Processed foods get a lot of bad press and rightly so, but you should be aware of the different types of processing. After all, a lot of our foods need to be processed in one way or another, for example a pre-cooked chicken will be seasoned and cooked for us, or minced beef will be ground up in a machine. These are both processes but using real and natural food.
The dangers come when you look at food which involves chemically processed ingredients. This type of food is usually high in sugar, salt and saturated fats to give it flavour and substance. But it is within these highly processed additions where the dangers to our bodies lie.
Dangers Of Rewards
The problem is that naturally, our taste buds enjoy and seek out salty, sweet or fatty tastes because in evolutionary terms these types of food contained natural energy which we required for hunting, trekking and running from wild predators. So originally, these types of food were eaten for survival and the calories would be burnt off in the process of a hunt for example. Nowadays, with the predators in zoos, the supermarket shelves stocked high and cars to travel in, we no longer require food for these purposes, yet we still seek them out and eat them in far higher and unhealthier quantities than ever before!
Food manufacturers know that we are drawn to certain types of food and flavours, and so, when it comes to their products, they stock them full of them, sadly to our detriment! The brain is flooded with the happy hormone dopamine when it finds these processed flavours and sees them as a reward. As such it fails to put up its defenses and stop us eating when the processed ingredients start attacking our insides.
Our minds and bodies are being tricked by the money grabbing food industry and our health is the victim!
Dangers Of Sugar
Excess sugar, (or in this case the dangerous version known as fructose), salt and fat can lead to all types of illnesses and death. Blocked arteries, heart disease, dangerous cholesterol levels, liver failure, diabetes, obesity and even cancer.
They have to put warning labels on cigarette packs, but with so many unhealthy ‘nasties’ lurking in processed foods, surely those packets are next for the warning sign?
Dangers Of The Letter E
If you have ever heard of E numbers then you know that when you look at the ingredients of any processed food or meal the majority of the ‘ingredients’ are either numbers, letters or unpronounceable words. These are the chemically created ingredients which make the processed food processed! The majority of bad processed foods contain preservatives, added colours, textures and flavors. The manufacturer need not tell you on the ingredients label what is used in each of these additives’ creation, so you have an indeterminate amount of extra chemicals going into your body without you even realizing!
Dangers Of Fake
To try and counteract the loss of goodness in the food during the processing phases, manufacturers will add synthetic versions but this is not a healthy way to get your minerals and vitamins – you are far better off having a plate of fruit, vegetable or any other unprocessed food.
Dangers Of Carbs
Refined carbohydrates which are often used in processed foods can result in spikes in your blood sugar levels leading to a craving for more carbs later. So the process not only makes you potentially gain weight from the cravings, but the processed, chemical versions of carbs can lead to negative side effects on the body and illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Dangers OF Excess Weight
Weight gain is a crucial factor in the fight against processed foods. Not only does it stem from the cravings for more carbs, but it comes from the fact that processed food is so easy to digest. In fact, digesting unprocessed foods can burn twice as many calories than processed food! This means that relying on processed foods ensures you are eating the unhealthiest form of food available, giving your body no nutrients, eating to excess due to cravings, as well as burning less calories.
When you put these together, it leads to a whole host of unhealthy activity going on within your body!
Dangers For The Country
Processed food, with its additives, preservatives, E numbers, fake minerals and ability to attack our bodies from the inside is a real danger in our Western culture. A report done by the Global Burden of Disease ranked the UK 12th out of 19th similarly affluent countries when it came to the number of healthy years of life before death.
And whilst our life expectancy has risen by 4.2 years over the past 20 years, our unhealthy lifestyles and poor diets are mostly to blame. And with heart disease being our biggest killer, choosing a healthy, unprocessed and CLEAN EATING diet could go along way to fix that!