This Is What Happens When You Stop Eating Fast Food

Fast food may be a convenient alternative to cooking when you're busy or in a hurry, but eating it on a regular basis can take a toll on your health. That's because fast food is typically much higher in calories, fat, and sodium compared to healthier meals prepared at home (via Livestrong). When consumed in excess, fast food can potentially lead to weight gain and an array of other health issues, according to Livestrong.

For instance, a diet high in saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, while a diet high in sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure. Many types of fast food also tend to have a high glycemic index, which can cause your blood sugar levels to spike and crash. That's because high glycemic foods can introduce glucose into your bloodstream much faster than foods that have a lower glycemic index, like whole grains or vegetables. Having too much glucose in your system can be especially harmful if you're diabetic or prediabetic, per Livestrong.

Giving up fast food can improve your health

Eliminating fast food from your daily diet, however, can actually improve your health and reduce the risk of harmful conditions on your body (via Eat This, Not That). People who eat fast food more than twice a week are 1.5 times more likely to develop heart disease so cutting back on fast food can help lower your risk of getting the disease. According to a 2020 study published in the British Medical Journal, replacing salt with low-sodium salt substitutes was estimated to reduce the rate of heart disease. The substitutes' effects of the intervention on systolic blood pressure could also avert an estimated 743,000 nonfatal cardiovascular events annually.

Reducing your fast food intake can also help boost your mood. Research has found that fast food consumption is actually associated with higher rates of depression. That's because the ingredients in fast food are more likely to trigger inflammation. In 2013, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that women who ate inflammatory foods on a regular basis have a 41% greater risk of developing depression than people who maintain diets that are high in foods, like vegetables and leafy greens, that actually fight inflammation.