Earlier in the past, people cooked and ate real and healthy food. Nowadays, things have changed dramatically. Processed food items have become the most convenient and pleasurable food among people.

According to the statistics, about 60% of Americans consume highly processed food which is full of additives, sugar, flavorings, preservatives, emulsifiers, and dough conditioners which have no health benefits at all.

Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of the fact that the food they consume on a daily basis directly affects their overall health.

Numerous studies have shown that consuming unhealthy food leads to an endless number of chronic diseases that are plaguing our society, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many others.

Scientists claim that the most hazardous ingredient added to 74% of all food products is sugar. It is added to make things sweet but it can also improve texture and retain moisture.

Although it is believed that sugar is “empty calories”, an increasing number of experts claim the opposite. According to Dr. Robert Lusting, who is a neuroendocrinologist at the University of California, sugar is metabolized by the liver, just like the alcohol.

Sugar is composed of two components, fructose, and glucose. The metabolism of glucose can take place in all organs, while the fructose is metabolized only by the liver. This organ can handle fructose in small doses only, so the high intake of sugary foods overwhelms its capabilities to process this component.

The fructose which can’t be metabolized is converted into fat which builds up around the liver thus hindering its function and eventually leading to insulin resistance. This, in turn, increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. This cycle is also known as metabolic syndrome.

When we consume carbohydrates, a fat-storage hormone, known as insulin is being released. It pulls the glucose out of blood and keeps the stability of sugar levels. Insulin resistance is the main reason for developing chronic diseases which usually have detrimental consequences.

Sugar is not addictive, but it creates a highly strong biochemical reaction in the brain making us craving for it. This is because it stimulates the release of dopamine in the blood through the activation of the reward system in the brain.

However, sugar is not the only area of concern here. Refined grains are worth our attention too. Namely, they slow down the absorption of food and glucose which, in turn, lowers the body’s insulin response.

Vegetable oils are highly processed food items as well. They are extracted from seeds such as sunflower, corn, rapeseed, and soybeans. After the extraction, they are treated with numerous chemicals which can lead to some health issues, such as cancer and birth defects.

Sodium is also added to the majority of processed foods. It extends shelf life and preserves foods but it increases the level of salt in your organism which usually leads to hypertension and renal diseases.

Here are the health risks of consuming processed foods on a daily basis:

  • Obesity, which in turn increases the risks of asthma and other respiratory system issues
  • Depression and other ailments affecting the central nervous system
  • Reduced fertility and hormone imbalances
  • Poor skin’s appearance, acne, and eczema
  • Low bone density

Make sure you avoid the following processed foods:

  • Bacon
  • Granola bars
  • Dried fruits
  • Instant Ramen
  • Fruit snacks
  • Flavored nuts
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Ketchup
  • Margarine
  • Frozen dinners

References:

  1. https://medium.com
  2. https://www.eatright.org
  3. https://www.healthline.com