Processed Food: It May be Faster, But is it Better?

{Disclaimer: Today’s topic is a little bit different than my normal topics, but very closely related.  It’s an issue close to my heart, as many members of my family suffer from some of the ailments mentioned in this post.  If you don’t already know about processed foods, I hope my latest article will enlighten you and perhaps steer you towards a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.}

In today’s fast paced society, there is not much room for anything slow.  We drive fast cars, we take the express train, and we even pay extra for high speed Internet.  Unfortunately, this trend has also made its way into the food we eat. In today’s society it is all about shorter prep, shorter waits, and quicker meals.  This means that we are no longer cooking foods from scratch and putting real food on the table.  Instead, we find ourselves resorting to fast food and processed foods to feed our families and ourselves.  While many people see this as nothing more than the convenience of a speedy meal, we’re left wondering if the food we’re putting into our bodies today is really the same as the food we were eating fifty years ago?

What is Processed Food?

Processed food now makes up about 90% of the food that we eat each day.  This category consists of any type of food that comes in a package.  This includes fast food, boxed meals, take-out, and even frozen dinners. If you didn’t cut and prepare the food from scratch, it is most likely a processed food.

Processed or engineered foods are genetically manufactured in a laboratory in an effort to appeal to our taste for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.  These cravings are natural cravings sent out from our body to tell us we need nutritious foods full of vitamins and fats to fuel our bodies, but instead of eating good food, we are feeding these cravings with foods that are made with sugar and hydrogenated fats, but very little nutrients.  The end result is a sugar high and a nutrition void that leaves us craving more food.

Processed Foods are not Real Foods

When was the last time you bothered to read the ingredients on the food you buy in the grocery stores? If it’s been awhile, you should consider doing it.  Many of these foods that fill grocery stores to the brim contain very little real food in them at all.  In fact, the majority of processed foods have extremely long ingredients lists containing everything from sodium to aspartame, which is a chemical sweetener and preservative that has been proven to turn into formaldehyde during the digestion process.

Because of the high chemical content, higher calorie counts, and low nutritional value of these foods, processed foods have been linked in studies with obesity along with many chronic illnesses.  In fact, research shows a direct correlation between a regular diet of processed foods and diseases such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer

How to Eliminate Processed Foods

The only real way to avoid these foods and improve your health is to cut them out entirely.  Like with any major change, baby steps are important in this process.  Start by adding one full serving of fresh fruits or vegetables to every meal.  Begin adding more raw foods to your diet such as leafy greens, nuts, fruits, berries, and vegetables.  Finally, your aim should be to not fix any meals straight from a package.  Strive to make processed foods an occasional treat and you’ll begin noticing a big difference in your energy levels, weight, and overall health.

Although processed foods are engineered to look like real food, and they are marketed to appear as a great alternative to whole foods, the reality is that they are void of nutrition and contain more calories than whole foods.  By relying on a diet heavy in these foods, you’re depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and fit.  If you are ready to make a change and see improved health and improved weight loss, start now by slowing down your food prep and eating more whole foods and fewer processed foods.  You’ll soon find yourself with higher energy, better health, and perhaps even a lower weight.

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3 Comments

Filed under Healthy Eating

3 responses to “Processed Food: It May be Faster, But is it Better?

  1. We’ve been avoiding the processed foods, mostly buying rice, potatoes fresh veggies, and raw meats and I take the time to cook a fresh hot meal every day. I also do all my own baking.

    I will say the hardest was staying away from the sugary drinks… I personally discovered that me and my family were very addicted to HFCS, and it was very hard to stay away from it.

    • You are very right! HFCS is very addictive, and requires a lot of will power in order to get “over the hump”. It’s worth it, though. We changed to this life style about 3 years ago. Last year I lived with my grandmother and ate what she wanted, so now I am basically starting from scratch. It’s really hard at first, but really worth it in the long run!

  2. Pingback: Clean-Eating Granola Recipe | Cage Free Mom

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