Ever get confused on how to tell if a food is highly processed? Curious about why processed foods are bad for you in the first place? Want to know what you should be eating instead?
I’ve got you covered. Watch the video below and/or read my recap, then comment with any questions or comments! I love to hear from you!
Recap: In this video, I discuss:
How you can tell a food is highly processed.
Why processed foods bad for you.
What you should eat instead.
How can you tell a food is highly processed?
- The food you are eating doesn’t rot or start to go bad after a normal time period (I’ve seen a lot of videos of fast food, processed cheeses that will last weeks and even months without changing in appearance or start to decompose).
- Nutrition label shows that the food includes ingredients you wouldn’t cook with at home (ingredients you can’t pronounce)
- Ingredient list shows dyes (like yellow 5 and red 40) and sweeteners (like high fructose corn syrup)
- The food is enriched in some way (as an example, when we look at the process of refining grains what happens is the grain is broken apart, processed, stripped of nutrients and then the nutrients are added back in). Another time you will see enriched foods is with cereal where they are enriched with vitamins and minerals to make them seem more healthy than they actually are.
Why are processed foods bad for you?
Processed foods have a lot of excess sugar, salt and fat. And a lot of the time, this sugar, salt and fat is added into the foods to make them last longer on a shelf, and make them more appealing to our taste buds. Our brains gravitate to the sweet, salty & fatty foods because in the past we needed it for survival. But nowadays the sugar, salt and fat is not naturally occurring by any means, it’s more abundant than ever and our brains have a hard time of telling us that we’ve had enough – leading to overeating.
A lot of the additives in processed foods are also compounds that increase your risk of cancer. This is a highly debated part of the food industry for a number of reasons, but I will tell you that, in my opinion, our country doesn’t go to bat for the consumer, and instead likes to make money and therefore allows big companies to get away with adding a ton of crap to our food that puts us all at risk.
What should you eat instead?
My favorite part because I can tell you what to eat more of instead of what you need to take out of your diet:
- Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and other items you know will go bad after time
- Stick with whole grains/whole wheat instead of the refined versions
- Start to get an understanding of how much sugar, salt and fat you are eating
- Eat items that are touched less by machines and more by human hands (the close to your community your food is grown, the better)
The bottom line here is to eat more fresh, whole foods.
If you want to learn more about this, I would recommend picking up a copy of Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, I learned a ton from it, and it was really eye opening.
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