Today I would like to focus on the top 10 reasons why you should avoid processed foods, in particular those ultra-processed foods. But first I have a question for you...
I know that there is so much health information out there in the world especially since we all have easy access to the internet at our fingertips!
How do you decide or pick which information that you listen to or incorporate into your life?
When I come across new information or even when I come across old information I use a few tools to determine if the new information is actually good advice or not.
The first thing I like to do is determine if the information is going to benefit or hurt me. So if this information is true… it can either be helpful or harmful to my health … and in either case, I want to spend some time looking further...
Does the information come from a reputable source?
Can I find the information on multiple websites, news articles, or other literature?
Is the information too good to be true?
From there I determine if it is something that I actually should start incorporating into my life. So like this article today we are going to discuss 10 reasons you should avoid processed foods…
And, you will need to determine if this is something that you should incorporate into your life… and I believe that it is!
Ok, so let’s get started.
What exactly are processed foods and ultra-processed foods?
Processed foods are changed from their natural state into something else, they are altered in some way during preparation to make them more convenient, shelf-stable, and/or flavorful for consumers.
Processed foods are essentially made by adding salt, oil, sugar, or other substances. Examples include canned fish or canned vegetables, fruits in syrup, and freshly made bread. Most processed foods have two or three ingredients.
However, some foods are highly processed or ultra-processed and are typically chemically altered, these are the ones that we really want to avoid! They have many added ingredients such as sugar, salt, fat, and artificial colors or preservatives.
Ultra-processed foods are made mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated (trans) fats. They often contain additives like artificial colors and flavors or stabilizers.
Examples of these ultra-processed foods are frozen meals, soft drinks, hot dogs and cold cuts, fast food, packaged cookies, cakes, and salty snacks.
Okay now that we are on the same page about processed foods and ultra-processed foods let’s get to the top 10 reasons to avoid chemically processed foods, especially those that are ultra-processed!
1. Processed foods contain ingredients that are harmful when consumed in excess, such as saturated fats, added sugar, and salt.
2. Processed foods contain less dietary fiber and fewer vitamins than whole foods.
3. Processed foods tend to pack in the added sugar and, often, high fructose corn syrup. Added sugar contains no essential nutrients but is high in calories. Regularly consuming an excess of added sugar can lead to compulsive overeating. It is also linked with health conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory diseases.
4. Processed foods tend to be full of artificial ingredients. The list of ingredients on the back of processed food packaging is often full of unrecognizable words! Some are artificial chemicals that the manufacturer has added to make the food more palatable.
5. Highly processed foods often contain the following types of chemicals:
preservatives, which keep the food from going bad quickly
6. Processed foods often can contain dozens of additional chemicals that are not listed on their labels. For example, “artificial flavor” is a proprietary blend. Manufacturers do not have to disclose exactly what it means, and it is usually a combination of chemicals.
7. Processed foods often include refined carbohydrates. The body breaks down refined, or simple, carbohydrates quickly, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
8. Processed foods are linked to an increased risk of cancer.
9. Processed foods are designed to make you overeat and become addicted to them.
10. Processed foods can cause mood swings!
Chances are you’ve eaten some processed food today… How do you feel knowing how bad these foods can be?
For me, I know that I really had no idea…
No idea that these foods were really so bad, or even linked to chronic diseases including my fibromyalgia… and I also had no idea that the FDA and our government would allow it and even protect food manufacturers from having to reveal their secret ingredients.
Many people eat breakfast cereal or a granola bar in the morning and maybe have lunch meat on their sandwich at lunch, and maybe frozen dinner or fast food...
Chances are that some part of your diet likely contained one or more of the many preserved, refined, prepared, or otherwise packaged foods that line our grocery store shelves.
To be fair, the label “processed foods” covers quite a wide range of consumable items. While pre-cut watermelon technically qualifies as “processed,” it doesn’t lose any of its nutritional value through being cut and packaged for convenience. The main offenders are processed foods that have been chemically–not mechanically– altered.
So now that you're armed with this knowledge about processed foods, I encourage you to take the next step and begin to become conscious about these foods and start the process of eliminating the biggest offenders, those that are ultra-processed..
And with time you can continue to make healthier choices and begin your journey towards optimal health and wellness.
If you would like help eliminating processed foods from your life or you're ready to start your journey towards optimal health and wellness click here to book a comprehensive evaluation.