Although low energy levels and weight gain can not be attributed solely to junk food intake, there is an association between eating high-calorie, n
Although low energy levels and weight gain can not be attributed solely to junk food intake, there is an association between eating high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods and poor health. While it may be tempting to rely on the vending machines to get you through an afternoon slump, or to pick up fast food on your way to your meeting, these choices add up over time and can negatively impact your weight and energy levels.
Sugar and Weight
Junk foods high in sugar are prevalent in the United States, and account for about 16 percent of total energy intake. A 2006 review of 30 studies in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with weight gain and obesity. This may be due to the fact that calorie intake from sweetened beverages has increased by 74 calories per day from 1962 to 2000, contributing to positive energy balance and weight gain.
High-Calorie Snacks and Weight
Eating snack foods that are high in fat and calories also contributes to weight gain. A 2004 study at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that regular consumption of high-calorie snacks such as chocolate or potato chips may increase the amount of time it takes for you to tire of the food and become satisfied. Mindless junk food snacking in front of the television or in the car may also lead to overeating and increased calorie intake.
Choosing a junk food diet high in fat may affect your energy levels in as little as one week, according to a 2009 study conducted at the University of Cambridge. Within nine days of adopting a high-fat diet, rats in the study were only able to run 50 percent as far on a treadmill than rats fed a more balanced diet. This study was not performed on humans, but it can be speculated that a nutrient-poor diet could result in lower energy and physical performance in humans as well.
If you eat junk food, you can make simple dietary changes to improve your energy and control your weight. Choose nutritionally balanced snacks that include fiber and protein to keep you full and satisfied. Try vegetables and hummus, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter or fruit with low-fat string cheese. Drink water or unsweetened coffee or tea instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Take some time to plan ahead so you don’t have to rely on vending machines or fast food when hunger strikes.