hydrogenated oil used in cookies, bread, chips, fried food, and even salad dressing. Hydrogenated oils are the worst kind of fat you can put in your body. Hydrogenated oil raises LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoprotein; which contributes to the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
One study cited by Web MD found that women who eat the highest amount of trans fat were 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Hydrogenated oil will also increase your risk for getting diabetes. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that replacing trans fats with healthier fats was able to reduce the risk for diabetes by 40 percent. Those are some pretty astounding statistics against hydrogenated oils.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
You know that consuming corn syrup is bad for you, but do you know just how bad? According to studies, fructose is one of the main contributing factors for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Unfortunately, high fructose corn syrup is one of the worst forms of sugar available. This is because it has a higher fructose content than other forms of sugar (which are also bad in large quantities).
However, avoiding high fructose corn syrup on a fast-food diet is impossible. The syrup is in just about every food offered on most fast-food menus, including in burgers, salad dressing, drinks, desserts, and sometimes even the meat products.
Why is fructose so bad for you? Your body is designed to use sugar as a fast source of energy. It burns sugar faster than any other form of energy. However, sugar is addictive, and can have detrimental effects on the body. Consuming high levels of fructose triggers the body to create more insulin to remove the sugar from the blood and into the body’s cells. Once in the cells, the body stores sugar as fat, because any sugar energy not used is converted into fat for later use.
Over time, you can become resistant to insulin, which is how type 2 diabetes forms. Additionally, a high amount of fat in your body triggers the production of leptin, which tells your body to stop eating as much. However, flooding the body with sugar eventually causes your body to form a resistance to leptin. With so much added sugar to the diet, the body is simply unable to process it all.
Your body can only handle about 2 tablespoons of sugar at a time. Most sodas have about 4 tablespoons of sugar just in 12 ounces. A 32-ounce soda contains about 12 tablespoons of sugar. Your body does not want all that sugar hanging around in the bloodstream, so it uses insulin to move it into your body’s cells. Once in the cells, the sugar converts into “potential energy” which is fat. Over time, your body will become less sensitive to insulin signals.
Numerous studies have found that a diet high in sugar contributes to more weight gain and faster weight gain than diets without sugar. Researchers from the University of Florida in 2008 found that when rats were fed a high-calorie, high-sugar diet (similar to food items found at McDonald’s and other fast-food chains), they gained weight faster, had additional weight gain, were more likely to become diabetic, and had higher triglyceride levels.
The USDA recommends a diet rich in whole grains. Whole grains are simply grains that have not been processed and retain their natural nutrients. Processed grains, like those found at fast-food chains, are empty carbohydrates. Most of these grains are heated, crushed, mashed, and otherwise processed until all of the nutrients are removed. What little nutrients are in refined grain products are usually added in after the grain is processed.
Studies show that processed grains are linked to a higher risk for heart disease and death. One study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in 2003 showed that a diet full of refined grains and little sugar had much higher health risk associations than a diet high in whole grains and vegetable products.
According to the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, high HDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels are associated with diets high in refined grains. Refined grains are also high in glucose. When a person is insulin and leptin resistant, some glucose is converted into fructose in the liver- essentially converting your bun into candy in your body. This makes consuming refined grains one of the fastest ways to become diabetic.
The meat that you eat matters. While meat products do contain high levels of vitamins and minerals necessary for your overall health, the wrong kind of meat can do more harm than good. According to the Environmental Working Group, many of the commonly-used products in conventionally-prepared meat are extremely toxic to the body.
|Toxic Ingredients in Meat|
|Antibiotics: Although fewer farmers use antibiotics than in the past, many still do. Antibiotics and are linked to a variety of health problems, including the spread of antibiotic-resisting strains of common illnesses, contamination of soil and water, and some scientists believe that medications given to animals transfer to people when their meat is consumed- meaning you are being drugged every time you eat a fast-food burger.|
|Toxins: Environmental toxins are easily passed through animal protein and fat. According to studies conducted by the FDA, certain environmental toxins can contribute to reproductive issues, cancer, heart disease, and even diabetes. Studies have shown that most humans are exposed to 95 percent of these toxins through animal fats. Sadly, fish, which should be the healthiest form of meat for humans, is usually the most contaminated with toxins. Every time you eat a fast-food meat, you are consuming hormones, antibiotics, and toxins that can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and the creation of super-bugs.|
|Hormones: Growth hormones are used to make meat bigger, faster. Studies from the FDA point to growth hormones causing problems in people, like breast cancer, prostate cancer, tissue inflammation, and more.|
Conventionally prepared vegetables have much lower nutritional content than organically-farmed vegetables. A study from The American Nutrition Association in 2002 compared the nutritional content of organically-grown produce with conventionally-grown produce. Completely aside from the issue of pesticides and herbicides on conventional vegetables, the vegetables have much less nutritional value. The study found that organic vegetables usually had between 10 percent and 300 percent higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than their conventionally-grown counterparts.
The biggest differences were seen in minerals selenium (necessary for mood and mental health), iodine (necessary for thyroid health and metabolism), and chromium (necessary for regulating cholesterol, monitoring blood sugar, and preventing high blood pressure).
By consuming fast food, you are not only contributing to an increased risk for diabetes and other heath problems, but you are also taking away the vital vitamins and minerals that can help prevent those issues from occurring in your body.
Scientists invented artificial sweeteners so that people could have sweets guilt-free. However, as with most chemically-altered foods, the alternative is so much worse than the original food item.
While sugar is extremely bad for you in large amounts, artificial sweeteners have their own set of health risks. According to studies, artificial sweeteners can cause problems such as:
- Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain tumors
- Weight gain
- Eye problems
- Liver and kidney problems
If the above ingredients in fast food weren’t bad enough, most fast food contains high amounts of chemical additives to make the “food” taste and look better. A lot of fat-free products use chemical additives in place of fat to avoid adding calories.
However, the reason a lot of these additives add no additional calories is simply because they are not food at all. The body cannot process the chemicals, which leads to some pretty strange side effects.
Caramel coloring: This color is usually made by mixing sugar with ammonia. If that doesn’t sound bad enough, it can also cause cancer. Potassium bromate: Some bread products still contain this dangerous ingredient. The link between this chemical and cancer is so strong, it is banned in many countries, and California requires food manufacturers to use a warning label if they add potassium bromate to their foods.
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT): These chemicals are often used as a preservative in fast-foods. Both of these chemicals have been linked to cancer in animal studies.
Azodicarbonamide: This chemical is what gives McDonald’s buns their characteristic yellow-orange color. Unfortunately, the additive is highly dangerous, and can lead to asthma and other breathing problems.
MSG: Most fast-food chains use MSG to enhance the flavor of other foods. MSG can lead to brain-cell damage, nausea, headaches, chest pains, and allover weakness. Nitrates: Many of the foods used in fast-food restaurants are laden with nitrates (used as a preservative). Nitrates have been linked to health problems like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.
How Much Fast Food Can I Eat?
For the most part, unless you already have diabetes or another serious health condition, eating fast food every now and then probably won’t hurt you too much. However, there is a fine line between an acceptable amount of fast-food and eating too much. The National Institute of Health conducted a 15-year long study on the dangers of fast food in 2004. The researchers found that participants who ate fast food twice a week or more were about 10 pounds heavier than participants who ate fast food once a week or less.
The most surprising thing that the researchers found in this study was that twice-a-week fast food eaters also had a doubled risk of developing insulin resistance, which can quickly lead to the development of type-2 diabetes. In short, one of the best ways to avoid developing diabetes is to eat fast food fewer than twice a week.
Prevent Diabetes and Other Fast-Food Diseases
One of the easiest things you can do to prevent health issues like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure is to simply eat fast food fewer than twice a week. However, many of us also have high quantities of the same unhealthy ingredients in our diets at home. Luckily, there are some things you can do that will help counteract some of the dangers of these foods.
Clearly, avoiding sugar in the form of fructose and glucose will help reduce your risk of getting diabetes and a variety of other deadly health problems. Try to limit sugar to less than 2 teaspoons at a time, no more than one or twice a day. This will significantly reduce the damaging effects of sugar on the body. Watch for hidden sources of sugar, like pasta, soup, pasta sauce, dairy products, and bread products.
Eat Healthy Fats
Eating fat with sugar slows the rate at which sugar hits the bloodstream. This means that you should always try to consume some amount of healthy fat when you eat sugar. For example, you could try eating toast with butter, or using coconut oil in cookies.
Healthy facts include:
- Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs)
- Saturated fat in moderation
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Monounsaturated fats (healthiest if cold-pressed and not heated past the smoke point)
Eat Your Veggies
Eating a large quantity of vegetables (and moderate amounts of fruit) are the healthiest way to ensure you receive the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. However, it is important to choose organic vegetables, when possible, as non-organic vegetables contain high levels of pesticides, herbicides, and are lacking in nutritional value. The longer vegetables sit at the store, the fewer nutrients they contain as well. Consequently, the best way to consume your veggies is from your own garden, or purchased from a local organic farmer.
Stabilize Blood Sugar with Supplements
High blood sugar is caused by a variety of contributing factors. Luckily, the following supplements are know to help remove excess sugar from the body, reduce diabetes risk, and improve blood sugar levels:
Chromium: Remember the mineral that most conventional produce is lacking? This essential mineral fights high blood sugar. According to a 1999 study conducted by The University of Alabama, chromium is responsible for moving glucose and nutrients into the body’s cells and out of the blood stream.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: This amino acid is essential for moving sugar out of the blood stream. A 1995 study from the Mayo Foundation discovered that ALA could improve nerve blood flow and reduce oxidative stress.
Vanadium: This essential trace mineral is necessary for removing sugar from the blood. In an animal study from 1998, the mineral was shown to improve blood sugar and triglyceride levels, reducing overall diabetes risk.
Control Diabetes With Food
You don’t have to suffer from diabetes. In fact, by following the right diet plan, it is possible to reverse diabetes entirely. Even without making any other dietary changes, simply by reducing your fast food consumption to two or fewer times a week, you can reduce your risk of getting diabetes and other deadly diseases by about 50 percent- which means your lunch at McDonald’s is literally killing you!