When it comes to our health, we often think of things like going to the doctor for an annual check-up or working out at the gym several times a week. However, one of the most important things we can do for our health is something that we do every day—eating! What we eat (and don’t eat) profoundly impacts our physical and mental health. This blog post will examine some consequences of poor eating habits.
Consequence #1: Unhealthy Weight Gain
One of the most obvious consequences of poor eating habits is unhealthy weight gain. When we consume more calories than we burn off, our bodies store that excess energy as fat. This can lead to obesity, which puts us at risk for many health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
If you want to change your eating habits but don’t know where to start, here are a few tips:
- Start by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Adults should eat 2-3 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily.
- Cut back on processed foods and eat more whole foods. Whole foods are unprocessed and have not been altered in any way.
- Make sure you’re getting enough protein. Protein helps keep us feeling full and can help with weight loss.
- Limit your intake of sugary drinks and alcohol.
You can relax or pressure yourself to make these changes over time. Just focus on making one or two small changes, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier diet!
Consequence #2: Poor Digestion
Another consequence of poor eating habits is poor digestion. Eating foods high in fat, sugar, and/or salt and low in fiber can lead to constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and other digestive issues. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also lead to nutrient deficiencies if we cannot properly absorb the nutrients from the foods we eat.
Improve Your Digestion
- Eat more high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid or limit high-fat, high-sugar, and high-salt foods.
- Chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
- Get regular exercise
If you’re struggling with digestive issues, talk to your doctor or a Registered Dietitian to see if you need to make any changes to your diet. Poor digestion could have an underlying medical cause, so do not assume that your symptoms are due to poor eating habits.
Consequence #3: Low Energy Levels
Poor eating habits can also lead to low energy levels. Eating sugary and/or fatty foods may get a quick burst of energy followed by a “crash.” This can leave us feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day. On the other hand, when we eat nutritious foods rich in vitamins and minerals, we provide our bodies with the essential nutrients needed for optimal physical and mental performance.
Yes, the solution to low energy levels is to exercise! Exercise helps increase our energy levels by improving our cardiovascular health and muscle mass. It also releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. So, if you’re feeling tired, get up and move! A quick walk around the block or a few minutes of yoga can make a difference.
If you’re still not used to any physical activity, you can start with some simple exercises like:
- Brisk walking
- Riding a bike
- Doing yard work
- Doing household chores
As you progress with these simple activities, you can increase the intensity by trying new things or adding more time to your routine. Remember, even a small amount of exercise is better than none!
Consequence #4: Poor Dental Health
Poor eating habits can also lead to poor dental health. Eating sugary foods and drinks increases our risk for cavities. Eating acidic foods (such as citrus fruits or tomatoes) can erode the enamel on our teeth. In addition, not brushing and flossing regularly can allow plaque and bacteria to build up in our mouths, leading to gum disease.
Maintain Good Dental Health
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit sugary foods and drinks.
- See your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
If you struggle to maintain good dental health, talk to your dentist. They can help you create a plan to improve oral hygiene and prevent cavities and gum disease. If the problem has progressed, consider tooth replacement options where all your teeth are removed and you get dentures. This is your best option, as it will give you a healthy smile that you can be proud of. However, it’s still important to practice good oral hygiene even with dentures, so it’s not an excuse to neglect your teeth!
There are many consequences to poor eating habits, including indigestion, low energy levels, and poor dental health. However, we can maintain good health overall by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and brushing and flossing daily. See your dentist regularly for check-ups to ensure you’re on the right track!