We live in such a fast paced world that processed food is often the most convenient. I admit that with three kids involved in something every evening of the week, I just want to grab something quick for dinner. After learning the effects of processed food on my body, I’ve managed to plan ahead to avoid eating processed food.
Processed Foods – Chemicals, additives and preservatives are added to processed foods so that they will last for a long time without going rancid or affecting the taste of the food. Food manufacturers spend time, money and research on beautiful packaging and strategies to lengthen shelf-life, with little attention on how the foods will lengthen your life or create lasting health.
You can identified processed foods if it’s ready to eat out of the box, can or container. Mostly everything in the store is processed unless it is fresh meat or produce. The Body Ecology Diet has taught me so much about processed foods. Here’s some great information they’ve put together about the effects of processed foods on our bodies.
- CANCER – Some synthetic chemicals used in the processed foods industry are known to have carcinogenic properties. A seven-year study conducted by the University of Hawaii of almost 200,000 people found that those who ate the most processed meats (hot dogs, bologna) had a 67 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate little or no meat products.
- OBESITY – Heavily processed foods are usually higher in sugar, fat and salt, and lower in nutrients and fiber than the raw foods used to create them, making them the perfect choice if you’re interested in unhealthy weight gain and water retention. According to the World Health Organization, processed foods are to blame for the spike in obesity levels and chronic disease around the world.
- HEART DISEASE – Many processed foods have trans fatty acids (TFA), the dangerous type of fat you don’t want in your diet. TFA’s give a rise to LDL, the dangerous cholesterol, and squash HDL, the good one. Harvard recently conducted a study which found that women who avoided high-carb processed foods cut their heart disease risk by 30%.
I encourage you to try to set aside some extra time each week to plan your meals and cook ahead. I’m not thrilled about cooking personally but I do know that a little extra time each week keeps the processed foods out of my house.
This is the 4th post in a series. Click this Steps to a Healthier You link to see the rest of the posts :)! My next post will be about “The Heath Benefits of Exercise”. Stay Tuned!