You live a hectic life, and junk food has become the norm. When you’re on the go and those hunger pangs strike, it’s just so easy to pull into those Golden Arches and grab a burger and fries.

After all, lets face it, they are easy, fast and right there in front of you when you’re hungry.

So, how much damage can it do? And is there a way to replace them with healthy snacks when you’re in a mad rush? Let’s investigate.

What Junk Food Really Does to You

An obvious problem with junk food snacks is that they are very high in calories. In fact, your average burger, fries and drink combo will provide more than half of your daily caloric intake – in just one meal! And most of those calories will be in the form of sugars and fats. But there’s more to the story than that.

Junk food consumption triggers insulin resistance in the body. This, in turn, greatly increases a person’s risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured but it can be managed with insulin treatments, oral antidiabetic and antihypertensive medications. Dialysis treatment may also be required. (1)

Cardiovascular Disease is running rampant and fast food is the number one contributor.

In fact, a 2008 study out of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada stated that junk food causes one third of all heart attacks worldwide. The financial cost of a heart attack is almost as crippling as the physical cost.

Following an attack, direct medical costs will include ambulance fees, diagnostic tests, hospital and surgery charges. Then there are the long-term maintenance costs of drugs, testing and cardiologist consultations. All up you’ll be facing an annual bill of somewhere in the region of $19,000 (2)

Regular junk food consumption invariably leads to Elevated Blood Pressure, which in turn, greatly increases the risk of Stroke.

In fact, a 2009 study found a direct correlation between the number of fast food restaurants in an area and the incidence of stroke in the surrounding community. For every fast food joint in the area, the relative Ischemic Stroke risk increased by 1%. (3)

Healthy Snacks: A Better Choice

By thinking smart and preparing early, it is possible to make healthy snack choices – even when your day is passing by at warp speed.

Here are 7 healthy snacks that you can consume on the run:

(1)  Organic Stovetop Popcorn: It’s healthier than microwave popcorn. One cup provides just 30 calories and it’s packed with polyphenols to help neutralize free radicals, along with fibre.

(2)  Eggs: Loaded with nutrients, protein and good fats. One large egg is only 77 calories, has 6gr of Protein and 5gr of healthy Fats. Boil up some eggs, keep them in their shells and refrigerate. Take 2 for a healthy breakfast on the run or a mid morning/afternoon snack. They will satisfy and keep you fuller for longer.

(3)  Nuts and seeds: Packed full of nutrients, protein and good fats. Prepare a small serve ahead of time and have them on hand when you’re on the run.

(4)  Greek Yoghurt: Add fresh fruit like blueberries and strawberries, as well as some nuts or seeds.

(5)  Apples: Apples are the ultimate healthy snack. For a modest amount of calories you’re getting a whole lot of water soluble fibre and vitamin C. Eating apples has been linked to weight loss and it’s great for heart health.

(6)  Protein Shake: Grab yourself a shaker bottle, throw in some water or milk and a decent whey protein powder and you’ve got a nutritious energy booster that will fill you up while ensuring hat your body maintains an anabolic state – even when your day is spinning out of control.

(7)  Vegetable Sticks: Chop up some carrots, cucumber, capsicum, mushrooms and any other vegetable that you like to eat raw and keep in an airtight container that you can put into your bag when running out of the house. These are great to have when you are time poor.

References

(1) http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/8/2300.full

(2) http://www.news-medical.net/news/2008/10/21/42080.aspx

(3) http://www.ajmc.com/publications/issue/2010/2010-03-vol16-n03/AJMC_10marNicholsWebX_e86to93/

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