Many people are now basically relying on processed and canned foods which can be attributed to work stress, time, inconveniences and other factors as it tends to be more easier and faster to prepare than the natural/whole foods.
But are they really safe for consumption? The answer is No! as processed food can over time cause great harm to our health and general wellbeing.
There are many ways that this chemically processed food can be harmful to health, which includes the following;
1. Contains Lots of Chemical Ingredients
Processed foods have a lot of chemical ingredients; every chemically processed food has lost its healthy and natural food content whereby the major contents become lots of combined flavours, preservatives, texture and colourants for the purposes of providing specific flavour, prevention from decay, good textures and food colouring respectively.
Though all of them have been tested to ensure that they are good and health-wise before using them, however, these artificial chemicals are not healthy for the body as they accumulate when used over time.
Many people become so addicted to processed food due to the hyper-palatable additives and this may be because of their flavours, textures and mainly taste.
The manufacturing industries will always look for the best way to improve on their industrial processed food so that the number of consumers will definitely increase.
Processed foods can be hyper-rewarding because the processors go the extra mile on adjusting the resources which result to very low nutritional value.
2. Vital Nutrient Loss
Every food that has been processed chemically has totally lost the nutrients contained in the food when compared to natural foods.
Artificial vitamins and minerals are used to appreciate the chemically packed foods which are NOT replacements for whole food nutrients.
And the more they are consumed, the more you lose the important nutrients that should be gotten from real foods.
3. High in Sugar Content
These artificially packaged foods contain a high measure of sugar and glucose-fructose syrup; sweeteners made from cornstarch.
They are been added to the processed foods to make them hyper-palatable to human taste but harmful on the other hand.
These sugars are NOT good substitutes for the natural sugars contained in all whole food (carbohydrate) so don’t assume that is equivalent to natural sugar.
Even sugar on its own has no trace of nutrients; it is just empty calories that affect the human body negatively when not consumed in the right proportion although it has a high energy content.
Some harmful effects of sugar, when consumed in a large amount, are - disastrous metabolic slowdown, obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer, so beware in other not to fall a victim.
4. High Refined Carbohydrate & Low Fiber
Processed foods contain highly refined carbohydrate and low fibre; these carbs are bad for the health as it causes quick spikes in the blood sugar and makes the insulin non-effective.
And this has lead to the development of or worsen many ill health conditions as well as increases the risk of many other diseases.
The fibre in real food is a very crucial part of a healthy balanced diet that helps in preventing the body from certain diseases such as diabetes, cancers and others and also improves digestive health.
But these fibres are lost or rather removed during the processing stage and thereby given the processed food no or low fibre content as the case may be.
5. Can Cause Digestive Issues
Chemically processed foods can cause digestive issues and make one uneasy especially during sleep as well, as the fibre content which would have aided digestion is low or lost in the process entirely, and the carbohydrates itself which are highly refined can also result in crashes in the blood sugar when the body tries to digest its high-level content.
The Instability in the insulin level as a result of trying to digest the carbohydrate can also lead to uneasiness which can prevent you from sleep.
Therefore, avoid snacking near bedtime as it can deprive you of a good night sleep.
6. High in Trans-fat
The high content of vegetable processed oil or Trans-fat (fat which usually occurs in little quantity naturally but industrially becomes widely produced) is mainly found in snack food, margarine, packaged baked foods and others.
These foods are high in vegetable oil and refined fats which are harmful to the body, as recent research conducted on trans-fats have been linked to it being one of the causes of mood swings when consumed.
The consumption of trans-fats in most snacks which can be conveniently gotten from the grocery store can lead to aggression and also increase the chances of one being in a state of irritability which could cause grumpiness, insomnia and moodiness.
7. Contain Too Much Salt
In as much as adequate consumption of salt is good for the body, too much consumption of it can lead to many ill health conditions, and which most chemically processed food contains, although they are primarily added to improve the taste of such product.
Salt contains sodium which helps in regulating the body’s fluid, helps in the normal functioning of the muscles and nerves, and so on.
But since most of the sodium content in the body can be found in the blood, too much consumption of salt increases the sodium in the blood which causes an adverse reaction like high blood pressure as well as other cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke.
It is good also to know that refined salt used in food processing has low nutritional values when compared to other natural salts like Himalayan salt sea and others.
8. Leads to Weight Gain
Have you ever wondered while too much intake of processed food leads to weight gain?
This is so, because most processed foods such as crackers, cookies, frozen pizza, bread and other snack foods are rich in trans-fat whether artificial or not, which help in promoting the bad cholesterol in the body and suppressing the good cholesterol, thereby leading to an increase in getting stroke, heart diseases and obesity.
Also, another culprit that leads to weight gain is the low fibre content in processed food. Normally, fibre helps us get fuller easily, thereby reducing our appetite as we tend to consume smaller portions.
But when the fibre content is low or easily melts in the mouth during consumption such as in the case of processed foods, the body then required little energy to consume the food and you may not probably get full till you consume eventually all.
This lead to overeating which in turn triggers obesity.
What is a Processed Food?
Processed foods are those foods that have been modified in content; the water, fibre and nutrients in the food are removed automatically by processing machines.
Eating processed food can stimulate a compound in the body system that acts as a neurotransmitter thereby making you get addicted to such food without knowing that they cause harm and destruction to the body system due to certain preservatives (food chemicals) that have been added to preserve them.
Most people will be surprised by the mention of food chemicals; the truth is that there are basically two major ways of food processing such as mechanical and chemical processing.
Mechanical processing is applicable to sole ingredient foods so they will just be grinded and bottled or packaged but they are still real food but the harmful one is the chemically processed food where the ingredients have been refined and replace with artificial or chemically modified substances.
Some of the Diseases Caused by Processed Food!
Diseases and other health conditions which are caused by processed food are numerous, both the ones which have been scientifically proven and not; which includes but is not limited to;
Stroke and other cardiovascular diseases which are caused by high trans-fat content as well as its high level of sodium.
Diabetes, which can develop or be triggered by consuming processed foods also known and called junk food. It contains much sugar in order to come out tasty, and when it is continually taken over time can cause diabetes-related issues and more due to its ability to cause a spike in the blood sugar level.
Cancer is one of the diseases which could result in the frequent consumption of ultra-processed foods as the chemically modified contents or additives can accumulate over time leading to other non-communicable diseases like cancer.
Others include obesity, high blood pressure, and wide ranges of other diseases.
Effects of Processed Foods on Children
Children are as much affected as adults, infants, they are most prone to the consumption of processed food than eating whole foods.
Due to the high content of unhealthy salt, sugar and fats in most processed food, this can lead to many health conditions for the children just like in adults, as it can lead to obesity, diabetes and more.
It is necessary to take precautions about industrially processed or packaged food and is always advisable to eat real or whole food.
Forget about some of the untruthful food labels that may say that the packaged food contains whole grains or natural food substances - once it’s not a whole food it’s not good for consumption.