Scary Ways Processed Foods Affect Your Health
Health experts worldwide recommend cutting back on processed foods. But what’s so bad about eating a cookie or pizza? After all, not everyone is looking to drop pounds. This article explains the processed foods affect your health.
The dangers of junk food go beyond weight gain. Processed meat, chips, pastries, and sweets are chock-full of harmful ingredients that affect overall health. Some contain trans fats, clogging your arteries and raising cholesterol levels. Others are high in sugar, which puts you at risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and heart disease.
Still not convinced? Check out these scary ways processed foods affect your health:
Increase the Risk of Chronic Diseases
Processed foods have been linked to a higher risk of bowel and stomach cancer, high blood pressure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Deli meats, for instance, contain nitrosamines, which promote tumor growth. Cured meats are made with nitrites, causing lung damage and emphysema.
Sugar, which is used in most foods, causes blood sugar spikes followed by crashes. In the long run, it increases your risk of metabolic disorders and type II diabetes. Additionally, food additives contribute to liver disease, heart disease, stroke, and several types of cancer.
Are you wondering how Chronic Diseases are affecting Canadians?
- More than one in five Canadian adults live with one of the following chronic diseases: CVD, cancer, CRD or diabetes.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death. As of 2009, over 800,000 Canadians had been diagnosed with cancer within the previous 10 years
- Canada ranks amongst the worst of OECD countries for adult obesity rates
- About 2.7 million Canadians are now living with diabetes. Diabetes has seen the second highest annual percentage increase since 2000/01 among all diseases studied.
According to the Journal of Endocrinology, high-sugar diets stimulate the release of pro-inflammatory messengers called cytokines. These compounds trigger inflammation, which affects every system in your body. Joint pain, gout, obesity, and even are just a few of its many side effects.
Limit inflammatory foods as much as possible. Steer clear of sugary treats, crackers, bread, salad dressings, fried foods, refined flour, and artificial sweeteners.
The more processed your food is the stronger your cravings. Processed foods contain addictive ingredients that activate the reward centers in your brain. This leads to overeating and weight gain.
For example, sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. It stimulates the same brain areas as opioids and other drugs do.
What you eat has a direct impact on your brain. Research shows a strong link between nutrition and brain health.
Processed foods cause inflammation in the brain, trigger depression, and promote obsessive-compulsive behaviors. In the long run, they may lead to brain damage, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment, and memory loss.
Mood and anxiety are on the rise for Canada. On the Government of Canada website, you can find the latest findings for this health area to be In 2009/10 approximately 3.5 million (or 10%) Canadians used health services for mood and anxiety disorders
What was more alarming for me is a number of children under the age of 19 who were seeking help for mood and Anxiety health concerns.
- In 2009/10, approximately 258 thousand (or 3.1%) Canadian children and youth used health services for mood and anxiety disorders .
These numbers are only for the people that are seeking professional medical help. It is unclear how many people are suffering in silence.
This list can go on and on with hundreds of other potential side effects. Switching to whole processed foods is the best thing you can do for your health. Start small and make healthy eating a priority. It won’t be easy, but it’s worth the effort.
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