Though your children may ask for junk food because they like the taste or because their friends are eating it, you undoubtedly already know that junk food can have negative effects on them. Junk food is typically is low in nutrients and high in calories from added sugars, starches or fats.
A negative effect of junk food on children is rapid weight gain, often leading to excessive weight and sometimes obesity. This is because it often tastes good, is not very filling and is high calorie. Candy, soft drinks, French fries and other fried foods, pizza, burgers, baked goods and ice cream are examples of high-sugar or high-fat foods which provide hundreds of calories per day for the typical American youth ages 2 to 18, according to the 2010.
Type 2 Diabetes
Junk food puts kids at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes occurs when you are not able to properly regulate your blood sugar level. Your risk increases when you are obese and when your diet is high in high-hypoglycemic carbohydrates, such as sugars and refined starches in sweets, white bread and potatoes. Type 2 diabetes increases your risk for kidney failure.
Junk food can lead to nutritional deficiencies when your children eat it instead of healthy foods with essential nutrients. Healthy meals and snacks should provide essential nutrients, such as B vitamins; magnesium and iron from fortified, whole-grain cereals and grains; calcium from milk or yogurt; healthy fats from nuts and dietary fiber; and vitamin A and vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead, children may miss out on these nutrients.
Junk food is often high in saturated fat, which raises LDL cholesterol and may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Junk foods with saturated fat include pizza, ice cream, processed meats and full-fat cheese.
High blood pressure is another risk factor for heart disease, and a high-sodium diet leads to high blood pressure. Children may be at risk for high blood pressure when eating salty junk food such as potato chips, French fries, pretzel