We all like a tasty treat here and there, and while the temptation of a greasy cheeseburger or chocolate fudge cake may be hard to resist, filling up on excessive amounts of junk food is definitely not good for your health.
Extra weight gain, acne breakouts, a higher risk of disease…there are many reasons to avoid the takeaway menu. But does junk food affect hormones? Let’s find out…
How junk food affects your hormones
The human body has over 200 hormones that all play an important role in how it functions. Whether it’s regulating metabolism, triggering the immune system, or controlling the menstrual cycle, hormones are integral to how the body operates therefore it is incredibly important that your hormones are kept in balance.
Junk food affects hormone function by increasing inflammation in the body due to the high amounts of sugar, addictivies, and unhealthy fats they contain. This puts stress on your adrenal glands and alters the bacteria in your gut, interfering with your body’s natural hormone regulation.
How badly does junk food affect hormones?
While eating the odd french fry or doughnut would not have a noticeable impact on your hormones, consistently eating junk food can certainly have a negative impact. The added sugar and artificial additives found in junk food are all linked to hormonal interference and disruption. Not only this, but a diet that features a lot of junk food can make you gain weight.
Weight gain often compounds hormone imbalances which in turn can lead to more weight gain, creating a self perpetuating cycle of weight gain and hormonal imbalance that is often hard to break. Insulin is responsible for metabolising blood sugar and storing and converting fat into energy. Eating high carb, sugary junk food causes your insulin levels to spike and can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain as well as type 2 diabetes.
Gherlin, known as the hunger hormone, is secreted when your stomach is empty. Overweight people have been found to have ghrelin resistance, increasing their hunger and causing them to overeat. Leptin is another hormone that affects hunger, released by your fat cells, it signals to your body you are full. The over consumption of processed foods can cause leptin resistance which in turn can lead you gain weight as your body is unable to tell when it is full.
For women, high levels of adipose tissue, also known as body fat, can lead to oestrogen dominance as fat tissue secretes oestrogen into the body. This increase can cause symptoms including irregular periods, mood swings, fatigue, and low libido, along with further weight gain.
Excess body fat in men can lower testosterone which can cause symptoms such as low libido, erectile dysfunction, depression, sleep disturbances, and an increase in body fat. That’s why it is important to limit your junk food intake so that you maintain a healthy weight and avoid the knock on effect on your hormones.
Junk food is also often contained in cheap plastic packaging which can affect the food, causing chemicals like BPAs and phthalates to be ingested. Exposure to BPA can disrupt the endocrine system which is in charge of regulating and releasing hormones into the bloodstream.
“Our busy modern lifestyles mean that ultra-processed junk food can often seem like the easiest option, but choosing to follow a healthy diet makes a major difference to your hormones. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance then removing junk food from your diet can be very beneficial in helping to naturally improve your overall hormonal health.”
– Dr. Haleema Sheikh
Why it is important to keep your hormones balanced
Making sure your hormones are in check is incredibly important as it helps you avoid unwanted symptoms such as low bone density, fertility issues, fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, and depression, amongst other problems.
While eating junk food can certainly disrupt hormonal balance, there are a multitude of other factors to take into account. Alcohol, caffeine, exercise and stress all have an impact on your hormonal health, so a well-rounded holistic approach is needed. However, ditching junk food is a good way to start.
Make a conscious effort to steer clear of ultra processed store-bought food and instead opt for healthy home cooked meals. Organic fruit and vegetables, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, and cruciferous vegetables are all great for your hormones. Also, prebiotic and probiotic foods like yoghurt that boost your gut health can help detoxify hormones such as oestrogen.
If you are looking for some inspiration we have lots of delicious recipes that are packed full of the nutrients that keep your hormones happy. From a warming bone broth sweet potato soup, to a tasty mushroom nut roast, to a decadent cacao and orange cake.
Whichever recipe you decide to try, your hormones will be thanking you.
How Marion Gluck can help balance your hormones
There are many natural ways to rebalance your hormones, from eating a healthy diet to getting enough exercise.
However, sometimes this is not enough and hormone replacement therapy is needed to alleviate symptoms and get you feeling your best. This is where the Marion Gluck Clinic comes in, with our personalised treatment options to rebalance your hormones.
At Marion Gluck we only use bioidentical hormones which have the same chemical structure as the hormones found in your body. Our bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a much more natural alternative to synthetic hormones, allowing for better absorption and fewer side effects.
You can find out everything you need to know about BHRT in our comprehensive explainer blog.