This may shock you, but a lot of the things you are eating are actually killing you. There is a reason that so many Americans are obese, and disease risks have increased. You know that saying you are what you eat? Well that couldn’t be more true.
If you had a really nice car you wouldn’t put the cheapest/crappiest fuel in it. You would put the nice fuel that will help it run better, and not damage the car over time. We are like cars. Our bodies need fuel to be able to run. You can always buy a new car, but you only have one body. If you only had one car, you would take great care of that thing, so why not your body?
The issue is there are so many different perspectives about what food is good for you and what isn’t. Coconut oil used to be highly recommended for cooking with, but now some people say it isn’t healthy and full of bad fats. How do we know what really is good for us?
The simplest thing I can tell you is to buy fresh food, and when its packaged, find the one with the least amount of ingredients on the label.
To dig a little deeper, look at the picture below.
Now you are probably thinking, “that’s great and all, but why should I care? How does this relate to me? Why should I stop eating those?”
A diet impacts many things, and what you eat can increase your risk for tons of diseases. As a general rule, processed foods aren’t good for you. Now I’m not talking about milks that have been pasteurized, but rather chemically processed foods. They may taste great, but they are slowly killing you.
These foods are bad because of the sugar and high fructose corn syrup. These can lead to insulin resistance and many other issues. Processed foods are filled with artificial ingredients; i.e. preservatives, colorants, flavors, and textures.
When I look for packaged food, I always look at the label and go for the ones that have the least amount of ingredients, and if there is something I don’t recognize I google it. Knowledge is key when it comes to your health. If you knew what half the ingredients were, you would run away from it as fast as you can.
A real issue with these is that they are addictive. They are filled with refined carbs which impacts our blood sugar and insulin; i.e. leading to insulin resistance. The more processed the less nutrients. Sometimes synthetic vitamins are added, but this isn’t healthy. The more processed foods the more nutrients, i.e. vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc, you will get. They are less filling, which leads to overeating.
There are so many other reasons why processed foods are bad, but there are a lot of other items on our list to cover.
White grains may taste better, but they should be avoided at all costs. They are highly processed and are mainly sugar. During the refining process they lose nutrients. The picture below shows the difference between whole grain and white grain.
They are the same thing, except with white grains they have taken out all the stuff that is good for you! With white grains will be hungry sooner, and this tends to lead to over eating. All of this increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.
The last section of the first picture talks about nitrate and diacetyl. When I first read these, I had no clue what they were.
Diacetyl is a chemical that is typically used in butter flavoring. Some of you might have heard of popcorn lung. People are around vapor diacetyl, like those who package the popcorn, develop serious, even deadly, lung issues. Now you might be thinking, well the diacetyl I’m eating isn’t going to be in vapor form. You are right, even the FDA says that diacetyl is safe to consume. But just because it is ‘safe’ doesn’t mean it should be eaten.
There are tons of things in the American diet that are ‘safe’ to eat, yet are still killing us. Processed foods are deemed ‘safe’, yet they are increasing risks of disease and premature death. The trickiest thing about chemicals in foods is that the manufactures will change names so diacetyl might appear as alpha-diketone or one of the other numerous names.
Nitrate is an inorganic compound. In and of themselves they aren’t bad. They come from nitrites. Nitrites are natural and are found in vegetables. They can be harmful though when consumed from processed foods and meats.
I believe that their will always be debates about what is healthy and what isn’t. After all the research I have done, it is my belief that the healthiest thing you can do is eat as natural as possible. For a list of foods that should be eaten check out my other article.
American Lung Association. (2016). Popcorn lung: A dangerous risk of flavored e-cigarettes. Retrieved from http://www.lung.org/about-us/blog/2016/07/popcorn-lung-risk-ecigs.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Flavorings-related lung disease. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/flavorings/exposure.html
Dr. Axe. (n.d.). What are nitrates? Reasons to avoid nitrates + better alternatives. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/nitrates/
Gunnars, K. (2017). Nine ways that processed foods are harming people. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318630.php
HealthLine. (n.d.). Why refined carbs are bad for you. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-refined-carbs-are-bad
Iserloh, J. (n.d.). Getting your child to love grains. Retrieved from http://skinnychef.com/blog/whole-grains-for-kids
Madison. (2018). What foods should i be eating and why? Retrieved from http://makeminehealthy.com/what-foods-should-i-be-eating-and-why/
Wegerer, J. (2014). Nutrition and dementia: Foods that may induce memory loss & increase Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from https://www.alzheimers.net/2014-01-02/foods-that-induce-memory-loss/