Processed foods are foods that are chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substances. These types of foods are bad for your health as they are a major contributor to obesity and many diseases around the world.
Why Are Processed Foods Bad For Your Health?
Contain Artificial Ingredients
Processed foods contain artificial chemicals that are added for various purposes.
Highly processed foods often contain the following:
- Colorants that are used to give the food a specific color
- Flavors that give the food a particular flavor
- Preservatives that prevent the food from rotting
- Texturants that give the food a particular texture
They Are High In Sugar And High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Processed foods and beverages are packed with added sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Sugar has no essential nutrients and is seriously harmful when consumed in excess. It can have devastating effects on our health which can lead to insulin resistance, increased fat accumulation in the liver and abdominal cavity, high triglycerides, and increased levels of the harmful cholesterol.
They Are Engineered For Overconsumption
We all want to eat good food. We crave for foods that are sweet, salty, and fatty because we know that such foods contain energy and nutrients that we need for survival.
Meanwhile, food manufacturers spend massive amounts of resources on making their foods as “rewarding” as possible to the brain, which leads to overconsumption.
Too Many Emulsifiers
Processed foods contain high levels of emulsifiers, which are compounds that help keep fat and water from separating in foods. Also, emulsifiers act as a detergent and can strip away a type of mucous membrane that lines the intestines, protecting cells. These compounds increase a person’s risk for intestinal disease or food allergies.
Often High In Refined Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates from whole foods are much better than refined carbohydrates.
Processed foods are often high in carbs, but it is usually the refined variety. Refined, “simple” carbohydrates are easily broken down in the digestive tract, thereby causing a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin levels as well as many other chronic diseases.
People Can Become Addicted To Junk Food
Some people just can’t stop eating processed foods. This complete loss of control over their consumption is due to the “hyper-rewarding” nature of these foods.
When they eat these foods, they have their brain biochemistry hijacked by the intense dopamine release that occurs in the brain. Sugar and highly rewarding junk foods activate the same areas in the brain as drugs of abuse like cocaine.
Too Many Trans Fats
Processed foods contain unhealthy, cheap fats, refined seed, and vegetable oils (like soybean oil) that are often hydrogenated which turn them into trans fats.
Trans fats end up in a person’s arteries and liver, where they generate damaging free radicals. According to studies, people who consume more of these oils have an increased risk of heart disease.
Too Many Nitrates
Cured meat, for instance, contain nitrates that are converted in the body to compounds called nitrosoureas. These compounds have been linked to colon cancer.
Low In Nutrients
Processed foods are low in essential nutrients. The more you eat of processed foods, the less you will get of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and various trace nutrients.
Low In fiber
Compared with unprocessed food, processed food has too little fiber. Fiber is important to health because it plays a key role in how food is absorbed in the gut. It also slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, treats many cases of constipation, and helps us feel more satisfied with fewer calories
During processing, the fiber that is found naturally in foods is often lost thus making most processed foods very low in fiber.