There’s a lot of different ways foods are processed and different types of processed foods. Just cleaning vegetables makes it processed. Not all processed foods are bad for you. In fact, in some cases, they may be healthier than fresh fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables without additives are picked at peak ripeness, so they’re packed with nutrients. However, those veggies and fruit on the grocery shelf are picked early and ripen in transit to the grocery store, often sitting on the shelf for several days. Processed foods with additives are a different group entirely and may be one of the reasons it’s hard to lose weight.
Processed foods may contain ingredients that affect your health dramatically.
For a long time, anything that came from vegetables and fruit was considered healthy. However, that was before food became a chemistry set. When people grew their own food or bought it from a local farmer, it was easier to know what was in the food. Today, the FDA requires manufacturers to put labels on food, but many people don’t read those labels. Even when you read the labels it’s not always understood how those additives impact health. High fructose corn syrup—HFCS, for instance, is one example that is added to food that sounds innocent, but it’s not.
It’s all about the body’s ability to utilize food.
HFCS isn’t a natural sugar. It’s created by adding an enzyme produced by bacteria to glucose to turn part of it into fructose. The mixture ends up 42% fructose and 53% glucose. While cane sugar, honey and natural sugars aren’t healthy for the body, HFCS is worse. The body metabolizes glucose in every cell, but only metabolizes fructose in the liver. Animal studies show it can cause fatty liver disease, contributes to hypertension, damage the brain and lead to excess weight gain. HFCS is in a huge proportion of processed foods since it’s cheap.
Food has changed dramatically.
Part of the research into food has been to make it more appealing to people, and another important role is to increase shelf life. To make bread more appealing and give it that stretchy quality, increasing the gluten in the grain was a huge benefit. Also milling out the bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm—the starchy part that lacks nutrients, made the bread more appealing, but definitely not healthy and far more fattening, since it doesn’t contain fiber, which makes you feel fuller.
- Shelf life has become far more important in today’s food, since from factory to farm to you is a far longer trip than from garden to you. Ingredients that increase shelf life, like those used in processed meat
- Eating a diet of ultra-processed foods often means you’re consuming more calories. There’s added sugar, little fiber and protein that helps keep you feeling full longer.
- Additives like nitrates are in processed meats, which can cause increased blood pressure and cause other issues. It can cause weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes.
- It’s not just food that affects weight, what you drink also has that effect. Soft drinks and fruit juices can boost calorie intake and spike your blood glucose levels, which can cause weight gain around the belly.
For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness