Watch what you eat: Junk food may lead to blood sugar fluctuations

You’d be mistaken to think junk food only affects your waistline. Docs say it goes farther up to your brain, affecting moods
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

HYDERABAD: ‘A moment on the lips, forever on hips,’ Rachel’s sister Amy said on the popular sitcom Friends. But junk food, long before it makes us obese, influences our behaviour, mood and thinking — it messes with the brain and hormonal system which monitor every organ in our body. The moment we consume junk food, we’re spoilt with cravings. These cravings, if satisfied, can immediately lead to blood sugar fluctuations that can result in rapid mood changes, including low mood and irritability.

Doctors, nutritionists and fitness experts elaborate on how junk food alters brain function and causes mood, behaviour, cognitive and neurological changes in the long run. Dr Jagadeesh Kumar, senior consultant physician at KIMS Hospitals, says, “Junk food contains high levels of hydrolysed fats, salt and sugar, and lacks fibre, vitamins and minerals. All the ingredients are harmful to our brain — sugar and salts can immediately intertwine, causing endocrine disturbances which can lead to all sorts of mood and behavioural changes.”

Oxidation in the brain
This apart, prolonged consumption can lead to oxidation in the brain (which is like rusting) due to a lack of antioxidants and good fats that come from a balanced diet. “Our brain is dependent on glucose, but the brain organ is 60 per cent fat. This fat, if it is fed by unnatural hydrolysed and trans fats (which are in abundance in junk food), can lead to poor functioning of the brain. As a result, we have mood and behaviour changes. Sometimes, these changes can lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression,” says Dr Sujhata Stephen, a nutritionist at Care Hospitals.

So, while some people may not get fat, thanks to good metabolism and physical activity, their brain is corroded. “For a healthy brain, we need good micronutrients such as iron, zinc and copper, which help the neurons perform better. The brain also needs anti-oxidants (that prevent it from oxidation) and healthy fats such as Omega 3 and 6, which help neurons function better,” Dr Sujhata adds.

Perpetual fatigue
According to fitness experts, the body needs a lot of glucose and carbohydrates while working out. “We do get a lot of glucose and carbohydrates from junk food, but along with salts, sugars and unhealthy fats which are not needed. Protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fat-rich diets can help one perform better for longer hours, without feeling exhausted. Junk food is bad for the stomach and mood — a bad stomach affects our mood, leaving us with no energy to work out,” says B Rahul, a fitness trainer at Myo Movement, Jubilee Hills Road No. 51.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express