I'm 17 now, and I've been eating junk food for quite a while (I would say above average, though not extreme). I did manage to go a year and a half without junk food but for 3 months over the summer, for some reason, I decided to eat again. I'm going to stop eating again but I was wondering, for those 10+ years I've been eating junk food, have I dealt irreverseable harm to my body such as decreasing how long I'm going to live, or increasing my risk of developing diseases?
Have I already done some irreverseable harm?
Hard to say. You tend to metabolize things like that better at a young age and less oxidation of things like low density lipids that come from saturated fats which leads to plaques building up on artery walls. Have you eaten plenty of other good foods so as to still get proper nutrition? The worst aspect of eating junk food is you build poor habits that will be with you for the rest of your life. The eating habits people have in their young years tend to influence how they eat when they're older, especially regarding cravings for certain foods and wanting to eat fruits/vegetables or not.
You may have done some harm to your health, but the most important thing is to stop eating junk, or at least stop eating too much junk. A little junk food every once in awhile is all right, so it also depends what you're eating and how much/how often you eat it. Deep fried foods for example will probably do a lot more harm to your health than potato chips will, which, especially as of late, tend to be higher in unsaturated and lower in saturated fats. How much proper nutrition are you getting? Do you get enough protein, unsaturated and omega 3 fats, calcium, iron, vitamin A, etc (the list could go on and on) and good sources of anti oxidants like blueberries, tea, and plenty of other fruits/vegetables. You've eaten what you've eaten, and attempting to change your diet is a tough and admirable challenge. Stick to it and you'll wind up ahead of the game because most north americans seem to neglect their diet to a certain extent. You can't change what you used to eat, but you can change what you eat now.
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