Have you ever really looked at what’s in the fast foods or junk food you like to eat? Fast foods contain high amounts of sodium, sugar and trans-fats. These ingredients can be harmful to even to healthiest person, but those with Candida overgrowth should absolutely avoid them. Candida weakens your immune system and leaves your gut vulnerable to other opportunistic infections. If you are trying to treat your Candida overgrowth or are susceptible to Candida issues, you should know that consuming fast food or other sugary junk food will directly feed your Candida. Even the “healthy” menu items contains sugar at fast food places.
Aside from these components, fast foods are large composed of empty calories, meaning they provide no nutrient value whatsoever which may prevent healing. Candida is best battled with food – healthy foods like green leafy vegetables and good fats. These foods feed the good bacteria in your gut which work to balance bad bacteria like Candida back to a normal level. It is best to avoid fast foods while treating your Candida and afterwards to prevent future overgrowth. Avoiding fast foods will also keep your heart healthier and decrease your risk of chronic metabolic disorders.
Side effects of junk food
Eating a diet that contains a lot of fast foods can lead to conditions such as gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), IBS, obesity, and metabolic disorders. Fast foods contain a high amount of salt, fat and sugar all of which are well researched to have detrimental effects on your body and health long term.
High sodium consumption is linked to high blood pressure, stroke and kidney problems. Too much dietary salt has also been found to increase calcium urinary excretion and increase bone turnover in women which can lead to osteoporosis long term. Sodium can also lead to dehydration which we often mistake for hunger. While the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg of salt per day, fast food meals like McDonalds’s Big Mac contain 970 mg and what may seem like a healthier option McDonald’s McWrap Grilled Chicken & Bacon contains 1,550 mg.
Studies have shown that high-fat diets directly alter the gut microbiota and can change the functional abilities of the intestines. Changes were observed in both the quantity and the diversity of bacteria. The changes in gut bacteria balance will affect immunity, intestinal permeability, digestion and motility. Long term, these changes and effects can cause conditions such as Candida overgrowth, IBS, and food sensitivity. It also slows down the metabolism.
Metabolism and Candida
Junk foods influence the metabolism because of the nutrients they lack and the fat they contain. Your body actually works to slow metabolism as a way to store extra fat in meals for future energy use. This is a feature that was greatly beneficial to our ancestors who may not have known when their next meal would come, but not so beneficial to us now. To maintain a healthy metabolism you need to eat better foods. Healthy foods provide essential nutrients that the body cannot make itself but require for proper function. They provide pre- and probiotics to maintain balance in the gut bacteria, and vitamins and minerals to keep cells healthy and repair damage.
Candida itself can have an effect on metabolism by influencing hormonal balance. Yeast cells like Candida contain an estrogen binding protein (EBP) which binds to estrogen, tricking the body into making more since less is available for use. This is how estrogen dominance begins which leads to irregular periods, weight gain and increased risk of breast cancer.
Other health issues linked to junk food
The food you eat provides the body with glucose to use for energy. Most fast food meals contain roughly 1,000 calories or more. This is way more calories than the body needs in one meal which causes the body to turn whatever glucose cannot be used up by the muscles into fat storage for later. This can lead to obesity and insulin resistance. Studies have shown that eating fast foods more than twice per week increase the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and obesity.
Trans-fats in fast foods can cause an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol and lead to atherosclerosis, heart disease or stroke. They also disrupt the brain signal of satiety which can cause you to over eat and plays a role in obesity long term.
One of the biggest issues with junk and fast foods we haven’t touched on yet is that these companies specifically market to children. Obesity has become common place in the US, but that does not make it okay. Fast food restaurants lure kids in with toys, playgrounds and fun characters and every parent will tell you how difficult it is manage a stubborn child set on eating one thing. But the truth is that these food companies really only offer addictive, unhealthy foods and chronic disease and deny responsibility just as Big Tobacco long denied lung cancer as an effect from using their products. In fact, if you look at the long term effects of both high fat, high sugar foods compared to tobacco use you will see similar conditions.
Tip and tricks to stay away
So, how do we stay away from fast foods? On the Candida diet, it’s imperative that you do to allow for healing of your gut and body.
The best tip I have for you is cook your meals at home. You will know exactly what is in your food, and can make your portion size what it should truly be.
If you eat fast food for convenience, try making meals ahead of time that you can grab and go from the refrigerator with little effort. Buy a small lunchbox and some glass containers for food storage and you’re all set to portion out your meals. You can even do this for multiple days at a time.
Buy easy, healthy quick snacks like yogurt, nuts and veggies. This is give you something healthy to snack on any time of day without a lot of hassle.
Change your driving route to avoid your favorite fast food places if you can. Out of sight, out of mind.
Go out to eat with a friend who already refuses fast food from their diet. Let them know about your new commitment not to eat fast foods and they will most likely help you order healthier options.
Make small attainable goals for yourself. This is a great tip for life in general. Small goals are more likely to be met without resistance and as you complete them, you will feel more confident in your next upcoming goal completion.