“We’ve been led to believe that processed foods seem like the answer to today’s busy lives. New fads and fancy advertisements make promises that keep us coming back for more. The sad reality is that processed products are everywhere we look, making them increasingly harder to avoid.
Processed foods are also more convenient – that’s what it really comes down to in an ever increasing time poor society. It’s so much easier to bake a cake by opening up a box, pouring out a dry mix, and adding an egg and some oil than starting from scratch. But what is the price we really pay for this seemingly great convenience?
1. Processed Foods Are Addictive and Can Cause You To Overeat
Whole foods are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber and water. When foods are processed the components of these foods are modified (for example, fiber, water and nutrients are removed) and in other cases, components are concentrated. In each case, processing changes the way they are digested and assimilated in your body.
Eating highly processed or highly concentrated foods can artificially stimulate dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter), which plays a role in addiction. In this way, you are eating foods that lack nutrients and fiber, but create a pleasurable feeling. A food addiction starts because you feel good when you are eating these foods and they make you think they taste better. You crave that pleasurable feeling again and again and voilà…this is what starts a food addiction.
2. Processed Foods Are Linked to Obesity
Additives in processed foods, like high fructose corn syrup, sugar and MSG have been linked to weight gain and obesity.
Dr. Mercola recently reported about a new study that showed childhood obesity could be reduced by 18 percent, simply by cutting out fast food advertisements during children’s programming. The Australian government is clearly more concerned about their children’s health as television advertisements to children were banned several years ago.
3. Processed Foods Often Contain Ingredients That Do Not Follow The Principle of Food Combining
This can lead to low energy, poor digestion, illness, acidic blood and weight gain. An example would be a frozen meat and cheese pizza. Cheese (a dairy product), meat (an animal protein) and pizza crust (a grain product) make a terrible food combination that can wreak havoc on your digestive health.
4. Processed Foods Contribute to An Imbalanced Inner Ecosystem
This can lead to digestive problems, cravings, illness and disease. Beneficial microflora cannot survive in your digestive tract when you are poisoning them. Like us they thrive on foods that are made by nature not by man.
5. A Diet High in Processed Foods Can Lead to Depression, Memory Issues and Mood Swings
Ingredients in processed foods are often the lowest cost and sub-par, nutritionally. For example, the fats and oils used in processed foods are refined, which means they are stripped of the essential fatty acids necessary for healthy blood sugar levels, moods and memory. Your heart, hormones and brain suffer when you choose to eat these fats and oils. Instead choose organic, unrefined or “virgin” fats and oils.
6. Processed Foods Often Go Hand In Hand With “Eating on the run” or Multitasking
Most people will choose convenience if they are on the run and in today’s busy lives, who of us isn’t? Unfortunately, multitasking while eating causes people to lose touch with their natural appetite, often leading to weight gain. Additionally, multitasking sends the wrong signals to your digestive system, which needs to be in a restful mode to digest properly.
7. Nutrition Labels on Processed Foods Are Often Misleading and Have Harmful Health Effects
Many labels say “sugar free,” but contain other sweeteners like agave, which is like high fructose corn syrup.
Additionally, product labeling may hide ingredients like GM (genetically modified) foods and harmful additives like MSG. (These are hidden behind words on the label like “natural flavorings” or “approved spices”).
8. Diets High in Processed Meats (like hot dogs and deli meats) Have Been Linked to Various Forms of Cancer
One of the reasons for this link to cancer is thought to be because of the preservatives used in processed meats. Clare Hughes, Australian Cancer Council nutrition program manager, says a number of studies have linked processed meat to cancer and the problem is multi-fold. “Processed meats are high in salt and fat. In addition, chemicals such as nitrites are added to many processed meats to maintain their colour and to prevent contamination. Nitrites can be converted in the stomach to carcinogenic nitrosamines.”
9. Eating Too Many Processed Foods Can Lead to Infertility and Malnutrition
Processed foods, like cereal, are stripped of important vitamins and nutrients that your body truly needs. You could be eating a large amount of calories and still be malnourished if your diet is high in processed foods. Animal studies have shown that over three generations, a deficient diet causes reproduction to cease. Today, infertility is on the rise.
10. Processed Foods are Made For Long Shelf-life, Not Long Human Life!
Chemicals, additives and preservatives are added to processed foods so that they will last for a long time without going rancid or affecting the taste of the food. Food manufacturers spend time, money and research on beautiful packaging and strategies to lengthen shelf-life, with little attention on how the foods will lengthen your life or create lasting health.”
~By Donna Gates, Body Ecology