Diet plays a major role in your overall health. Although the components of a healthy diet include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy and whole grains, modern American culture makes it easy to eat too much junk food instead. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, many people eat too many refined carbohydrates and too much sugar, which increases the risk of obesity and associated health problems.
An unhealthy diet contains too much fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Unhealthy diets also often contain too many calories -- often as high-fat meats and dairy products -- and too few fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Unhealthy diets do not contain adequate vitamins and minerals from food sources.
Obesity is one of the most immediate results of an unhealthy diet. According to the World Health Organization, diets that are too high in saturated fat, sugar and carbs lead to overweight and obesity. Being overweight is defined as a body mass index, or BMI, over 25, and obesity is defined by a BMI above 30.
An unhealthy diet will not contain the necessary vitamins and minerals required for the maintenance of your immune system. Healthy foods contain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C, B and iron, which are needed for healthy immunity. Vitamin supplements do not appear to have the same benefits as vitamins naturally found in food. According to Tufts University, a poor diet can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to catching the common cold and other illnesses.
Poor diets increase the risk of several serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The World Health Organization reports that disease risks go up when unhealthy diets lead to excess weight and obesity. Problems associated with unhealthy diets include increased blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, greater risk of stroke and an increased risk of several types of cancer. Obesity caused by poor diet can also cause stress on joints, making daily activities painful.
An unhealthy diet may ultimately shorten your life span. According to Clemson University, if current obesity trends continue, your children may have a shorter life expectancy than you and your partner. Both Clemson and World Health Organization officials recommend improving eating habits and increasing the amount of physical activity to reverse this trend.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.