Processed foods are bad for you, and to those who want to be optimally healthy, one should spend 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent on processed foods. The term “processed food” refers to those that are chemically processed and made from heavily refined ingredients and artificial additives. Processed foods are the ones to be blame for the increasing rates of chronic disease and weight gain around the developed world.
Here’s why processed foods are bad for you?
1. High in Sugar and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup
This isn’t only a matter of “empty calories” causing you to gain weight without getting proper nutrition. Excess sugar consumption is linked to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
Refined fructose, typically in some form of corn syrup, is now found in virtually every processed food you can think of, and fructose actually “programs” your body to consume more calories and store fat.
Fructose is primarily metabolized by your liver, because your liver is the only organ that has the transporter for it. Since all fructose gets shuttled to your liver, and, if you eat a typical Western-style diet, you consume high amounts of it, fructose ends up taxing and damaging your liver in the same way alcohol and other toxins do.
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors (the term artificial flavor on a label may include 10 or more chemicals)
- Texturants (chemicals that add a texture to food)
Food manufacturers typically claim that artificial food additives are safe, but research says otherwise. Preservatives, for example, have been linked to health problems such as cancer, allergic reactions, and more.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives that affect the neurological system of your brain, alter behavior, and have the potential to cause cancer. Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is a chemical preservative so deadly that just five grams can kill you.
Or take artificial colors. Nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the US are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions — and these results were from studies conducted by the chemical industry itself. Artificial flavors aren’t much better.
The artificial flavoring called diacetyl, which is often used as a butter flavoring in microwave popcorn, has several concerning properties for brain health and may trigger Alzheimer’s disease. Genetically engineered flavor enhancers can also be listed under the artificial flavor (or natural flavor) label.
4. Processed foods often contain phosphates that destroy your organs, bones.
Many processed foods contain phosphate additives that augment taste, texture, and shelf-life. But these additives are known to cause health problems like rapid aging, kidney deterioration and weak bones, according to the Rodale Institute, which makes foods that contain them far less attractive to those in the know.
5. Most Processed Foods Are Low in Nutrients
Processed foods often have the real nutrition processed right out, then sometimes added back in in the form of synthetic vitamins and minerals. These synthetics do not fool your body, however, and will not provide the whole, synergistic nutrition that eating whole food will.
Further, there’s no way that a lab can “add back in” all of the thousands of phytochemicals and trace nutrients found in whole foods. Science hasn’t even begun to uncover all of them. The best way to ensure your body gets the benefits of all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more that nature has to offer is to eat whole, unprocessed foods.
6. Processed Foods Are Typically Low in Fiber
Public health guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advise Americans to eat between 20 and 30 grams of fiber a day, but most adults don’t even eat half that much. This isn’t surprising, since fiber refers to the indigestible portion of plant foods, and in the largely refined standard American diet, healthful fibers are often processed right out. Unless you regularly eat whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds, you may be missing out on the healthiest forms of fiber available.
7. Processed Foods Are Loaded With Pesticides.
In order to effectively grow the GMOs used in processed foods, conventional farmers have to apply Roundup (glyphosate) and other pesticides and herbicides, many of which end up in the final product. According to data compiled by Rodale, breakfast cereals alone have been found to contain up to 70 different types of pesticides, including warehouse fumigation chemicals and other residues.
8. Processed Foods Are Not Actually Food.
One of the ways you can assess the nutritional value of food is to see how animals, insects, bacteria, and fungi respond to it, and that’s the mere fact why processed foods are bad for you. Real foods will actually rot or grow mold, for instance, while fake, processed foods remain largely the same in appearance and shape no matter what their age. As we reported recently, processed food is essentially synthetic, and the industry that produces it admits that heavy tampering and crafty modifications are necessary to make it taste real, even though it is not.
No you know the reasons why processed foods are bad for you, are you still going to have them?
Image Credits: institutefornaturalhealing, remcoproducts, livestrong, perrysplate