Fast food. It’s cheap, convenient and marketed to us when we’re young, in the hope that we’ll be consumers for life. For many companies, that strategy has paid off. But there’s a wrinkle in that math. If we eat too much of this stuff, that frequent consumer’s lifespan could be a lot shorter than if he’d eaten more food unassociated with clowns, colonels, kings, and freckle-faced girls with red pigtails.

See, in many cases, fast food is highly processed and contains large amounts of carbohydrates, added sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium. These foods are almost always high in calories while offering little in the way of nutrition. And when fast food frequently replaces nutritious whole foods in your diet, it can lead to all sorts of bad health outcomes. Derailing your weight loss goals is just one. Here are 5 things you can expect a fast-food diet to do to your body in a relatively short amount of time.

1.You’ll Increase Your Obesity Risk

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If you switch from a balanced diet of whole foods to one of fast food, the most obvious difference you’d register would be the enormous uptick in (largely empty) calories you’d consume per meal. And what’s worse, is the high calorie intake can lead to obesity, which puts you at risk for developing chronic diseases.

2.You’ll Also Starve

 

…nutritionally speaking. The high calories in fast food are accompanied by low nutritional content. Too much of that, and your body will begin to lack the necessary nutrients it needs to function properly. Your body is temporarily full with empty foods that don’t provide nourishment, so even though you may have eaten a lot of calories, you won’t be satisfied for long.

3.You May Increase Your Cancer Risk

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PhIP is short for 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo(4,5-b)pyridine. According to a 2008 study , this catchy-sounding chemical appeared in over 100 samples of fast food grilled chicken that were tested in this study. This substance, which forms when meat is heated to a certain temperature, is associated with human breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

4.You’ll Heighten Your Risk of Heart Disease

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Fats commonly found in fast food are made up of saturated fatty acids. Those are fats that are solid at room temperature, often derived from animals and some plant oils. You’ll find it abundant in, say, a cheeseburger. White warns that these fats can raise your blood cholesterol levels, which leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

5.Memory and Cognitive Function Will Decline

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Fast foods like bacon burgers, some fried foods, and milkshakes are often high in saturated fats.It’s been long established that saturated fats can negatively impact the heart, but there’s also research that suggests high saturated fat intake may negatively impact brain function and memory. Higher intakes of saturated fatty acids may impair memory speed and flexibility and prospective memory (your ability to remember to do what you intended).