Junk food: Side effects on the immune system are worse than you can imagine, studies

Junk food: Side effects on the immune system are worse than you can imagine, studies

Eating junk food has a particularly negative effect on the immune system as evidenced by some research

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What to eat junk food not a healthy choice is something we all more or less know. But how does the body react when we consume chips, foods rich in sugar and fat, etc.? In particular, research has revealed that eating junk food has a detrimental effect on the immune system.

When our body is "attacked" by viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms, or is grappling with an infection, it unleashes all its resources to stem the situation, in particular it activates the white blood cells. What we may not imagine is that it does the same even when we eat junk food.

This was discovered by a German study conducted by Anna Christ, Eicke Latz and their team at the University of Bonn which, however, is not the only one to have analyzed the consequences of consuming unhealthy food on our body's defenses.

Everyone's talking about it these days, but really the Bonn study was conducted in 2018. This obviously does not detract from its validity, pending new confirmations and updates from other researches.

But now let's see more specifically what happens to our immune system when we eat junk food.


The body reacts as if there is a bacterial infection

The Bonn study found that the body reacts to junk food with a strong inflammatory response in a similar way to what happens when there is an infection in the body by dangerous bacteria. 

We have already talked about it in a previous article (Read also: Fast food: for our immune system it is like an infection)

Junk food makes the immune system more aggressive 

The longer a body is exposed to unhealthy foods, the more aggressive the immune system will become. It might sound like a good thing but it's not. The defenses of our body, in fact, are not designed to be in a constant state of intense activation, and when this is the case, they reprogram themselves completely.

The inflammatory process could be irreversible

The Bonn scientists warn that this process may be irreversible, meaning that since cells that produce granulocytes and monocytes (white blood cells) have a memory they use to cope with attacks from microorganisms, returning to a healthy diet may not be enough to stop the inflammatory process now underway and triggered by the consumption of junk food.

This response is linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease 

The University of Bonn study linked the inflammatory immune response to conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These long-term changes may be involved in the development of arteriosclerosis and diabetes, diseases related to the consumption of the Western diet, the study statement read.

So while we've always known junk food was unhealthy, the way it affects the immune system could make it even more dangerous than expected.

Junk food could weaken the immune system 

There are other studies that show a connection between high sugar consumption and a weaker immune system. Considering that junk food is largely made up of refined sugars and carbohydrates, this could actually weaken the immune system.   

All this research obviously needs to be investigated but it seems clear enough that, in some way (and not good), industrial and processed foods, rich in sugars and saturated fats, affect our immune system.

What is highlighted by these researches is therefore to be taken seriously and should remind us of the importance of always eating in a healthy and balanced way, avoiding the temptations of junk food. 

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Read also:

  • Junk Food: The 10 worst foods to avoid in our diets
  • Junk Food: Here's how junk foods are also bad for the brain
  • Junk food and cancer: possible correlations in a new study
  • The free app that helps you resist junk food and lose weight by playing, created by Finnish scientists
  • Fight against junk food: no ads for junk food on TV until 21pm in the UK
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