Did you know that the American diet is filled with processed foods? It’s no secret that our eating habits are less than stellar. In fact, most of us eat unhealthy foods on a regular basis but is it silently killing you? Processed meats are commonplace because they’re cheap and convenient — not to mention everywhere. But what many people might not realize is how dangerous these foods can be. From canned soups and frozen dinners to packaged crackers, sauces, and snack chips, almost all prepackaged food items contain additives that are harmful to your health and can even shorten your lifespan. Unless you actively seek out whole foods as part of a healthy diet, it’s likely that you regularly consume processed ones without even realizing it. Here are 5 ways processed foods are killing you:
1. They’re Making You Fat
One of the most obvious dangers of processed foods is that they can make you fat. Many of the most popular processed foods — such as cookies, chips, cakes, and pastries — are high in sugar and fat, which are two things that cause weight gain. Eating too much sugar causes your body to produce fat, and too much fat in your diet is the primary reason so many people in the United States are overweight. Eating processed foods regularly can cause you to gain weight quickly. Processed foods are full of calories but low in nutrients, so your body doesn’t get the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy and function properly. When you don’t have the nutrients it needs, your body takes the calories it gets from processed foods and stores them as fat. This can lead to obesity and other health problems.
2. They Cause Cardiovascular Disease
Eating too many processed foods can cause a wide range of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. Processed foods are full of sodium and other minerals that your body doesn’t need. Sodium is a major contributor to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Eating too many processed foods can cause your blood pressure to rise over time and make you more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. Processed foods are also high in saturated and trans fats — both of which are linked to cardiovascular disease. Eating processed foods can also increase your risk for metabolic syndrome, a disorder that leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance, which causes blood sugar levels to rise and can lead to diabetes.
3. They Cause Type-2 Diabetes
Eating too many processed foods can also cause type-2 diabetes. Like cardiovascular disease, this is a serious health condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. Type-2 diabetes is caused by complications from insulin resistance, which is caused by a diet high in fat and refined carbohydrates, such as the kind found in processed foods. Processed foods are also high in sugar, which is another major contributor to insulin resistance. Excessive sugar levels in your blood cause your pancreas to secrete too much insulin to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.
4. They’re Contaminated With Dangerous Chemicals
Processed foods may be low in nutrients and high in sugar, fat, and sodium, but they’re also full of dangerous chemicals. The majority of processed foods in the United States are preserved with sodium benzoate, a chemical that is linked to liver damage and other health conditions. High-fructose corn syrup, one of the most common sweeteners in processed foods, has been linked to obesity, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes. Many processed meat also contain nitrates and other preservatives that are linked to cancer and other serious health conditions. Processed foods are generally higher in fat and sugar than whole foods, and they tend to be low in fiber and protein. Eating too few calories can lead to malnutrition and a wide range of health problems. Eating too few nutrients can lead to conditions like scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency that causes soft, spongy gums, joint pain, and other health problems.
5. They Can Cause Alzheimer’s
Eating too many processed foods can also cause Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease that makes it difficult to live independently and can lead to death. Processed foods are high in sugar, trans fats, and sodium, all of which are linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Sugar causes your blood sugar levels to spike and crash, which can lead to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes. Trans fats are linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, and they are also high in sodium. Sodium is linked to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Too many processed foods also lead to a lack of nutrients in your diet, which is a major risk factor for cognitive decline.
How To Avoid Processed Foods
If you want to stay healthy, you need to avoid processed foods. To do this, you’ll need to be vigilant about reading food labels and avoiding all processed items. Processed foods are almost always high in sugar, fat, and sodium, and they often don’t contain the nutrients your body needs. Some of the most commonly processed foods include: - Canned beans - Canned vegetables - Canned soups - Canned fruits - Canned tuna - Canned pastas - Canned nuts - Canned cream cheese - Canned cream - Canned baked beans - Canned puddings - Canned chili - Canned dumplings - Canned refried beans - Canned spaghetti And there are many more that you should be on the lookout for. Read the labels on all food items and avoid anything that contains ingredients you don’t recognize. The ingredients listed on processed foods are likely additives that are bad for your health, so you should avoid them as much as possible.
There are many dangers associated with processed foods, including weight gain, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Many processed foods are also high in sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats. To stay healthy, you need to avoid processed meats and eat more whole foods instead. To do this, you’ll need to read food labels and avoid any items that contain additives