Processed foods are basically foods that have added additives, hormones, preservatives, chemicals, unnatural genetic materials, or heat treatments. These components tend to destroy fatty acids, healthy enzymes, minerals and vitamins, making food unhealthy. The whole idea of processing is to lengthen the shelf life of various foods, allowing them to be sold over time.
When it comes to healthy eating, it is recommended that you go for whole foods that are basic and simple. Processed foods have been known to cause various disorders such as obesity, making people struggle with their weight loss goals. Let us dig deeper and see why processed foods are bad for you and why you should avoid them at all costs.
Lacks considerable nutrient density
Think of it this way: the whole idea of consuming food is to get nutrients, right? While manufacturers may assure people that their products contain a lot of minerals, nutritionists and dieticians beg to differ. They say that you do not get enough nutrients by consuming processed foods as opposed to whole foods. Through the excessive cooling and heating, key nutrients are diminished. For instance, when vegetables are blanched before they get packed, the water soluble vitamins fall out. This is also the case when grains for bread are milled. The husk falls off, meaning that they lose valuable nutrients.
High in sugar
Fine, you love canned foods or that sauce you cannot go without everyday. But have you ever tried to see the ingredients these products contain? Have you ever checked the sugar levels indicated in the label? It is well known that sugar is harmful, especially when consumed in excess. Processed foods pack high levels of sugar, meaning that you will be adding the danger of obesity and weight gain. What’s more, sugar is considered “empty calories,” which means that it offers you no essential nutrients. According to studies, sugar does more harm than good to your body. It can lead to high triglycerides, insulin resistance, increased fat accumulation in the abdominal cavity and liver, and increased bad cholesterol.
Lead to over-consumption
Everyone wants to eat good food and stay healthy. It’s just human nature. But our appetite tend to gravitate towards sweet, fatty, salty foods, because we think such foods pack a lot of energy needed for survival. It is obvious that if food manufacturers want to succeed, they have to make their products taste good. And do you know what this means? You eat more and more. Many processed foods you find on the shelves have been engineered to be “rewarding,” causing over-consumption. This may lead to what nutritionists call “food reward hypothesis of obesity.”
Contain a lot of artificial ingredients
If you look clearly at the label put on various processed foods, it is likely that you will not understand anything when it comes to the ingredients indicated. This is because most of the ingredients are not actual food, but artificial chemicals added for a number of reasons. Packaged foods often contain preservatives that prevent the product from rotting, colorants that are used to give it a specific color, flavor meant to give the product a flavor, and texturants that give the food a specific texture. Ingesting all these chemicals is obviously not healthy. Your body needs natural foods that offer you a significant amount of nutrients, not a proprietary blend of chemicals that can lead you to the hospital bed.
Addiction to processed junk foods
The rewarding nature of processed foods can come with serious consequences. Various studies have pointed out that there are people who have become addicted to junk foods, completely losing control over the consumption of such foods. Now this addiction is a big problem in the society these days. It is the main reason why people cannot have any results with their weight loss goals, no matter how good or hard they try. Highly rewarding foods activate dopamine release, leading to addiction just like drugs do.
Low in fiber content
Fiber is an important constituent in our body. Soluble fiber, to be specific, functions as a probiotic in the body, which means that it feeds the friendly bacteria found in your intestine. There is also ample evidence that fiber slows down absorption of carbohydrates, helping you feel more satisfied without necessarily having to eat many times. Better still, it helps in cases of constipation, a common problem these days. The bad news is that this nutrient is not found in most processed foods. It is lost completely during processing or intentionally removed.
High in refined carbohydrates
There’s a lot of controversy when it comes to having carbohydrates in the diet. Some people say that most energy intake should come from carbohydrates, while others say that they should avoid carbs altogether. However, one thing that nutritionists agree is that carbs derived from whole foods are better compared to refined carbohydrates. It is true that processed foods contain a good amount of carbs, but they are refined. These carbs are broken down quickly in the digestive tract, causing rapid spikes in insulin levels and blood sugar. It is not surprising that doctors advise that diabetic patients to avoid processed foods like plague as they can cause negative health effects.
Yes, you love that maple syrup, margarine or canned foods. Maybe you cannot go without soft drinks or fast food. All these are processed foods, meaning that they have passed through various processes to lengthen their shelf life. Most of them have added components such as additives, hormones, preservatives, chemicals, unnatural genetic materials, or heat treatments. These chemicals are known to be unhealthy to human body, and can sometimes lead to various diseases or disorders. If you want to stay healthy and keep your weight in check, it is recommended that you avoid processed foods and instead go for whole foods.