How Can Fast Food Cause Malnutrition: Top 20 Reasons

This article will examine how can fast food cause malnutrition and the top 20 reasons why processed foods are unhealthy. We will also look at the most common cause of malnourishment and what makes fast food unhealthy.”

There’s no getting around the fact that fast food makes a quick meal- however, it can also cause malnutrition because of how quickly it’s prepared, therefore eating too much.

Although fast food is convenient and popular, there are many reasons why it should be avoided when possible. Fast food is often high in saturated fat, sodium, and calories which can cause malnutrition if eaten on a regular basis.


Malnutrition is defined as “the condition of the body due to lack of essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (EFAs).” The three categories that cause malnutrition are poor diet, infection/inflammation, or physical illness.

All three types of malnutrition can be caused by fast-food consumption. You need to consider not only food quantity and quality but it’s also energy density.

Unhealthy eating habits are a major cause of malnutrition. In many cases, people who suffer from malnutrition often have to do with their diet.

Can Processed Food Cause Malnutrition?

Processed foods contain saturated fats and refined sugars, making your body more prone to malnutrition. The presence of trans fat and sodium nitrate in processed foods is also harmful to your health.

Processed foods are often loaded with preservatives, flavorings, colors, and other artificial ingredients, increasing the risk of developing certain diseases. These chemicals have been linked to depression, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease, among other health ailments.

Pretty much all processed foods contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). There are many people who are sensitive to MSG, and it causes headaches, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.

The following is a list of common ingredients found in processed foods:

  1. Sodium Nitrate
  2. Hydrogenated/Partially Hydrogenated Oils or Fats
  3. Artificial Food Colors or Dyes
  4. Artificial Flavors or Flavors Added
  5. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  6. White Flour and Other Refined Grains
How Can Fast Food Cause Malnutrition
How Can Fast Food Cause Malnutrition

How Can Fast Food Cause Malnutrition?

Here are 20 of the main reasons why fast food can cause malnutrition.:

1. Fast Food Is High In Calories And Low In Nutrients

Fast food items are usually high in calories but very low in essential nutrients such as protein, healthy fats, and fiber which play a crucial role in fighting illness and disease.

E. coli and salmonella are some bacteria found in hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizza, and other fast food items.

2. Processed Food Is Low In Nutrients

Processed foods made by conforming to the USDA’s Food Pyramid guidelines tend to lack healthy fats and fiber which are necessary for a healthy diet. They also lack important minerals such as calcium and potassium which have been linked to a host of health problems.

3. Fast Food Is Often Cooked With Trans Fat

Trans fats are normally found in fast food items such as French fries, doughnuts, chicken nuggets, hash browns, biscuits, and more.

Studies have shown that these trans fats play a key role in promoting obesity, heart disease, and other health complications.

4. Processed Food Is Low In Fiber

Studies have shown that refined grains can lead to malnutrition. Refined grains have very little nutritional value, but they promote illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

5. Most Fast Food Items Don’t Contain Healthy Fats

Most fast food items contain saturated fats and trans fat. These types of fats are very high in calories but don’t really give your body any essential nutrients.

The same can be said about hydrogenated salt, which is also very high in calories but doesn’t provide any health benefits.

6. Fast Food Is High In Sodium

Sodium can play a crucial role in bringing on heart disease, stroke, and nerve diseases. The presence of sodium will also promote diseases such as diabetes and kidney disease.

7. Many Fast Food Ingredients Contain Hormones And Pesticides

There are many artificial ingredients that have been linked to hormone-related health problems, such as breast cancer. And many pesticides are also found in fast food items [9].

8. Processed Food Is Generally Low In Protein

Many people who consume a diet loaded with fast food can also be deficient in protein. Protein is needed by your body to repair and maintain healthy muscles, tissues, and organs. It can also help your body fight off infections.

9. Fast Foods Are Often High In Sugar

Consumption of too much sugar can lead to the development of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

10. Processed Foods Are Very Low In Fiber

Low fiber intake has been associated with premature death and malnutrition. Fibers have some of the most important nutrients for a healthy diet, such as B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and others.

11. Processed Food Is High In Calories

Fast food meals are very high in calories, leading to diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Obesity is one of the main causes of malnutrition and is often caused by consuming too many calories.

12. Fast Food Is Low In Nutrients

Processed foods are often low in key nutrients. Most processed food items are also high in calories, leading to obesity and malnutrition.

13. Fast Food Is Usually High In Saturated Fats, Trans Fats And Omega-6 Fats

These types of fats are very high in calories, but they don’t really provide your body with any essential nutrients. The same can be said about hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fat and omega-6 fats.

14. Processed Food Is Generally Low In Fiber

Processed foods are very low in fiber, leading to a lack of important nutrients and malnutrition. This is because fiber plays an important role in preventing constipation, heart disease, and many other health problems.

15. Processed Food Is Generally Low In Protein

Protein is very important for building and repairing the body’s tissues, muscles and organs. The lack of protein can lead to a series of health problems such as anemia, muscle loss, and hair loss.

16. Processed Food Is Low In Vitamins And Minerals

Processed foods tend to lack vitamins and minerals, which are very important for optimal health. They also lack fiber which plays a vital role in preventing constipation, heart disease, and many other health problems.

17. Processed Food Is Low In Folate

Folic acid, folic acid analogs, and folate foods are very important for protecting against birth defects and brain damage, among other diseases and conditions. Folic acid is also very important in building new cells, and it also prevents cancer, among other diseases.

18. Fast Food Is High In Sugar

There are many different types of fast food meals that are loaded with sugar. This can lead to many serious health problems such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

19. Fast Food Contains Many Artificial Ingredients

The artificial ingredients in processed foods often lack the nutrients found in natural ingredients. They also promote cancer and other diseases such as asthma and eczema.

20. Fast Food is Low In Nutrients

Processed foods tend to be low in nutrients which can lead to malnutrition. The lack of nutrients can also promote heart disease, anemia, cancer, and many other diseases.

Fast Food Can Lead To Many Serious Health Problems

As you have just seen, processed foods are very low in nutrients, protein, and fiber. This means that you won’t be able to: Gain muscle mass (protein),     Lose weight (fiber)     Be healthy (nutrients).

You may not see any immediate problems, but the long-term effects of eating a low in nutrients diet can be devastating. There are many studies that have linked the consumption of processed foods with a series of health problems, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Premature death
  • Osteoporosis
  • Brain damage (Alzheimer’s)

If you are concerned about your health, do yourself a favor and avoid eating processed foods as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

If you need any more reasons to stay away from processed foods and fast food, I’m sure you can find plenty of information on the internet. The best approach is to cook your own meals at home and get rid of processed foods altogether.

You’ll save a lot of money, reduce your risk of heart disease and live a much healthier life.

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Hello! I'm Naznin Aktar, the food enthusiast and recipe curator at Naznin's Kitchen. Want to turn everyday ingredients into extraordinary dishes? Explore Naznin's Kitchen for a collection of recipes that are sure to inspire your inner chef and delight your loved ones.
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