Are you aware of the many reasons to ditch processed foods? We hear a lot about how it’s best to eat fresh foods and it seems like the number of reasons to stop eating processed foods are increasing every day! Processed foods are any food product that is altered from its natural state for safety reasons or convenience. I know how hard it can be to eat fresh or homemade food all the time but there so many good reasons to ditch processed foods that I had to share with you!
One of the top reasons to ditch processed foods is to cut down on costs! I know when you’re busy and faced with the choice of buying a ready-to-eat meal or snack or a piece of fruit, it might seem like a better deal to go with the processed stuff. In reality, when you break it all down and take all the preservatives, additives and unhealthy ingredients into consideration, homemade or natural foods are much cheaper, not to mention healthier!
Another reason to stop eating processed foods is all the mystery ingredients found in processed food! If you look at the ingredients list on many packages, it’s hard to tell what the majority of the ingredients are, let alone pronounce them all! As mentioned previously, all processed foods contain a myriad of mystery ingredients that we often don’t know the effects of and that can be unsafe.
3. Weight Gain
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to stop eating processed food is that it can cause long-term weight gain. According the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that highly processed foods might not satisfy as well as unprocessed foods; therefore they can result in a higher intake of calories overall. They also stressed that food choices affect your weight, not just the number of calories.
Another convincing reason to stop eating processed foods is that they can be addicting. Researchers from Princeton University found that the sugar-eating rats in their experiment showed signs of opiate-like withdrawals when sugar was taken away, including symptoms such as chattering teeth and shaking. Once the rats were allowed to eat sugar again two weeks later, they pressed the food lever so wildly that they ended up consuming 23% more sugar than before!
5. Tainted Taste Buds
Processed foods are so powerful that they can actually wreak havoc on our taste buds and desensitize them from the flavor of whole foods! This is what years of eating processed foods with added sugar, salt, preservatives, chemicals and artificial flavors can do to your taste buds. Luckily our taste buds can heal in a couple of weeks once we stop eating so many processed foods and get back to tasting nutritious, whole foods again!
Many processed food packages are misleading. Have you noticed all the advertisements for vitamin and fiber enriched foods or low fat snacks? These claims can be very misleading. Take gummi bears for example, I love those chewy little guys and noticed that some are labeled being low in fat. As true as that may be, they make up for it by loading them with sugar and sodium, so they're really not as great of a choice as they might appear to be!
7. Accelerated Aging
Processed food is probably the least known for its effect on our appearance. Processed foods often contain genetically engineered ingredients and phosphates that have been known to accelerate aging when consumed on a regular basis. Choose wisely when it comes to snacks and meals since they can affect you on the inside and outside!
8. Unknown Side Effects
The last reason to stop eating processed foods is because of the unknown side effects. We’ve discussed some of them already, but there are still some ingredients in processed food that we don’t know much about. There are over 92 side effects associated just with the artificial sweetener aspartame and there is always more research being done and discoveries on other ingredients as well.
Processed food can be tasty and convenient but it comes at a cost. There are so many good reasons to stop or cut down on eating processed food that I hope you consider cutting back. Preparing foods at home or eating whole foods might seem like a hassle but if you plan out your meals ahead of time, it’s tastier, healthier and so much cheaper! What do you think about eating processed food?