Processed Food Can Make You Sick (really sick)

491522967Everything your body does, every biological process, enzyme reaction, the formation of new proteins, even how your chromosomes repair themselves requires the nutrients you receive from what you eat or drink. Every thought, movement and cellular process depends upon the nutrients that you have to get from your diet.

So it all comes down to your food choices. Just as excellent health can be attributed to a superior diet, so can poor health, sickness and disease.

Let me ask you, do you suffer from diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, dementia, poor wound healing, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, persistent infections, bowel dysfunction, weight gain, obesity, chronic inflammation, arthritis or gout? Quite the list.

These are all diseases and medical conditions which can be linked directly to a poor diet full of processed food.

Processed Food Worse than Nutritional Zero

A diet that is high in these processed foods derived from white flour, snack foods, sugar-laden foods, soda, frozen entrees, canned foods, prepared meats, fast foods, breakfast cereals, confectionary and sports bars are bad for you—for what they contain and more importantly, what they’re seriously lacking.

A diet high in processed foods often contains high amounts of empty calories derived from refined carbohydrates, sugar, saturated fat and altered, processed fats from vegetable oils. All those empty calories provide a concentrated source of energy to your body without the added vitamins, minerals and essential fats the body needs for normal cellular processes. These foods also offer no added fiber to your diet, which is so essential for the control of blood pressure, normal bowel function, blood sugar regulation and cholesterol production.

Your Body on Empty Calories

When you eat these foods, your blood sugar spikes, followed by an equal spike in the amount of insulin your pancreas secretes into your bloodstream to control this dramatic rise in blood sugar. Insulin is a fat storage hormone so if continual higher amounts secreted are necessary to control spiking blood sugar after meals of processed foods, the inevitable will happen. You will gain a great deal of body fat quickly around your waist, inside your abdomen and around your hips, buttocks and thighs.

Not only this, but the high insulin levels caused by eating these types of foods will push your blood pressure to rise, cholesterol and triglycerides to increase, and levels of inflammation to steadily increase. And this will lead to further weight gain, insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction that often preclude the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Today in the United States, approximately 25% to 30% of the population has this common metabolic syndrome and don’t even realize it. The overreliance upon processed junk foods, high in calories without any appreciable nutritional value, has lead to an epidemic of overweight people and those with obesity, including an enhanced risk for the development of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia. There is absolutely no doubt that the highly processed diet of Americans is influencing the risk factors for chronic disease.

Processed foods are making us sick.

This same Western diet is causing similar damage in other cultures who’ve adopted it throughout the world. This is what globalization has done.

Why ‘Real Food’ Matters

More importantly, these foods do not contain the essential fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need every day to live a healthy life. People are omnivores and also need a balanced source of plant foods, including vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocado, whole unrefined grains, and fresh animal foods like meat, yogurt, fish, eggs and seafood. These foods provide the proper macronutrients in the right balanced forms with all the nutrients we need to not just survive but thrive.

This is real food.

People who consume a diet high in processed foods often are much heavier, more likely to suffer from at least one chronic disease, rely upon medical care including multiple medications, need repeat visits to the hospital, have lower levels of physical functioning, poor sexual function, more mood issues and bouts of depression, poorer quality of life, higher levels of morbidity and poor longevity.

To avoid the pitfalls of a diet high in processed foods, there is only one solution: Stop the madness.

Begin by cutting out the processed foods from your diet and replacing them with whole, fresh foods.

Start with white flour products and replace these with whole grain products like oatmeal, whole wheat, brown rice or quinoa. It’s much better to consume the whole grain in its natural unprocessed form.

Next try to introduce more vegetables and fruit into your diet. You can use a mixture of cooked, raw, steamed or stir-fried. Also try to eat more beans or peas; these legumes are an exceptional source of inexpensive, wholesome nutrition. You can buy canned products and simply rinse them before use. Legumes also are a terrific source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidant chemicals and nutrients.

Added protein can come from fresh fish, eggs, meat, Greek yogurt and seafood. For healthy fat, try extra virgin olive oil, avocadoes, nut butters, raw nuts or seeds.

Eating real, fresh food devoid of processing will keep you healthy and extend your life. You’ll likely notice a difference in how you feel, your mood and energy lifted. Real food will keep you satisfied and happy, so you won’t be prone to addictive processed food. It’s really not food at all but a mixture of processed ingredients made to trigger your brain to want more of the same thing, all the while making you a much more ill version of the person you could be.