Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

5 Ways Eating Processed Foods Messes with Your Body

Food

We are all guilty of craving processed foods at one point or another. It's nearly impossible not to.


Processed foods have been chemically engineered to make us crave them. Packed like bite-sized grenades that explode with off-the-charts flavor, it's well-known that processed foods can cause us to overeat and experience uncontrollable cravings. But, that's not all.

Processed foods have been chemically engineered to make us crave them.

Foods that have been chemically processed or highly refined can mess with the healthy workings of your body. Here are five areas of your body that processed foods affect.

1. Skin

Excess sugar in the diet, which often comes from highly refined grains and sugars in processed foods, can encourage the degradation of collagen and elastin in your skin. This leads to a loss of firmness, loss of elasticity and an onslaught of premature sagging and wrinkles. On top of that, the inflammation that sugar causes in the body can aggravate conditions like acne and rosacea. Natural, whole foods, like sweet potatoes or bone broth, can enhance the skin's appearance by boosting collagen and elastin production.

2. Gut

Highly processed ingredients may be killing off the beneficial flora in your gut. In conducting unpublished research for a book, one man discovered claims to have lost 1,300 species of gut flora after eating only McDonald's for ten days. While this is an extreme scenario, over time, regular consumption of processed foods could have the same toxic effect. Certain food preservatives can also have an inflammatory effect in the gut, which may lead to conditions such as IBS. Since gut microbes seem to be increasingly responsible for obesity, memory function, immune function and more, it's important not to subject them to an unfriendly, highly processed environment.

3. Hormones

Exposure to plastic chemicals, including BPAs and phthalates, can cause hormonal havoc in the body. Since all processed foods come swaddled in plenty of plastic, all those plastic chemicals could be steadily accumulating in your body. A recent study showed that consumption of fast food was correlated with increased exposure to industrial chemicals known as phthalates. Unfortunately, exposure to these chemicals can have a disruptive impact on your hormones and health, as they seep into the body easily and kick out the body's natural hormones from places they need to be. Avoid packaged foods as often as possible, especially if your hormones are already imbalanced.

4. Brain

Consumption of artificially sugar-packed foods may also be responsible for the chemical changes in the brain that can lead to depression. The brain can become addicted to the high-octane pleasure it gets from consuming that artificial flavor punch of most processed foods. When it doesn't get its "fix," feelings of depression can take hold. Processed food consumption may also increase the risk of memory problems and reduce your ability to control your appetite. The refined ingredients are simply not nourishing for your mind. Instead, eat some healthy fats from avocado or salmon to keep your memory and brain function strong as you age.

5. Blood Sugar

The hidden sugars (especially corn syrup) in many processed foods are responsible for the influx of obesity and diabetes in our population. In the short term, high sugar consumption causes insulin resistance in the body, which is when the body must create more and more insulin in order to affect cells. Insulin resistance is at the root of many modern diseases, including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, diabetes and heart disease. Processed foods are often highly refined and have very high GIs, which contributes to insulin resistance. Consume whole foods that contain fiber, protein and wholesome fats to balance out natural sugars rather than crunching on addictive, unsatisfying refined carbohydrates when you need a snack.

Needless to say, highly refined, processed foods also encourage your body to hold on to excess weight in unhealthy areas, such as the waistline. Eating mostly a whole foods diet with very limited to no processed foods is paramount to health and happiness. Putting your health first when it comes to diet will pay off in the long run.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

11 Unexpected Health Benefits of Drinking Your Morning Joe

6 Alternatives to Milk: Which Is the Healthiest?

Are Oats and Oatmeal Gluten-Free?

13 Ways Diet and Lifestyle Can Help You Live a Longer Life

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A woman scoops water in a dry riverbed near Kataboi village in remote Turkana in northern Kenya. Marisol Grandon / Department for International Development

By Raya A. Al-Masri

Different strategies for resisting the spread of the new coronavirus have emerged in different countries. But the one that has cut through everywhere is simple and, supposedly, can be done by anyone: "Wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds."

Read More Show Less
A USGS map showing the location of a 6.5 magnitude quake that shook Idaho Tuesday evening. USGS

Idaho residents were rattled Tuesday evening by the biggest earthquake to shake the state in almost 40 years.

Read More Show Less
A sign marks the ground covering TransCanada's Keystone I pipeline outside of Steele City, Nebraska on April 21, 2012. Lucas Oleniuk / Toronto Star via Getty Images

The company behind the controversial and long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline announced it would proceed with the project Tuesday, despite concerns about the climate impacts of the pipeline and the dangers of transporting construction crews during a pandemic.

Read More Show Less