Study: Eating Ultra-Processed Foods = Serious Health Issues
I think we’ve all been made aware that processed foods can cause a variety of health issues. Especially when eaten regularly or in large quantities.
Just to prove the point, researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts studied this subject, publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal. People – especially men – were found to be much more likely to experience serious health issues if they consumed large amounts of processed foods.
The more natural our diets are, the better. Fruits and vegetables fit this bill very nicely. But we can also get good nutrition from meat and other protein-packed foods.
Changing What Nature Designed – What Could Go Wrong?
Before we go further, let’s identify what processed foods are. It’s food that has been changed from its natural state.
That can include everything from canning it, freezing it and adding ingredients to it. Even baking and cooking can count as changing it.
But what we’re really focused on here is the heavily or ultra-processed foods that have unhealthy ingredients added. Such as salt, sugar, flavorings, preservatives and artificial colors. That’s for the purpose of making them last longer or making them more appealing.
Here’s a scary statistic. Ultra-processed foods make up about 60% of the calories in the typical American diet, according to one study.
Fast, Easy and… Unhealthy
One of the reasons ultra-processed foods are so tempting for many of us is because they are usually ready-to-eat. They’re simple and easy.
They include ice cream and sodas, as well as processed meats including sausage and deep-fried chicken. Also, frozen pizza, potato chips, cookies, candy bars and sugary drinks. Not to mention most breakfast cereals.
These types of foods have a double whammy effect. In addition to lacking the nutrition your body needs, they’re loaded with ingredients your body definitely does not need.
In addition, because they’re often eaten when between-meal hunger pains strike, we often consume less of the healthy foods we should eat at mealtime.
Don’t Get Salty With Your Meals
Taking a closer look at some of those ingredients in highly processed foods, one of the biggest culprits is salt. It’s used to keep food fresh, but processing adds too much sodium.
It’s said Americans get close to 70% of the salt they consume from processed and restaurant food. In fact, one fast-food sandwich or burger can provide your entire daily amount of salt.
Canned food often contains much more salt than is good for you. Including canned soup, which usually looks very healthy on the label. Bread and rolls, as well as cold cuts and cured meat, frequently have too much salt.
Meats and cheeses that you might use to load up a taco or burrito can also be loaded with salt.
Sugar and Trans Fat
What about sugar? Yep, that’s another major offender when it comes to unnecessary and harmful ingredients. It’s frequently used to improve texture or taste.
You’ll find it in cereal and baked goods, of course, but also in items such as pasta sauce. In fact, 90% of added sugar in Americans’ diets comes from highly processed foods.
Another thing to watch out for is trans fat. It’s formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil. This process gives food a longer shelf life.
The Mayo Clinic calls trans fat “the worst type of fat to eat.” Several countries and some U.S. states have limited or banned the use of trans fat. Often found in baked goods, margarine and salty snacks, trans fat can lead to serious health issues.
Read Those Labels
So, how do we avoid ultra-processed foods that we know can cause serious health problems?
First and foremost, do some research. Learn which foods are and are not processed, and make your menu selections from there.
If you’re in a grocery store and aren’t sure if a food item is processed, read the label. Look for labels that say “no sodium” or “reduced sodium.” The same with sugar.
Sometimes sodium is disguised on labels as monosodium glutamate or disodium phosphate, so watch for those words. “Synonyms” for sugar include corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose and molasses.
Digestive Freedom Plus
For some folks, no matter how healthy their diet is, they sometimes experience bloating, abdominal discomfort, gas or cramping following a meal. It’s not pleasant. But the relief from Digestive Freedom Plus is.
This highly effective product from the Patriot Health Alliance consists of 13 herbs selected to target digestive concerns. And give your system a proper “reset.” A liquid rather than a pill, it works quickly to start a healthy digestive process.
Digestive Freedom Plus eases bloating and gas, supports regularity, aids fat digestion, supports acid balance, protects your stomach and more.
Helping your digestive system work the way it did when you were younger, it supports the proper movement of food through your digestive system.