Effects of fast food consumption (part 2)

To address increased cases of fast-food intake, disseminating information on dangers that such food poses on ones health is vital. One of the dangers posed by fast-food intake is their contribution to onset and progression of overweight and obese conditions, and type 2 diabetes. One longitudinal study, carried out over a 15 year-period, for instance evaluated how fast-food habits, as reported by participants, were associated body-weight and insulin-resistance changes (Pereira, et al. 36). With relation to weight gain, the study implicated frequency of fast-food intake at both baseline and follow-up evaluations. For instance, in the baseline evaluation, after adjusting for possible confounding factors (i.e. e.g. lack of physical activity), a difference of 3 times per week in the frequency of fast-food intake was noted to lead to a mean weight gain both for black and white population (Pereira et al. 39). The blacks were relatively affected more, with an increase of 2.2kg following such frequency variance, compared to an increase of 1.6 kg noted in the whites (Pereira et al. 39).  In the follow-up study, the association between frequency of uptake of fast foods was more pronounced for the whites (1.8 kg) as compared to the blacks (0.7 kg) (Pereira et al. 40). When the mean weight gain for the 15-year period was compared for those frequenting fast-food joints at least twice a week and those whose patronage of such joints was more curtailed (less than once a week), the study found out that the former group’s weight gain was higher with as much as 4.5kg (Pareira et al. 39).

With respect to insulin resistance, Pereira et al also found that frequency of fast-food intake was associated positively with insulin resistance in both black and white populations (40). For the white population, such association was heightened in the case of sampled individuals who were already overweight during baseline evaluation, as compared to the individuals bearing a normal weight at the baseline assessment (Pereira et al. 40). Comparing effects of frequency of fast-food intake on insulin resistance between high frequency (those who visited fast-food joints more than twice a week) and low frequency (less than one visit per week to fast-food joints) groups, the study found that the former had as much as two-folds increase in insulin resistance relative to the latter (Pereira et al. 40). Insulin resistance predicts development of type 2 diabetes since it renders cells unresponsive to insulin action thus necessitating higher secretion or intakes of insulin, to ensure its physiological role (facilitating absorption of blood glucose) proceeds unabated (Leong and Wilding 225). When the pancreas is incapable of meeting the enhanced demand for insulin, blood glucose levels increase gradually, initially, immediately after food intake – a period when blood glucose levels are high even in normal conditions – but eventually even in a fasting state (Leong and Wilding 225). Such a condition results in type 2 diabetes whose gravity may necessitate frequent administration of insulin, where dietary and physical activity regimen prove ineffective.  Go to part 3 here.

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