Processed foods have been getting a lot of press lately and none of it has been good. When someone is talking about processed food, they are talking about food that has had chemicals and other artificial substances added to it.
When you read the food label of something that is processed, you will see dozens of ingredients, most of which you probably do not recognize because they are just chemicals. Such chemicals are not only found in mainstream foods, they can also be found in weight loss foods as well.
High in sugar and high fructose corn syrup
High fructose corn syrup, as well as sugar, are often present in high amounts in processed foods, two ingredients that have absolutely no nutritional value. Foods with these ingredients also tend to be high in calories so you are racking up your daily caloric intake without getting any real nutrients in return when eating many processed foods. Many studies have shown that sugar can lead to a fatty liver, abdominal cavity fat, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and insulin resistance, all of which can lead to further health problems.
Humans tend to enjoy foods that are sweet, fatty and salty and eating such foods occasionally is usually not an issue, but when consumed regularly, they can take a toll. Most processed foods taste very good and target the brain’s reward center making you want to eat more and more. Research has shown that when you see food as rewarding, you can start consuming far more than you need and this can result in a variety of negative health consequences. Of course, obesity is a major risk factor because most processed foods are also high in calories.
When you read food labels for processed foods, you will find that the majority of ingredients are things you have never heard of. This is because it is chemicals and other artificial substances and not actual food ingredients. There are often several dozen ingredients and the great majority of them are not actual food products, but things like preservatives, flavor, colorants and texturants, all of which are chemicals of some sort. Current research is looking at a potential link between certain preservatives and dyes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
Junk Food Addiction
Food addiction is something that is casually discussed sometimes in the media, but many experts believe that it is a very real thing. Studies have shown that when a person eats junk food and sugar that the same area of the brain that cocaine activates is activated. This means that you can essentially compare a cocaine addict to a food addict when it comes to how the brain drives such behaviors. Processed foods are often high in sugar, especially the different junk foods that are on the market today. They also contain other chemicals and ingredients that are being studied to determine if they are addictive.
High in Refined Carbohydrates
Processed foods tend to have high levels of carbohydrates, specifically refined carbohydrates. A refined carbohydrate is a carbohydrate that results after a whole grain has been mechanically processed to a form that no longer has several essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron and fiber. This leads to the food being able to last longer on the shelf so that it is far less perishable than fresher options.
Many of these processed foods contain very high levels of fat. Eating more of these will definitely put your effort to lose weight quickly into reverse gear. Getting too many carbohydrates in your diet can also present you with a number of health issues and one that is currently being studied is how too many carbs can increase the risk of heart problems.
Low in Nutrients
When you eat, you eat to get the nutrients necessary for the body to function at its highest level possible. Several vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are critical for the body and most of these have to be consumed because the body does not make them naturally. Most processed foods simply do not have adequate nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies can cause a wide variety of health issues many of which could be prevented with the right diet or a healthy eating plan and lifestyle.
Low in Fiber
Fiber is critical for a wide variety of health functions, such as maintaining bowel health, lowering cholesterol, achieving a healthy weight and controlling blood sugar levels. Processed foods tend to be very low in fiber content so they do not satisfy or fill you up. This can lead to you eating far more calories each day before feeling full. The various chemicals and other additives can also cause effects that fiber often helps to correct, such as spikes in blood sugar. The effect is that you end up eating more than your body actually lead, which will seriously affect your effort to achieve weight loss success.
When you are looking at fiber, look for a type that is both fermentable and soluble because this type of fiber will provide you with the greatest health benefits.
Consumption of processed weight loss foods require less time and energy
Processed foods are often produced with the aim to have a long shelf life. To achieve this requires a wide range of ingredients that never need to be in foods. The majority of the nutrients, including fiber, have been removed so the body is able to digest processed foods with little time and energy. This means that you are able to eat a lot more of such foods in a small amount of time which translates to far more calories throughout the day. Your body also does not require lots of energy to digest the foods.
It has been shown that eating unprocessed foods actually help you burn more calories just by eating them when compared to processed foods. This is what you should be eating if you intend to lose weight quickly.
High in Trans Fats
Trans fats are a type of fat that is manufactured via hydrogenation which is done to prevent polyunsaturated oils from spoiling. This is another way that foods can be given a longer shelf life by processing them. This type of fat has been shown to lower good cholesterol, raise bad cholesterol, and increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Avoiding processed food is the primary way to ensure that you are not getting trans fats into your diet. This includes foods that you get at fast food restaurants and any type of convenience foods. It also includes the weight loss foods that you buy off the supermarket shelves.