Here's another argument why a diet consisting mostly of fast food is bad. Researchers have suggested that the immune system would react to fast food items as it would to a bacterial infection.

“Unhealthy food seems to make the body’s defenses more aggressive in the long term. Even long after switching towards innate immune stimulation is more pronounced,” according to a release from University of Bonn, Germany researchers.

The long-term changes brought out by food items high in fat, sugar but low in fibre could be involved in arteriosclerosis and diabetes development, the researchers noted. It must be pointed out that the study was done in mice.

The effects persist even after the person shifted to eating fruit and vegetables.

In the study, scientists observed nine mice which are under the ‘Western diet.’

“The unhealthy diet led to an unexpected increase in the number of certain immune cells in the blood of the mice, especially granulocytes and monocytes. This was an indication for an involvement of immune cell progenitors in the bone marrow,” said Anette Christ from the University of Bonn, Institute of Innate Immunity.

The mice, even when returned to their typical diet of cereal, retained the genetic reprogramming of the immune cells.

A consequence, explained Professor Eicke Latz, director for Institute of Innate Immunity, is that the inflammatory responses can speed up the development of vascular diseases or type 2 diabetes because activated cells respond to the altered vessel wall, resulting to larger plaques blocking the vessel.

The researchers propose that lessons on healthy diet should be included more prominently in education.

“Only in this way can we immunize children at an early stage against the temptations of the food industry. Children have a choice of what they eat every day. We should enable them to make  conscious decisions regarding their dietary habit,” said Professor Latz. MIMS