10 Reasons To Hate About Highly Processed Food

Research proves that eating highly processed food can lead to over weight gain.Canned Goods. Photo: Valerie Everett | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Is losing weight one of the challenges you are facing now? Did you try different kinds of diet or exercise, and nothing seems to help. Are you a busy person who likes to eat at fast foods? Or, maybe, you don’t know how to cook yet, and you love to eat preserved and refined food available at the grocery? Well, my friend, this article may somehow help you.

According to a recent study at the National Institutes of Health, eating highly processed food causes overeating and unwanted weight gain. Twenty adults participated in the research conducted by the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and prove the latter can be destructive to your health.

Here’s how the nitty gritty goes: For the duration of the study, ten males and ten females are admitted at the NIH Clinical Center for one month and in random order for two weeks on specific diets of highly processed food or minimally processed food.

For reference, a highly processed meal may include a bagel with cream cheese and turkey bacon, on the other hand, a minimally processed meal may consist of oatmeal with walnuts, bananas, and skim milk. Both of the diet types had similar amounts of calories, sugars, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates, and participants can eat whatever they wanted.

As a result, when it comes to a highly processed diet, individuals ate almost five hundred calories more daily compared to unprocessed food. In average, they gained 0.9 kilograms or two pounds while on a highly processed diet and lost the equivalent amount with unprocessed diet.

The study supports the idea that unprocessed foods have a lot of benefits, but researchers take into account that highly processed food is challenging to avoid since it takes more time and money is to prepare. Eating a healthier diet may pose challenges, especially to people who are financially challenged.

As stated in Eatright.org, highly processed foods include ready to eat food (such as crackers, granola, deli-meat) and pre-made meals (such as frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners).

According to Active.com’s Jennifer Fox, these are the reasons why you should hate and ditch highly processed food as much as you can:

First, they are mostly composed of sugars. Having too much sugar can lead to a list of health problems and harmful effects on metabolism. Second, they lacked fiber (which slows down carbohydrate absorption and helps us feel full with lesser calories). When eating highly processed food, we need to eat more of it, so that we will feel complete.

Third, they are designed to be addictive. The primary reason why it’s challenging to stop eating unhealthy and processed food is that it’s chemically modified to be addictive. When eaten, dopamine or the feel-good hormone is released. That’s why we sometimes feel good after eating a ton of processed food. 

Fourth, they can cause mood swings. A study conducted by the UC San Diego team found out that trans fats (found in processed food) can make people more irritable and more aggressive. Fifth, their labels seem like contents from a chemistry book. Most ingredients listed on the Ingredients section of processed food are not only hard to pronounce, but they are added to improve its taste and texture and to make its shelf life longer.

Sixth, they increase your sodium levels higher than the recommended levels. Too much salt can lead to higher risks of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Seven, they can cause sleeping problems. When we intake a high dose of processed carbohydrates, our body struggles to adjust with the unanticipated spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. That’s why you can have a difficult time trying to fall asleep if you ate processed food before bedtime.

Eight, they are low in nutrients. Nine, They can lead to overeating. As discussed earlier, we need to eat more processed food to feel full, compared when eating whole and unprocessed food. Ten, they are composed of processed oils and trans fats, which are harmful to the body.

All of us have different types of food that we love to eat, but then again, we need to keep in mind, that to achieve more things in life, one should make healthy choices on what food she/he should eat.

Life is too short to worry about carbohydrates and what other people think. But then again my friend, I would like to leave you with straightforward advice. Just like what they say, remember that too much love can kill you and so does too much highly processed food.

About the Author

Reysel Montero
I've been contributing news since 2010, both online and print. Aside from Z6Mag, I manage independent news blogs that provide awareness on a diverse list of topics to every reader.

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