Studies have linked eating processed foods to an increase in obesity, chronic diseases, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Processed food are defined as, “foods that are chemically processed and made from highly refined ingredients and artificial additives,” such as cereals, boxed and frozen meals, chips, cookies, crackers, lunch meats, and more. Here are 7 reasons to avoid processed foods and some HELPFUL TIPS on how to avoid them:
7 Reasons to Avoid Processed Foods:
- Processed Foods are High in Sugar & High Fructose Corn Syrup. Refined fructose such as Corn syrup is in almost every processed food and programs your body to eat more and store fat. Increase of sugar is linked to diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity and cancer.
- Processed Foods Contain Artificial Ingredients. Artificial chemicals such as, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colors, and chemicals residues have been linked to cancer, inflammation, allergies, hyperactivity, and Alzheimer’s or other brain diseases.
- Processed Foods are Highly Addictive. Modifying foods removes the fiber that is needed in real food to help us fill full. Processed foods stimulate a neurotransmitter called dopamine that makes you feel good even though the foods lacks nutrients. This can lead to food addiction and cravings. A study found that Oreo cookies were found to be just as addictive as cocaine.
- Processed Foods are Low in Fiber & Nutrients. Processed foods have real nutrition taken out of them and re-added as synthetic vitamins and minerals that your body does not recognize. There is no way to add phytonutrients back into our food in a lab, that is provided by eating “whole real foods.”
- Processed Foods are Loaded with Pesticides. According to data compiled by Rodale, breakfast cereals alone contained 70 different types of pesticides and chemical residues.
- Processed Foods Destroy Your Mind. A study conducted by Oxford University showed that eating processed foods can cause bouts of “brain fog, ” difficulty concentrating, irritability and anger.
- Processed Foods Wreak Havoc on the Digestion System. Processed foods have had nutrients, fiber, enzymes and vitamins stripped from them, which can throw off balances in the digestive tract by killing beneficial bacteria and exposing the system to inflammation and infection.
HELPFUL TIPS TO AVOID PROCESSED FOODS:
- Shop the outside edges of the grocery store. The center isles are where most of the processed foods are.
- Avoid Boxes, Bags & Cans. Pre-packaged foods have been touched.
- Stay Away from White Foods. White bread, white rice, and bleached or enriched wheat flour. These are some of the most highly processed foods and have added sugar, salt and trans-fats for flavor. Buy whole-grain, unbleached and unenriched.
- Read the Ingredients Label. Foods should contain 5 ingredients or less and should be familiar and pronounceable.
- Buy Your Bread from a Local Bakery & Produce from a Farmer’s Market.
- Avoid Foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup. This is worse for you than eating real sugar.
- Avoid Diet or Low Fat Foods. These contain artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils that have actually been shown to increase obesity and lead to diabetes and heart disease.
- Avoid ordering off the Kid’s Menu. These are usually pre-made chicken nuggets, white flour pasta and french fries. Try putting together a vegetable plate or share your food instead.