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If I eat unhealthy foods a lot, will I get a disease?

Without knowing what "unhealthy foods" you're eating and the frequency you're eating them, it's difficult to answer your question. Also, most diseases related to poor eating are chronic in nature and take years or decades to occur. 

The good news is that your body can warn you that you might get one of these chronic diseases before it happens.

Indicators that you may be at risk for developing a chronic disease
1. Overweight or Obese (Risk of Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Colon and Breast Cancer)
2. Increased Waist size (Same Risk as Overweight / Obese)
3. Elevated Blood Pressure / Pre-Hypertension (Risk of Hypertension)
4. Elevated Blood Sugar / Pre-Diabetes (Risk of Type 2 Diabetes)
5. Elevated Blood Lipids (Risk of Heart Disease)
6. Metabolic Syndrome (Two or more of the above risk factors)

Most foods can be consumed in moderation, even "unhealthy foods."  However, how often moderation is may be different for everyone. 

Your moderation occurs with a:
1. Healthy Bodyweight (BMI 19-25)
2. Waist size no more 1/2 height in inches (e.g. if you're 68 inches tall, your waist should be no more than 34 in)
3. Normal Blood Pressure (Systolic less than 120; Diastolic less than 80)
4. Normal Blood Sugar (A1c about 5; Fasting blood sugar less than 100)
5. Normal Blood Lipids (Total cholesterol less than 180)

Your medical provider can monitor your blood work, and you can monitor your weight and waist. If any value is increasing beyond normal levels, then you may need to decrease how often you're eating those "unhealthy foods"  until your values return to normal.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Eating unhealthy foods once in a while will not give you a disease right away, but it is important to take care of yourself. In this video, Katie Lucas and J.J. Virgin sit backstage at the Dr. Oz show and discuss how unhealthy eating over time can lead to heart disease or cancer.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.