Dangers of Processed Foods

Are you paying top dollar for premature wrinkles, heart disease, obesity, or even an early death? If you load your grocery cart with processed foods every week, the answer is most likely, yes! Stop waging an all-out assault on your well-being, and protect your physical and mental health, shake off your sugar addiction, and erase the premature signs of aging by ditching processed foods.

Embedded Pesticides in CerealBreakfast bombshell: Residues of more than 70 pesticides have been found in individual boxes of cereal. Why? Many pesticides today, particularly the go-to chemical applied to genetically engineered crops, are systemic. That means the chemicals wind up INSIDE of the food you’re eating.

Beware of “natural” cereals. Testing by the Cornucopia Institute found that “natural” cereals are often contaminated with crop pesticides, warehouse fumigation chemicals, and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). Choose only certified organic if you truly want to avoid toxic chemicals in your food.

Chemicals Deteriorate Your Body Organs – Flavored noodle mixes, processed meats, packaged mac and cheese, soda, frozen dinners, other processed foods, and fast food, are all notorious for containing questionable levels of phosphate-laden ingredients that could promote kidney and other body organ deterioration, as well as weakening of the bones.

If you’re in a pinch and do reach for processed foods, avoid ones with ingredients like “sodium phosphate,” “calcium phosphate,” and “phosphoric acid,” or anything with “phos-” in the word.

Food Toxins Accelerate Aging – 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.

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 (for fish eaters), and walnuts, also help hydrate your skin, reducing wrinkles. Tomatoes help fight damaging sunburns, reduce skin roughness, and boost collagen.

Unhealthy Additives Trigger Obesity and Relentless Hunger – Added sugars, specifically fructose from table sugar and the high-fructose corn syrup found in most processed foods, block the hormonal signal that tells your brain it’s time to stop eating, according to obesity research by Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric neuroendocrinologist at the University of California–San Francisco. The result? Never-ending hunger that leaves you fatter yet feeling unsatisfied.

According to the American Heart Association, we down about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day; that’s about 25 pounds more than people consumed annually just a few decades ago. Watch out for surprising hidden sources of added sugars, such as bread, crackers, bottled tea, frozen dinners, and sauces and marinades.

Synthetic Food Dyes Linked to Serious Health Conditions – Processed foods—even pickles, cake mixes, and “healthy” juices—often contain food dyes that make food appear fresher than it really is, in essence, tricking you, the consumer. Incredibly, some berry juices contain 0 percent fruit juice, relying solely on artificial coloring. The problem? Some food dyes are tied to serious health problems like ADHD, asthma, allergies, and cancer.

Stick with organic foods, since organic standards ban the use of artificial food dyes, so organics are colored with food sources like turmeric and beets. Better yet, try your hand at making your own homemade pickles, and other kitchen staples to avoid harmful additives.

Processed Sugar-Laden Foods Create Very Real Food AddictionsAdded 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.

Don’t replace a healthy breakfast like low-sugar organic oatmeal with a sugary coffee drink.

Fast Food Consumption Increases Asthma Risk ThreefoldKids who eat fast food two to three times a week face a significantly higher risk of developing asthma, possibly due to the processed foods’ ability to create inflammation in the body. The trans fats and sugar, common in fast-food menu items, trigger cellular inflammation, an unhealthy condition tied to asthma.

Skip the drive-thru and eat fruits and vegetables at least three times a week, a move that research found was associated with lower rates of asthma.

Processed Foods Accelerate Aging  – Using your kitchen to cook fresh, nature-made food, instead of eating fast food and relying on processed packaged foods, could literally add years to your life. A 2012 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, found that people who cooked at home at least five times a week, were 47 times more likely to be alive after 10 years than the people whose diet relied more on processed foods.

To get your feet wet cooking fresh, seasonal ingredients, consider joining a cooking meetup group or community-supported agriculture program. Farmers and participants are always happy to share healthy recipes, cooking tips, and sometimes even hold cooking demonstrations to teach you the healthiest ways to prep the food they grow.

Bon Veggie Appetit!

Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews