How Excess Sugar, Salt & Fat Consumption Impact Health
We all like to treat ourselves to our favourite takeaway but having too much sugar, salt and processed fats can impact our health.
Western diets typically contain far too much sugar, salt and processed damaged fats. These contribute to excessive amounts of inflammation in the body. At the same time diets that have higher amounts of these types of foods usually have far fewer natural wholefoods like vegetables, fish, nuts, and seeds. These foods have an anti-inflammatory action in the body.
So, with an imbalanced diet it sets the scene for underlying chronic inflammation which is the cause of most diseases we face today.
Sugar (including those found in refined carbohydrates) leads to higher amounts of “bad” cholesterol versus the “good” type. Excess amounts of sugar in the bloodstream are converted to fat causing fat storage especially around the abdomen. Fat stored in this area is more conducive to cardiovascular disease.
Over the course of a 15-year study published in 2014, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar. Sugar feeds pathogenic gut bacteria and suppresses the beneficial bacteria creating dysbiosis.
Imbalanced gut bacteria has far reaching impacts to our health as we now know so much how bacterial species contribute to disease including autoimmunity, obesity, and mental health. And of course, too much sugar is a major driver of insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.
Processed fats and cheaper vegetable oils used in cooking tend to be damaged easily by heat, processing, and exposure to light. This means that they create harmful free radicals in the body (liken this to a piece of apple that quickly turns brown in the light) that damage our cells and our arteries and increase inflammation.
It’s important to differentiate between these types of fats and the essential fats found in oily fish, nuts and seed and the good fats found in avocados and olive oil. Even a little bit of saturated fat from animal products is significantly better for you than any processed fats or those from cheap vegetable oils.
Salt is one of our electrolytes which is important to body function (such as muscle function and nerve impulses), however too much may contribute to high blood pressure which increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease – processed foods tend to have higher levels of salt (sodium chloride).
If you’re looking to treat yourself to a takeaway but are concerned about the nutritional information of your favourite order, then check out this article. It can give you some useful insight into some of the smarter alternatives you could choose.
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