Eating burgers and fries can be as harmful as catching a life-threatening illness, the Daily Mail reports citing a new study.
Scientists at the University of Bonn discovered that junk food causes the immune system to go haywire, as if they were being attacked by a serious disease.
A fast food diet makes immune cells more aggressive over time, increasing the risk of developing major illnesses - these effects can last long after a switch to a healthier diet of fruit and vegetables.
Researchers say the findings could explain the link between fast food and the hardening of arteries, since the typical deposits largely consists of lipids and immune cells.
'It has only recently been discovered the innate immune system has a form of memory,' researcher Eicke Latz said. 'After an infection, the body's defenses remain in a kind of alarm state, so they can respond more quickly to a new attack.'
Fast food meals are typically high in fat, sugar and sodium. They've been linked to many adverse health effects, including an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colon cancer.