Processed foods are unhealthy, but not every processed food is bad for us. Most of the foods that we eat are processed in some way. Fruits and vegetables are picked from plants and cheese is created from milk. There is a significant difference between mechanically processed food and chemically processed food. The processed foods we are referring to as “bad” are made from refined ingredients and contain artificial substances. These foods are not “real” and are dangerous to our health. Here are some reasons why these foods are so bad for you:
- Processed Foods are High in Refined Carbohydrates
There is much controversy when it comes to carbohydrates in our diet. Many people think that carbs should be eliminated from the diet while others believe that we should obtain the majority of our energy from carbs. The one thing everyone can agree on is that carbohydrates from whole food sources are much better than those from refined carbohydrates. Simple carbs are broken down quickly and can cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels which can cause carb cravings hours later when blood sugar levels drop again.
- Foods that are Processed Are High in Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup
Processed foods are full of added sugar and high fructose corn syrup. If a lot of sugar is often consumed, it can be very harmful. It is empty calories with no required nutrients that can give you a lot of energy. Sugar can have devastating effects on the metabolism that are much more dangerous than its caloric content. It can cause insulin resistance, increase the levels of harmful cholesterol and increase fat accumulation around the stomach and liver. It can also cause heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. The extra sugar that people are eating is coming mainly from processed foods.
- Processed Foods Provide “Hyper Reward” which causes Over consumption
We have taste buds that are designed to help us to navigate food choices. We tend to enjoy foods that are sweet, salty and fatty because we know that those are the foods that contain energy and nutrients needed for survival. Food manufacturers want people to buy their products, so they have to make them taste good. Most processed foods are designed to be very rewarding to our brain so that they are more desirable than natural foods. Our brains are designed to regulate the balance of energy – how much we consume and the calories that we burn which is designed to keep us at a healthy weight. We have started to eat more than we need, and this is causing a serious health epidemic. Processed foods provide such a reward to our brain that they make us eat more until it makes us sick. Food manufacturers have the goal to create these hyper-rewarding foods that lead to overconsumption.
- Processed Foods Contain many Artificial Ingredients
When you read the label to see what the ingredients are in processed food that is prepackaged, you are probably not going to know what some of the ingredients are. Most of the ingredients are not real food, they are added chemicals including preservatives, colorants, flavouring, and texturants.
- People Can Become Addicted to Junk Food
Processed foods have a serious draw for some. They can become addicted to these foods and lose control over how much they consume. Food addiction is a tremendous problem in our society today because people cannot stop overeating these foods. Their brain chemistry has been taken over by that dopamine release that they experience when they eat these foods. Some junk foods activate the same areas of the brain as drugs like cocaine do.
If you read the label of processed food, you will see that you cannot pronounce most of the ingredients. The bottom line is that this is very dangerous. The answer is to consume only real food and avoid processed foods.