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Why Shouldn't Processed Food Be On Our Daily Diet?

Processed foods... something you hear a lot about these days... some say they're fine.. .others say they'll kill you... The truth is somewhere in the middle though it tends to lead to one side more than the other.

What are processed foods?

Well there's a lot of leeway in how they're defined but for our purposes essentially it's foods that have ingredients that aren't found in nature. Put another way if it's got a long list of ingredients and many of them are some form of chemical.. well they're a processed food.

Let's face it...processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats have invaded our store markets at an extremely fast pace. Why? mostly because they're cheap to make.. often the ingredients are far cheaper than natural ones.

Many of these chemicals are made in a lab and are added to natural foods to make them tastier and prolong their shelf-life.

Unfortunately, they can also be devastating for your body, as they interfere with several biochemical reactions and act as toxins.

The reason it’s difficult to stop consuming these products (and this is a big one because the food companies are in business to make money) resides within their addictive properties.

Meaning they're designed to stimulate our brain’s pleasure center (i.e., nucleus accumbens) and make you want more.

Over time, the harmful substances may lead to debilitating medical conditions, including a wide range of cancers, especially colorectal cancer.

Like any addiction, there is no magical way to stop consuming processed foods, and the best way is still to gradually stop buying them while switching to whole foods in the process.

For instance, instead of buying canned tuna, it’s better to get fresh fish and cook it yourself at home. This way, you’ll avoid being exposed to all the harmful toxins and learn to enjoy making your own meals.

Oxidative stress and processed foods

In our bodies, the cells stock compounds known as reactive oxygen species or free radicals, which are used to destroy the components of foreign pathogens (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi).

However, reactive oxygen species have one major flaw: The inability to distinguish between foreign pathogens and self-tissues.

As a safety net, the cells stock antioxidants (intrinsic and dietary) to maintain balance. Unfortunately, this process is not perfect, as the number of free radicals often exceeds that of antioxidants, leading to a metabolic state known as oxidative stress.

This pathological process predisposes people to premature aging, as well as a wide range of maladies. Oxidative stress is significantly higher in individuals who consume large amounts of processed foods, which is another reason to cut them from your diet.

Takeaway message

Processed foods can be extremely damaging to the human body and while it's ok to consume them from time to time they shouldn't be the main part of your diet.

Sadly for most Americans, processed food is the staple of their diet which has driven the obesity epidemic and a host of medical issues. Much of the medical costs in this country can be directly traced to the diet we eat.

If you want to cut your medical expenses, live a longer, happier, healthier life then we suggest you try to switch to whole foods as the main part of your diet as they carry more nutritional value as well as health benefits. Your body and your wallet will thank you.

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