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Why Junk Food Consumption Can Effect Hormones Pregnant Women?

Consumption of junk food leads to excessive weight gain, which further leads to several complications such as birthing a big baby, early labor, gestational diabetes, increased risk of birth defects, miscarriage and stillborn baby.

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According to statista website, as of 2018, the weekly consumption of junk food in India was at 38% from 37.19% in 2017. Unhealthy eating habits are one of the biggest reasons for spreading lifestyle diseases among people as people prefer food that is easily available, satisfying their taste buds and junk food easily caters to this need. Food like fries, nuggets, burgers etc. are extremely unhealthy and rather than providing beneficial nutrients, they are potentially harm full if consumed regularly. Due to having high quantities of fat and sugar in them, junk food causes multiple diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol among others. Not only does it affect physical health, but equally impacts ones’ mental health. There are many other diseases junk food may cause, such as-

  • Obesity- Currently, around 5% of Indian population is obese; the rate was 3.7% till 2014. According to the National Family Health Survey, the rate of obesity in India has doubled over 10 years. The high amount of oil, sugar, fats and calories in junk food leads to excessive weight gain. People gain weight and experience lethargy, shortness of breath due to it. Obesity can also turn into being source of other diseases if not controlled timely.
  • High Cholesterol- Due to the high percentage of fat in junk food, the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol or also known as “bad” cholesterol rises in the body.
  • High Blood Pressure- Junk food is high in sodium, which elevates blood pressure, and also worsens existing heart diseases.
  • Heart Diseases- Due to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the chances of heart diseases in human body increases. People who consume junk food are at greater risk of getting a heart attack or stroke. Heart Disease and stroke are major causes behind 28.1% of deaths in India, which is more than 2.1 million deaths, according to reports by The Lancet.
  • Diabetes- Junk Food is full of carbohydrates which lead to insulin spikes. This results in the alternation of the body’s natural insulin response. Over 7.1% of Indian adults suffer from diabetes, which is more than 62 million individuals.
  • Depression- Junk and processed food’s high levels of sugar and fats cause chemical reactions in the brain and it affects the brain’s functioning. The body starts losing important nutrients and amino acids if a person is consuming too much junk food. Gradually, the brain gets unable to deal with stress and it develops into depression. Suicide rate in India was reported to be 10.9 for every lakh people. According to WHO, at least 6.5% of the Indian population suffers from mental disorders.
  • Memory Loss- It has been found in studies that eating food with excess fats and sugar leads to a weaker brain. Junk food results in sudden inflammation in the hippocampus of brain, which is responsible for memory and recognition.

Effect on pregnant women

Infant mortality rate in India is currently estimated at 39.1, whereas maternal mortality rate in the country is at 130. Women have to be very cautious during pregnancy as there are high risks of complications since both the mother and the baby are vulnerable. Doctors especially recommend pregnant women to eat healthy in order to keep their own and their baby’s health in order. Eating junk food during pregnancy increases the risk of allergies and asthma in the baby, as eating food with excessive sugar affects the baby. 

Furthermore, consumption of junk food leads to excessive weight gain, which further leads to several complications such as birthing a big baby, early labor, gestational diabetes, increased risk of birth defects, miscarriage and stillborn baby.

Effect on Hormones

Furthermore, it has also been found that consumption of junk food also leads to PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Eating junk food, sugary food and an irregular schedule of eating leads to fluctuation in glucose levels and hormonal imbalance, this further leads to deposition of fat in hips and abdomen. Consumption of junk food results in increased chances of PCOS in girls. PCOS further leads to complications during pregnancy. Junk food carries hormone disrupting chemicals and pregnant women, babies and teen girls are the most vulnerable to them. Even after delivery, there are high chances of women succumbing to postpartum hemorrhage which is responsible for 17.7 of the maternal mortality rate.

Babies are prone to mental disorders if their mothers follow an unhealthy diet. Mothers too experience issues like extreme lethargy, bloating after delivery and they find it difficult to lose weight they gained during pregnancy.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Amar Singh Chundawat

The author is a Doctor at Narayan Seva Sansthan - Nonprofit Organization

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