Eat real, clean, wholesome food! Discard unhealthy, artificial, processed food!
Take charge of your health and transform your life.
Eating whole foods involves letting go of the conveniences that processed food provides. With all the dangers of processed foods to our health, should you re-evaluate your choices?
When was the last time you ate a meal that was prepared from wholesome ingredients? As in a meal containing ingredients that are farm-to-table and the only processing you did was to mince, chop up and cook in your kitchen? When I ask most people this question, they usually take some time to reflect before they give me an answer like, “well, we ate spinach for dinner last night…”. Which is great, but what about everything else on your plate? Was it also wholesome? Or completely processed?
Who could blame you for choosing convenience? With increased cost of living and longer working hours, we hardly have time to plan healthy meals. In the United States for instance, processed foods contribute to 70% of consumers diet. This trend has also caught on in Dubai over the last few years. In 2012, BBC reported the following about the increased consumption of processed foods in Dubai,” …the young and affluent population is moving away from fresh, unprocessed produce, and heading towards packaged food that is less-time consuming and more convenient”. This problem is continuous, as shown by these letters sent to Gulf News Opinion section in April 2018, by Dubai residents who are concerned about the increased popularity of processed foods and their contribution to obesity, including children!
In this blog, I will share with you why processed foods are bad news for your health and hopefully turn you towards whole foods that are clean and healthy for your body.
1. Processed foods are Low in fiber
Most processed food items have lost their fiber and nutrients but gained sugar, chemicals, or other ingredients. Eating these foods denies your body the great benefits of fiber. More so, one study has linked eating fried foods, refined grains, sweets, and processed meats to the inflammation of molecules.
2. Processed foods are high in trans-fats (Bad fats!)
In a previous post, I talked about hydrogenated fats (bad fat that is…). These are extremely unhealthy fats that have been shown to contribute to health complications that result in premature deaths. Some bad effects of trans fats include:
- Trans fats lower good (HDL) cholesterol and increases bad (LDL) cholesterol
- Higher risk of heart failure and stroke
- Increased likelihood of obesity and type 2 diabetes
3. Processed foods are lower in nutrients
Real, clean, unprocessed foods contain a multitude of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. When food is processed, parts are removed and along with those parts, a majority of nutrients are lost.
Some manufacturers try to compensate for this by adding synthetic minerals and vitamins. The fact of the matter is, supplements are just as risky; they will never replace the good wholesome stuff. Not to mention, artificially produced nutrients are not absorbed by the body as whole nutrients. For example, one study shows that your body absorbs natural vitamin E twice as efficiently as the synthetic stuff.
4. High in refined carbohydrates
Processed carbohydrates like white bread and white rice are absorbed fast, causing spikes in sugar levels. When you hit a “sugar low”, you will experience food cravings, which can only be satisfied by eating more carbs. If you’ve been wondering why your waist line is burgeoning, I’m happy to inform you that this “blood sugar roller coaster” could be the root cause.
But, your concern with fat around the mid-section (visceral fat) should be more than just physical appearance. This fat wraps around your liver, kidneys, pancreas, and interferes with the functions played by these vital organs. Visceral fat also releases cytokines, a hormone that can only be eliminated by the liver. Cytokines interfere with mood, food cravings and weight. You see how this is all linked?
Abdominal fat (and a high-body fat ratio) is also a sign that you are one step away from type 2 diabetes. This is because visceral fat makes it difficult to produce insulin. If you cannot produce insulin, any carbs you consume will not be processed and eliminated.
By the way, if you are battling food addiction, shedding processed carb foods would be a good place to start. These foods cause your brain to release dopamine, which in turn affects how you perceive food.
5. Processed foods contain artificial ingredients
Artificial ingredients are inevitable in food processing. Manufacturers add artificial ingredients to food to preserve it, enhance texture, improve colour and enhance flavor. Though they serve a purpose, artificial ingredients are chemical substances that turn your processed foods from bad to worse.
Ingredients that are proprietary blends are usually listed vaguely as “artificial colorants” or “artificial flavors”. There are many other ingredients hiding behind all the vagueness. Whereas the word “artificial” is a sign that you shouldn’t buy a product, to me, a vaguely stated ingredient is an even worse indication. It’s best to stay away from these products. It doesn’t matter what regulatory bodies say. Anything artificial should not come within a mile of your body.
Conclusion: So that’s it! Convenience is so attractive in today’s fast-paced world but it leads to food choices that lead to poor health and illness. Processed foods are unhealthy. Period. Clean out your pantry and restock it with real, clean, unprocessed food!