The term has always been related to unhealthy food items. Most of the foods we eat are processed. In this context, processed food items are often anything that’s prepared, packaged or changed from its original form. In most cases, this term is employed to mean the processed foods containing added preservatives, colors, oils, sweeteners, and other chemicals to enhance their flavor and increase time period.
Processed Foods and Nutrition
Most of the foods that fall into this category of highly – or ultra-processed foods are meals and snacks. A study investigated the reactions of highly processed foods on adults. After one day, the group that was eating the processed foods had gained over two pounds, a result of consuming a mean of 500 calories per day. Participants on the processed foods diet ate more than the non-processed food eaters.
Health Effects of Processed Foods
Such meals are devoid of the all-important fiber that slows down the absorption of carbs, thus keeping us satisfied for extended periods. This explains why you’ll easily overeat processed foods compared to whole foods.
High Sugar Content
Sugar is the favorite enemy for a healthy body. Sugar is about empty calories – great to spice up your energy, but with serious health implications, including high triglycerides, insulin resistance, and fat accumulation within the liver. Sugar also causes obesity, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. And you know what? We acquire most of these sugars from the heavily processed foods and sweetened beverages.
Engineered to be Addictive
Food manufacturers know that people like good taste. They make food desirable, attractive and delicious. They chemically alter these foods to trigger the discharge of dopamine, the reward hormone, making the food addictive. The rewarding effects of processed foods on our brains make it difficult to prevent overeating to the extent of affecting our health.
Highly Refined Carbs
Any health expert will tell you to avoid refined carbohydrates the maximum amount as you can. Carbohydrates from whole foods are a better option for a healthy meal. The refined carbs are quickly weakened causing a spike in your insulin levels and blood glucose. This also tends to extend your cravings for refined carbs, especially when the sugar levels drop. Manufacturers fool consumers by labeling food as “Whole grains”. This is misleading since the entire grains have undergone both chemical and mechanical processing to be at that stage. If you would like whole grains, get the important food from the grocery but not the packaged foods.
During processing, tons of the nutrients are lost. These nutrients are usually replaced with synthetic ones, which can’t be compared to the first nutrients found in farm fresh foods. Plus, they can’t replace all the nutrients lost thanks to the complexity of those compounds. Processed foods frequently pump your body with these synthetic nutrients and other chemicals. This will take a toll on your gastrointestinal system and your health will start deteriorating.
Contains High Trans Fats Level
Unhealthy fats should cause you to ditch processed foods for healthier choices. Refined vegetable oils, cheap fats and refined seed oils are hydrogenated. There are large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids in these, which are very unhealthy, and known to cause inflammation.
Sodium Levels Are Too High
We all require a particular level of salt for our bodies to function well. However, an excessive amount brings along health issues. Most processed foods contain too much-added salts to form them tasty and increase time period. Your daily limit is usually 2,300mg.
Processed Foods to Avoid
Admittedly, it’s difficult to avoid some items entirely. With that being said, here are a number of the foods you ought to avoid just like the plague:
Sodas, energy drinks and other sweetened beverages, contain high level of refined sugars and artificial additives. They increase your risk of cancer, stroke, renal disorder , and diabetes, among other unpleasant health conditions.
Processed meats: These meats contain all the unhealthy ingredients you would like to avoid, like sodium, saturated fats, and preservatives.
Cookies and Cakes: Commercially baked deserts are full of refined sugars and trans fats which could cause cancer, blood pressure, and obesity.
Conclusion : Nothing good comes out of consuming processed foods, it’s highly advisable to travel with whole fruits and foods. Doing this, you decrease your chances of nasty diseases and improve your health tremendously. Indulging in fried chicken or milkshakes once during a while isn’t bad, but just don’t let it become a habit.
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