Diet has been known to affect or even cause several health conditions like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and several other diseases. Thus it is important that we have a healthy diet in order for us to live a healthy life. Most people think that a healthy diet means avoiding all kinds of fast foods and other fatty foods and avoiding any kind of calorie-rich food, but this is not so. The diet does not only mean avoiding such foods but it also implies eating nutritious foods that are beneficial to our body and helps us in building a strong immune system and vital organs. In our busy lives, it becomes quite difficult to follow a healthy diet and most people are also not able to give attention to a healthy diet.1
Nowadays many types of research and studies are being carried out to find out the best ways of eating a healthy diet. Usually, people follow wrong kinds of diets that not only affect their overall health but also make them prone to various diseases.2 One of the main reasons for unhealthy eating habits is lack of time. Most of the time, people do not have enough time to take care of a healthy diet. Hence it is advisable to learn the healthy diet basics and know how to eat a healthy diet in a day.3
What Are Processed Foods?
Processed foods are those that have gone through some sort of processing to remove things that are not useful in their natural state.4 Processing is a general word to describe the ways in which any raw food is changed to make it suitable for consumption. Processed foods can be made in large factories or by hand but are generally made by machines.5
Examples of common processed foods include refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup (fructose corn sweeteners), enriched white bread, high carbohydrate cereals, cookies, and other snacks, ready mixes for most processed foods, and pre-packaged foods. Processed foods often lack nutritional value. They are usually high in calories and low in nutrients. Many people do not realize this and end up consuming diets low in nutrients and eating more servings of junk each day.6
The Dangers of Processed Foods
One of the biggest debates in health circles is what are the dangers of processed foods? This argument has been going on for years, and although there are many pros and cons to this debate, the reality is that processed foods are really bad for your health. Processed foods are high in fat, salt, sugar, as well as chemicals and preservatives that really don’t add anything to the nutritional content of the food, but rather, just drain the nutrients from them.7
The easiest answer to the question of what are the dangers of processed foods centers around the removal of natural nutrients from our diets. While modern science has come quite far in terms of assisting the human race to keep optimum health, there is no artificially manufactured substitute to the valuable nutritional value found in natural foods. Processed foods simply add more cost to processed food, and their production is largely driven strictly by market demand.8 Due to the fact that most people love the taste of processed foods (most people rarely realize how much of a negative effect they can have on their health), and the high level of sugar, fat, salt, or artificial colorings many processed foods are infused with, it is easy to see why processed foods have such a negative impact on our diet. The next question might be, “How can we avoid the dangers of processed foods?”
The solution comes in the form of a healthier diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. By avoiding processed foods such as packaged foods, frozen food, dried foods, tinned products, processed milk, and other additives and preservatives added to food during processing, you will be eliminating all of these dangers from your diet. With a little ingenuity, you can begin to transform your current unhealthy diet into one filled with delicious, nutritional foods.9
High Levels of Added Sugar in Processed Foods Can Make Your Health Worse
One of the biggest problems with processed foods is that we as a society are eating too much sugar and other unhealthy foods. Because these foods are cooked and packaged and then shipped to us, they are often high in preservatives, artificial additives, high fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients. This means that we are getting less healthy food than we should be.10 High levels of added sugar in processed foods are one of the culprits that contribute to the rising obesity rate in this country.11
What exactly are high levels of added sugar in processed foods? According to the new Atkins Diet book, “The secret is that it isn’t the sugar itself that increases your blood sugar so much as the chemical process by which the sugar is added to the food. The sugar molecules are too large to be absorbed through the small gaps in our teeth. Therefore, your blood sugar goes up and down based on what type of food you are eating.”
High levels of added sugar in foods have been linked to such things as diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, and even some forms of chronic fatigue. It has also been shown to contribute to aging and senility and may cause certain types of diseases in your dog and cat to occur.12 As a matter of fact, some scientists are linking high levels of sugar to the creation of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic substances that cause cancer in humans as well as animals.13
The problem with high levels of added sugar in processed foods is that we are surrounded by sugar. Most of what we eat, whether it be candy cookies or juice, contains sugar. So there is an imbalance of nutrients when it comes to what we are ingesting. This imbalance can cause us to experience many different symptoms and can be the cause of many illnesses.14 When we consume too much sugar, it can cause our blood sugar to spike up and fall too quickly, causing multiple health issues.15
One good way to cut out sugar from processed foods is to choose organic, naturally processed foods that do not use high levels of added sugar. Natural sugar is much healthier for us than sugar added to processed foods. If you want to enjoy tasty, healthy foods, it is important to avoid processed foods that have high levels of added sugar and eat more organic foods. You will be amazed at how delicious and nutritious organic foods can be!
Refined Carbs in Processed Foods
There is a strong connection between diets rich in refined carbohydrates and mood swings. Processed foods contain chemical additives that can affect our moods. The effects of refined carbohydrates are not only a risk to our health, but they are also associated with a host of other health problems such as obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, eczema, stroke, and ADHD.16
Refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and white rice are digested too quickly, raising your blood sugar level and decreasing your insulin levels. This means you get hungry less often. Processed foods like white bread, pasta, and white rice contain only two grams of fiber per serving. Fiber from fresh vegetables is only three grams. If you add in the high amounts of refined carbohydrates in these products you can lose a significant amount of fiber without increasing your daily intake of vitamins or minerals.17
High-calorie diets are the biggest culprit of fat cells getting out of balance. When your body begins to store more fat for energy than it uses, your weight increases. The same is true for vitamin D deficiency. If you include too many processed foods in your diet, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of vitamin D deficiency that can result in arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Sugar is another problem. People who eat too many refined carbohydrates are at risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, eczema, and other health problems. Many processed foods have high sugar content, especially white bread, cakes, cookies, and sweets. The high amounts of sugar found in some cereals may also increase your risk for tooth decay. You don’t need to totally give up cereals, but cutting down on their consumption greatly lowers your risks.
Processed foods contain large amounts of sodium. Sodium is used for treating diarrhea, constipation, and other problems.18 However, the high levels of sodium seen in white bread, processed foods, and other sources of salt may actually raise your blood pressure. It is important to keep your blood pressure at a healthy rate, and eating less sodium can help to do this.
Low Fiber Content in Processed Foods Isn’t a Good Thing
Most foods are heated at temperatures above 120 degrees F and are often preserved by treating with salt. This reduces their naturally high fiber content. The result is that it takes longer for your body to digest and process foods containing low fiber. When this happens, the nutrients that you are trying to get are not fully absorbed and used.
Eating low-fiber foods is not a bad thing. It is just important to be mindful of the choices that you make. Eating a diet that has a lot of processed or junk foods is not good for you. In fact, eating a diet that consists mostly of processed foods can do more harm to your health than good. You will end up feeling tired and bored because there are too many things that are confusing you. So make sure that you make an effort to get as much fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein as possible.19
One of the best ways to get low fiber in raw foods is to eat them raw whenever possible. Try cooking them instead of frying them and keep an eye on portion sizes.20 If you find that you are still having trouble eating low fiber in raw foods, you can always take fiber supplements instead of getting them from fruits and vegetables. These will help you overcome your problem of low fiber easily.
Processed foods are not bad for you, however, eating too many processed foods can lead to constipation and other digestive problems. If you want to overcome constipation and other digestive problems, you will need to make an effort to include a low-fiber diet in your daily routine. You can get this diet by eating lots of fruits and vegetables, fish and poultry, and cutting back on unhealthy meats and dairy products.21
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13 “Mycotoxin: Its Impact on Gut Health and Microbiota – Frontiers.” 26 Feb. 2018, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcimb.2018.00060/full Accessed 3 Sep. 2021.
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<sup<20 “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet – Mayo Clinic.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983 Accessed 3 Sep. 2021.
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