Why Are Processed Foods So Bad For Us? with video


Why are processed foods so bad for us? — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted BlogHer)

So, we know processed foods are bad for us, but do you know why?  And, just how bad are they?

For One, phosphates.  There are high amounts of phosphate-laden ingredients in all foods with powdered flavor packets — like flavored noodles and boxed mac & cheese.  High levels of phosphates are also found in soda, processed meats, frozen dinners, and all the bags of chips and snacks with flavored powder sprinkled on them.

Here are some of the health concerns from phosphates in processed foods.

From a May 2013 issue of  Environmental Nutrition

A 2007 study from the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that serum phosphorus levels can take a toll on heart health among adults, with or without kidney disease. Individuals with the highest levels of serum phosphorus were found to have a 55 percent increased risk for heart disease compared to those with the lowest levels. Another study reported at the National Kidney Foundation in 2008 found that mortality risk increased by 24 percent among people with higher levels of phosphate in their blood.

High levels of phosphates are also known to accelerate the aging process.  Research shows that both the phosphates as well as the genetically engineered ingredients that are often found in processed foods can cause premature aging of your skin.

From Rondale News

The Facts: Your face could start resembling crinkle-cut chips if you turn to munching processed foods on a regular basis. Research shows both the phosphates and the genetically engineered ingredients often added to processed foods promote aging.

To date, more than 80,000 chemicals have been approved for use in the U.S., many of them used in processed foods. Unfortunately, only about 15 percent have been tested for long-term impacts on human health.

Healthy Tip: Instead of processed foods, choose fare that actually promotes younger-looking skin, including alkaline-forming foods like kale, parsley, almonds, pears, and lemons. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as pastured eggs, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and walnuts, also help hydrate your skin, reducing wrinkles. Tomatoes help fight damaging sunburns, reduce skin roughness, and boost collagen.

Second, there is all the added sugar.  Fructose and high-fructose corn syrup are found in just about all processed foods.  We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, but did you know that it can also cause our brain to not recognize the signal that tells us we are full? It’s true, obesity research by Robert Lustig, MD, at the University of California, shows the result is a never-ending hunger that causes us to gain weight.

And, according to the American Heart Association, we consume about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day; that’s about 25 pounds more than people consumed annually just a few decades ago.

We also need to be on the look-out for surprising hidden sources of added sugars —  found in foods such as bread, crackers, bottled teas, frozen dinners, sauces and marinades.

More from Rondale News

The Facts: Added sugar is the not-so-sweet trick the makers of processed foods use to get you hooked. In 2005, Princeton researchers found that eating sugar triggers the release of opioids, neurotransmitters that light up your brain’s pleasure center.  Addictive drugs like morphine and heroin stimulate those same pleasure pathways. Scary fact? After 21 days on a high-sugar diet, you could start showing signs of withdrawal—chattering teeth, anxiety, and depression—when sugar is taken away.

In 2010 I wrote about a study comparing junk food to cocaine…

Have you ever felt like you were addicted to junk food?  A shocking new study finds that this can actually happen. Apparently foods high in fat and sugar can be as addictive as cocaine or nicotine.  This addictive aspect of junk food can then lead to compulsive overeating and in-turn obesity.  Read full article Is Junk Food as Addictive as Cocaine?


Here is a great youtube video from the PBS News Hour — How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal…

So what are we to do?  Some people may have the ability and willpower to ditch processed food altogether, but most of us just don’t.  My suggestion is know the health risks, and decrease the amount of processed foods you eat as much as possible.  If we all stop eating so much of it, maybe manufacturers will take notice.

What do you think?  Let us know in comments.

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*image from Why is Bread Bad For You