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    The Effects of Fast Food on the Aging Process

      |  Aug 16, 2023

    Fast food is a popular option for meal time in America — in fact, ⅓ adults eat fast food every day. There’s a reason for fast food’s popularity: it’s cheap, it tastes good, and, as the name implies, it’s quick to access and eat. 

    Many studies have been done on the effects of fast food and processed food on our bodies and overall health. And while the occasional McDonald’s hamburger on a road trip is relatively harmless if you eat an otherwise balanced diet, regular consumption of fast food can lead to symptoms and diseases that shorten your lifespan. 

    One study found that eating more than 4 servings of processed food (which includes everything from that drive-through hamburger to a donut) in a day leads to an increased risk of all-cause mortality. But how exactly does fast food age you?

    Components of fast food that age you

    Trans fats

    Trans fats are prevalent in fast food because of the prevalence of refined seed or vegetable oils, which are cheap, easy to use, and have a long shelf life. You might also find trans fats in processed foods like pizza, donuts, crackers, and cookies. If it’s fried, it probably has trans fats.

    Regular consumption of trans fats can increase inflammation, along with “bad” cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. Trans fats also impact your heart health: in a 2019 study, researchers found that a 2% increase in energy intake from trans fats was associated with a 23% increase in cardiovascular risk


    According to the World Health Organization, processed meats like bacon that are prevalent in fast food, are carcinogenic to humans and can lead to colorectal and stomach cancer. Additionally, consuming red meat, even unprocessed red meat, is linked to higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. 


    Even if you’re not ordering a chocolate shake or apple pie at the drive through, your fast food meal likely has added sugar. The most likely culprit is your soft drink — a 12 oz. serving of coke contains 9.75 teaspoons of sugar, nearly 4 more teaspoons than the American Heart Association recommends for women on a daily basis. 

    Along with lacking nutritional value, sugar intake has been linked to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause a wide range of symptoms and diseases, everything from fatigue to digestive issues and cancer. It’s possible to reduce inflammation by eating whole foods, like fatty fish, nuts, and dark leafy greens, but you won’t find those anti-inflammatory properties in most fast food meals.

    If you’re looking for a way to regularly offset inflammation from sugar intake, Thorne Quercetin Phytosome reduces inflammation, oxidative stress, and cellular damage, helping to slow down the aging process and extend your lifespan.

    Lack of proper nutrition

    A well balanced diet can positively impact or slow down the aging process, but fast and ultra-processed food is typically devoid of the nutrients our bodies need to function well. Whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and grains contain plant compounds like flavonoids, anthocyanins, tannins, and carotenoids. These compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties, which can lower your risk of fatal diseases. 

    A diet like the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes eating whole foods, fish, and olive oil (as opposed to oils that contain trans fats) is a great way to get proper nutrition and get the most benefits from your meals. If you’re still looking to supplement your diet, you can try a daily multivitamin like Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/Day or explore alternative treatments like regular Vitamin D injections.

    Take control of the aging process with Modern Age

    Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to aging. The more you know about what your body needs (and what it doesn’t) as it ages, the better you’ll be able to make good decisions for your health. To get a complete picture of your current health, take our Aging Wellness Assessment. You’ll work with a certified clinician to understand your cognitive, hormonal, nutritional, and even skeletal health, and create a plan that puts you on the fast track to happier, healthier aging. Book a free consultation today.