McDonald’s is number one in California, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
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It’s no secret that fast food is unhealthy. What you may not have considered is that in addition to affecting your weight, your brain, heart and digestive health, consuming fast food frequently can make you more prone to infections, be it from viruses, bacteria and other foreign bodies. This is because it can negatively influence your immune system.
How fast food affects the immune system
Fast food is often highly processed and full of added sugars, fats, and salt. Researchers from Ohio State University point out that the consumption of this type of food activates the innate immune system and impairs adaptive immunity, which causes chronic inflammation and impaired host defense against viruses.
Unbalances bacteria in the gut
Diets rich in fast food and highly processed foods can cause inflammation, increase intestinal permeability, and thereby cause an imbalance in bacteria in the gut, which can negatively affect your immune health, ”Healthline shares.
This link between the gut microbiota and the immune system is confirmed by the Harvard School of Public Health, which notes that it is believed that a Western diet rich in refined sugar and red meat and low in fruits and vegetables can promote alterations in healthy gut microorganisms, which results in chronic inflammation of the gut and associated suppressed immunity.
High sugar content
Eating or drinking too much sugar slows down immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after ingesting a couple of sugary drinks, explains the medical journal WebMD.
Supports obesity and type 2 diabetes
The high rate of consumption of diets high in saturated fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates contributes to the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Researchers are discovering that obesity also interferes with the body’s immune response, putting obese people at increased risk of infection from pathogens such as influenza and novel coronavirus”Shared the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Obesity as an independent risk factor for viruses such as influenza, is possibly due to the poor function of T cells, a type of white blood cell.
Diabetes is a chronic disease. Autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders attack and potentially disable immune cells.
Highly processed or ultra-processed foods like those you can find in fast food tend to be low in fiber and nutrients. A diet limited in variety and lacking in one or more nutrients can affect the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies.
Harvard notes that examples of Nutrients that have been identified as critical for immune cell growth and function include vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein.
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