From Dr. Mercola:
By Dr. Mercola
If you overdo it on pizza, macaroni and cheese, chips, and ice cream, you might worry about what it’s going to do to your thighs or mid-section. But binging on junk food isn’t only a matter of weight gain. It might have far more serious repercussions than that.
People who ate a diet focused on macaroni and cheese, processed lunchmeat, sausage biscuits, mayonnaise, and microwavable meals with unhealthy fats, for example, showed serious negative changes to their metabolism after just five days.
After eating the junk-food diet, the study participants (12 healthy college-aged men) muscles’ lost the ability to oxidize glucose after a meal, which could lead to insulin resistance down the road.1
What Happens to Your Metabolism After Five Days of Junk Food
Even though their caloric intake remained unchanged, when men ate a junk-food diet their muscles’ ability to oxidize glucose was disrupted in just five days’ time. This is a significant change, because muscle plays an important role in clearing glucose from your body after a meal.
Under normal circumstances, your muscles will either break down the glucose or store it for later use. Your muscles make up about 30 percent of your body weight, so if you lose this key player in glucose metabolism it could pave the way for diabetes and other health problems.2 As reported by TIME:3
“‘The normal response to a meal was essentially either blunted or just not there after five days of high-fat feeding,’ [Matthew] Hulver, [PhD, department head of Human Nutrition, Food, and Exercise at Virginia Tech Hulver] says.
Before going on a work-week’s worth of a fatty diet, when the men ate a normal meal they saw big increases in oxidative targets four hours after eating.
That response was obliterated after the five-day fat infusion. And under normal eating conditions, the biopsied muscle used glucose as an energy source by oxidizing glucose. ‘That was essentially wiped out after,’ he says. ‘We were surprised how robust the effects were just with five days.’”
Just One Bad Meal Can Mess with Your Health
Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me was one of the first to vividly demonstrate the consequences of trying to sustain yourself on a diet of fast food. After just four weeks, Spurlock’s health had deteriorated to the point that his physician warned him he was putting his life in serious jeopardy if he continued the experiment.
But as the featured study showed, it doesn’t take a virtual month to experience the health effects of a poor diet. In fact, the changes happen after just one meal, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.4
When you eat a meal high in unhealthy fats and sugar, the sugar causes a large spike in your blood-sugar levels called “post-prandial hyperglycemia.” In the long term this can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, but there are short-term effects as well, such as:
Your tissue becomes inflamed (as occurs when it is infected) Your blood vessels constrict Damaging free radicals are generated Your blood pressure may rise higher than normal A surge and drop in insulin may leave you feeling hungry soon after your meal
The good news is that eating a healthy meal helps your body return to its normal, optimal state, even after just one. Study author James O’Keefe of the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri told TIME:5
“Your health and vigor, at a very basic level, are as good as your last meal.”
See Inside Your Stomach After a Meal of Instant Meals…
Dr. Braden Kuo of Massachusetts General Hospital used a pill-sized camera to see what happens inside your stomach and digestive tract after you eat ramen noodles, one common type of instant noodles. The results were astonishing…
In the video above, you can see ramen noodles inside a stomach. Even after two hours, they are remarkably intact, much more so than the homemade ramen noodles, which were used as a comparison. This is concerning for a number of reasons.
For starters, it could be putting a strain on your digestive system, which is forced to work for hours to break down this highly processed food (ironically, most processed food is so devoid of fiber that it gets broken down very quickly, interfering with your blood sugar levels and insulin release).
When food remains in your digestive tract for such a long time, it will also impact nutrient absorption, but, in the case of processed ramen noodles, there isn’t much nutrition to be had. Instead, there is a long list of additives, including the toxic preservative tertiary-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ).
This additive will likely remain in your stomach along with the seemingly invincible noodles, and no one knows what this extended exposure time may do to your health. Common sense suggests it’s not going to be good…
Eating Processed Foods Linked to Chronic Disease
Research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who consumed more instant noodles had a significantly greater risk of metabolic syndrome than those who ate less, regardless of their overall diet or exercise habits.6
Past research also analyzed overall nutrient intake between instant-noodle consumers and non-consumers, and found, as you might suspect, that eating instant noodles contributes little value to a healthy diet.
The instant-noodle consumers had a significantly lower intake of important nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin A, niacin, and vitamin C compared with non-consumers.7 Those who ate instant noodles also had an excessive intake of energy, unhealthy fats, and sodium (just one package may contain 2,700 milligrams of sodium).8
Not to mention, refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods quickly break down to sugar in your body. This increases your insulin and leptin levels, and contributes to insulin resistance, which is the primary underlying factor…