Is fast food bad for you? All you need to know about its nutrition and impacts

Many fast food establishments now list the number of nutrition. Fast food is generally unhealthy, according to a review from 2015 by Trusted Source. Fast food is often high in salt, sugar, trans or saturated fats, and preservatives. It is also lacking in some nutrients.

A person can make an educated choice by researching the nutritional value of specific fast food items. This information can be found on the websites of most major restaurants.

Even the healthier fast food options are high in salt, sugar, trans fats, and saturated fats. Office of Disease Prevention and Health PromotionTrusted Source states that Americans consume too much of the food components.

Short term impacts

Fast food tends to be high in salt, sugar, and trans or saturated fats. Fast food can have a variety of short-term effects on the body due to its reaction to these nutrients.

Spikes in blood sugar

The refined carbohydrates in fast food cause a spike in blood sugar. This causes an abnormally high Trusted Source surge in insulin, which results in a fall in blood sugar. It can make people feel tired. Insulin can cause people to feel tired.

Blood Pressure

A 2016 small study by TrustSource discovered that high salt intake could have an immediate impact on the functioning of blood vessels. The excess sodium intake is also linked to fluid retention.


One serving of fast food can increase inflammation in the entire body. A study from 2015, Trusted Source, showed that a fast food meal with high saturated fats increased inflammation of the airways in asthmatic individuals. This inflammation is a trigger of asthma attacks.

Affects nutrient intake

Fast food is not usually a source of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fast food can make it difficult for a person to consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The ideal fiber intake is 28 grams of TrustedSource per person, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Binge Eating

Fast food is very palatable. The body breaks it quickly down in the mouth, and it does not require much chewing. It activates the reward centers in the brain quickly.

This combination will train the palate to prefer highly processed and stimulating foods while reducing someone’s desire for fresh, whole foods.

The research from 2018TrustedSource, as well as other studies, has shown a correlation between the consumption of fast food and the occurrence of addiction to food.

One small study conducted in 2017Trusted Source on 15 adults showed that one day of overeating high fats damaged insulin sensitivity. This can trigger a cycle or binge-eating disorders.

Long term impacts

It is well-documented that eating fast food regularly can be harmful to a person’s overall health.

The effects of fast food can be irreversible, according to a study from 2015. Such risks include obesity, insulin resistance, increased riskTrustedSource for digestive conditions like constipation and diverticular diseases, as well as a reduction in healthy gut bacteria.

Immunity and inflammation

A review for 2019 examined the effects of Western diets on an individual’s immune system. This diet is high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats from a limited number of sources.

The authors note that a Western-style diet can lead to increased inflammation, lower control over infection, higher Cancer rates, and an increased risk of autoinflammatory and allergic disease.

Memory and Learning

A 2040 paper, Trusted Source, suggests that fast food diets, which are high in simple carbohydrates and saturated fat, can lead to a decrease in memory and learning. This sort of diet may also raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.


In a 2018 review Source, the authors established a link between fast food consumption and an increase in asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema.

Heart Disease

The FDATrusted Source suggests that a diet high in salt often increases a person’s rate of low-density lipoprotein or “bad.” The United States Department of Agriculture warns that fast food is high in calories. A person who consumes more calories each day than they expend will gain weight. This can lead to obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Trusted Source, obesity increases a person’s risk of developing a variety of serious health problems.


Unintentionally, young people who eat fast food regularly lack basic knowledge of meal preparation, healthy eating, and cooking.

This can lead to a dependency on fast food and prevent people from learning how to cook healthy, balanced meals at home. Healthy meals can help a person maintain their long-term health.

Mental Health Impact

Fast food consumption can also affect mental health, making an individual more susceptible to depression or anxiety.

A studyTrusted Source compared the data of 322 men and 322 women aged 30 or older. The researchers found that healthy foods such as nuts, fish, and leafy greens were associated with a positive mood. Fast food, however, was not. Women also reported a significantly higher level of negative associations with fast foods than men.


Fast food is often high in sodium, sugar, trans fats, and saturated fats. It also contains a lot of calories and preservatives. Many well-conducted studies have proven that consuming these foods in excess can be harmful to your health.

Fast food can have a negative impact on blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation. It may also cause an individual not to consume enough nutrients. Fast food can cause digestive problems, immune system issues, inflammation, heart disease, obesity, and other health problems in the long run.

Not all fast food, however, is bad. Some menu items may be lower in these substances compared to others, while other fast food outlets may focus on offering healthier options.

In order to maintain good health, one should limit one’s intake of fast foods that are low in salt, sugar, fat, and carbohydrates.

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