What are processed foods to begin with?
Any food that has undergone some sort of modification during preparation is referred to as processed food. Processing food can be as simple as freezing, canning, baking, and drying. While some processed foods may have high quantities of salt, sugar, and fat, not all processed foods are bad.
So how do these foods affect your health?
Foods that have been heavily processed are frequently high in sugar, fat, and empty calories. Consuming a lot of these foods has long been associated with an increased risk of a wide range of health issues, including obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cancer, and depression.
Most of these foods are calorie dense and addicting therefore It’s very easy to overindulge which results in consuming more calories than we realize.
It is widely known that sugar contributes to obesity but most processed foods do not contain the word sugar in them, so things to look out for to find out if a processed food has sugar include; glucose, sucrose, maltose, corn syrup, nectar, fructose.
Most of these foods contain empty calories which translate to them having no nutritional value except carbohydrates and calories and they may trigger a craving of you to consume more of these foods. Without much activity in your daily routine will result in a gain in fat hence obesity.
These foods are also quicker to digest hence our bodies burn less energy digesting them.
- High blood pressure
Your heart needs to work harder to circulate blood throughout your body when you are overweight or obese. Therefore, your arteries are strained with all that effort. Your arteries then push back against this blood flow, raising your blood pressure.
Consumption of too much sugar can cause havoc in your gut, affecting the production of serotonin which is act as a mood stabilizer, and low levels of serotonin increase the rate of anxiety and depression.
- Metabolic Syndrome
This is a group of conditions that together increase your risk of diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and other significant health issues. Insulin resistance syndrome is another name for metabolic syndrome.
You have metabolic syndrome if you have three of the following conditions:
– Large waistline
– High blood pressure
– High blood sugar
– High bad cholesterol levels
– Low good cholesterol levels
The good news is that this syndrome is manageable with lifestyle changes such as healthier eating habits and increased physical activity.
In conclusion, it is very difficult to remove processed foods from our diets completely. That would mean not enjoying the occasional takeout, eating out, and street food indulgence.
The more practical approach is to ensure that you enjoy these foods in moderation.