Food processing is any procedure that alters food from its natural state, such as heating, freezing, milling, mixing, and adding flavorings. Cooking and preparing raw ingredients at home is also processing them, but “processed” is almost always reserved for commercial foods, usually packaged. Any food which has been canned, frozen, boxed or bagged is classified as processed food. Studies have shown that close to 90% of an average American’s food budget is spent on these frankenfood items. Ingredients found in these foods which should be avoided include colourants, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, stabilizers, texturizers and even bleach products. Processed foods are linked to obesity, cancer, laziness and apathy, addiction, sickness, allergies, tooth decay, and more. Regrettably, the processed food industry wastes over $33 billion per year in advertising to lure people to consume sugar-laden, fast, junk foods.
The food companies’ goal, just like any other company, is to make more money. The way they do it is by designing products with a perfected taste with the help of people that have been hired to serve the role of guinea pigs. Yes, they hire groups of people to eat different versions of their products, while their brains are being monitored. The tests aim to identify which version of the product has the best combination of fat, salt and sugar and triggers the strongest reaction in people’s brains or as the food engineers call it – “the bliss point”. The bliss point is what is going to make you a lifetime consumer of their product because your brain will be craving the bliss point just like a drug. The truth is that the major food companies don’t give a c**p about your health, as long as it passes the food regulations and standards, they are happy to sell anything that is going to make money, and we are talking about a lot of money.
A study looked at purchases of packaged foods and beverages from more than 150,000 households and analyzed them in terms of their processing, convenience, and nutritional quality. Some key findings:
- Highly processed foods supplied 63 percent of daily calories. These are defined as “multi-ingredient industrially formulated mixtures” that are no longer recognizable as their original plant or animal sources—everything from hot dogs, margarine, and frozen entrées to most baked goods, ice cream, and candies.
- Moderately processed foods and those processed for basic preservation accounted for another 30 percent of calories. Examples include white rice, pasta, peanut butter, canned produce, cheese, butter, yogurt, ham, and jam.
- Unprocessed or minimally processed foods accounted for only 7 percent of daily calories. These are “whole foods” such as fresh or frozen produce, beans, nuts, eggs, brown rice, milk, and fresh meats.
- Ready-to-eat foods account for 64 percent of calories; ready-to-heat (“convenience”) foods, another 17 percent. Only 19 percent of calories come from foods that require preparation and cooking at home.
Unsurprisingly, the study found that highly processed and/or ready-to-eat foods supply not only most of our calories but also a disproportionate share of the sugar, sodium, and saturated fat that we eat.
Study shows Processed Foods Make You Lazy / Apathetic
In addition, “[t]he cause of …national apathy seems to be clear as shown in results from the UCLA study: it’s the food. Processed, adulterated, adjunct-laden, GMO-filled junk food; the preferred and almost unavoidable daily diet of Americans,” writes Redmayne-Titley. He cites research by Dr. Aaron Blaisdell, a professor of psychology at UCLA’s College of Letters and Science, and member of the university’s Brain Research Institute. Blaisdell used rats to learn whether a poor quality diet of processed foods resulted in obesity or if the actual initial result was fatigue.
As Redmayne-Titley noted:
“Dr. Blaisdell’s team placed thirty-two female rats on one of two diets for six months. The first received a standard rat’s diet, consisted of relatively unprocessed foods like ground corn and fish meal. As a substitute for a junk food diet the second Americanized group received highly processed food of lower quality that included substantially more sugar. As expected, ‘One diet led to obesity, the other didn’t,’ said Blaisdell, as quoted in UCLA’s ‘Newsroom.'”
That said, “Our data suggest that diet-induced obesity is a cause, rather than an effect, of laziness [apathy],” concluded Blaisdell. “… the [poor quality] diet causes obesity, which causes fatigue.”
To reach his conclusions, Blaisdell designed an experiment whereby rats were given a task, then required to press a lever to receive a “reward” of food or water. Rats on a diet of junk food had their performance impaired, taking much longer breaks than the leaner rats on better diets before returning to the task. During repeated 30-minute sessions obese rats became lazier due to their increasing size; eventually, their breaks were twice as long as those of leaner rats eating clean foods.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, think about this: It’s estimated that more than 75 percent of the processed food lining the shelves consists of genetically engineered ingredients. (1) And this is just one of the many scary GMO facts we are facing today. (DrAxe.com)
Processed Foods Are Making You Fat
People are gaining weight most often because they are constantly in the processed food cycle. Food that doesn’t provide you with the needed nutrition might make you feel full but soon you will be hungry again because your body will be asking for nutrients. People eat regularly empty in calories foods such as croissants, sugary store-bought bars, triangle sandwiches made with white or brown, refined soft bread and many other similar foods. The more refined the food, the more immediate the pleasure is from it for our body, which is why we like them. People avoid any high-fat foods and count calories not realizing that calories don’t matter if they don’t provide any nutritional value. The body is constantly hungry for nutritional whole foods but its overfed with processed food.
I believe there are two types of people that are victims of the processed food. The first type are people that just enjoy life simply without caring about what they eat and are happy this way, they don’t watch calories or how healthy food is as long as it’s tasty. Their food is high in calories but low in nutrition.
The other group are the relatively health-conscious people that are trying to eat healthier but are misled by false marketing campaigns and and are often on a diet. They think that choosing fat-free products is doing them a favor and low-fat meals are a must. Their food is low in calories but still often low in nutrition if it’s mainly consisted of processed food. They might not be gaining as much weight as the first group but they are not losing any permanently.
Sugar has the biggest role in this cycle. Sugar is in everything, not just in sweet products. Food producers have secretly been adding it to all sorts of products and they keep increasing it because it causes the strongest addiction and this addiction will be for life. The other problem is that sugar exists in so many different forms on the ingredients list, it’s hidden behind ingredients like corn syrup, glucose, dextrose and so, so many more. Not only that but our body converts a lot of the food we consume in sugar, the refined starch that we find in foods like bread or pizza is converted to sugar in our system. The excess sugar in our body is converted by the liver into fatty acids, yep FAT, and this fat is stored in our “favourite” areas like the hips, butt and stomach. So it doesn’t matter if the yogurt is fat-free if it’s high in sugar.
Children develop the taste for salt at the age of around 5 months, however the taste and desire for sweetness seems to be developed from the moment they are born. Children nowadays have a much higher sweetness tolerance than the children 50 years ago simply because they are fed with very high sugary foods most of the time. This is a huge problem because they start to develop a very high level of sweetness that they adjust to and will seek in their food for the rest of their life.
Not only are processed foods not providing you with the right nutrition but they can even be harmful in the long run. Nobody actually knows what is the impact of the toxic ingredients used in our food. In our bodies there can be found residue of different chemicals which built up in time. The rate with which some health conditions like diabetes rise is shocking and it can all be related in some way to our food. Here is what Walter Willett, the chair of the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health says about processed food which I believe sums it up brilliantly:
“First, the actual processing has stripped away the nutritional value of food. Most of the grains have been converted to starches. We have sugar in concentrated form, and many of the fats have been concentrated and then, worst of all, hydrogenated, which creates trans-fatty acids with adverse affects on health”.
Contains Toxic Mercury
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is known to be a contributor to obesity and a number of serious health ailments, but very few health experts and medical publications ever discuss the highly toxic substance hiding within a large percentage of HFCS — mercury. Found in a large number of processed foods and sodas, mercury-containing HFCS is toxic in all forms and may be contributing to the rampant disease rates inside the United States and elsewhere.
The presence of mercury in processed HFCS was first revealed through the results of two little-known U.S. studies. Researchers from the two studies reported that about half of tested samples of HFCS contained the toxic element, a substance known to wreak havoc on the nervous system, neurological function, and overall biological function. Even more concerning is the fact that mercury was found in nearly one third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage items, which listed HFCS as the first-or-second-highest labeled ingredient. Of course these are only a sampling of popular products containing HFCS as a main ingredient, and it is a significant challenge to find processed food brands that do not contain HFCS as a major ingredient.
After the report was released to the mainstream media detailing the presence of mercury in the food supply, health freedom activists immediately began petitioning the FDA to take action. Their calls, while oftentimes highly publicized and met with considerable support, ultimately fell on the deaf ears of the FDA. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy was one such organization that called upon the FDA to remove toxic mercury from processed foods. Even the co-author of the two explosive U.S. studies, Dr. David Wallinga, spoke on behalf of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. In a prepared statement on the subject, he stated:
Highly Processed Foods Cause food Addiction Similar to Hard Drugs, Study shows
Anyone who read Andrew Weil’s groundbreaking 1970s-era book, The Natural Mind, is already familiar with the correlation between highly processed foods and addictive drugs. Weil observed way back then that the refinement of natural sugars into pure white crystals, for example, can trigger addictive behavior patterns in humans that are similar to those created by the refinement of coca leaf into pure cocaine. He suggested that the over-processing and ingesting of many foods and other substances will produce similar results.
A recent study conducted by a group of University of Michigan researchers reinforces this theory about food addictions. The report, which was published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, concludes that “cheese really is crack”, as the Los Angeles Times put it:
Pizza, unsurprisingly, came out on top of the most addictive food list. Besides being a basic food group for kids, college students and adults, there’s a scientific reason we all love pizza, and it has to do with the cheese.
The study found certain foods are addictive because of the way they are processed. The more processed and fatty the food, the more it was associated with addictive eating behaviors.
Even if you have never heard of Weil or this new study, you are likely already familiar with the addictive properties of food, especially gooey, fat, delicious cheese such as that found on top of pizzas, right? If not, perhaps you’re a soda pop junkie instead? We already know that the worst foods are the most addictive ones. It doesn’t take a fancy scientific study to tell us that. Nevertheless, the findings are interesting. At least we now have somewhat of an excuse for obsessively stuffing our faces with Oreos, camembert or whatever our fix happens to be.
The conclusion of the report states:
The current study provides preliminary evidence that not all foods are equally implicated in addictive-like eating behavior, and highly processed foods, which may share characteristics with drugs of abuse (e.g. high dose, rapid rate of absorption) appear to be particularly associated with ‘food addiction.’
In other words, the highly processed foods work on our bodies in similar ways that addictive hard drugs do: they are absorbed into our bloodstreams quickly and in high doses, but do they actually give us a “rush” or a “high” similar to hard drugs?
Many popular processed foods, such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Ritz Crackers, McDonald’s French fries and Pizza Hut Garlic Cheese Bread, to name just a few, are intentionally formulated much differently here in the U.S. than they are elsewhere. Foreign varieties of these and many other processed foods are generally healthier, contain fewer or no toxic additives and are all-around more appealing from a health standpoint than their American counterparts.
Take Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, for instance. The American version of this popular processed food product contains a laundry list of unhealthy ingredients, including enriched flour, artificial cheese flavors, chemical preservatives and synthetic, petroleum-based dyes like Yellow 5, which has been linked to triggering behavioral problems in children. The U.K. version, on the other hand, known as “Cheesey Pasta,” contains simple ingredients like durum wheat semolina, which is much healthier than refined flour, real cheese and natural colors derived from paprika and beta carotene.
You can view a shocking comparison of the two ingredient lists, courtesy of FoodBabe.com, here. The ingredient list comparison for McDonald’s French fries in the U.K. versus the U.S. is available here: http://foodbabe.com. You can compare the ingredient lists for Quaker Oats cereal yourself here: http://foodbabe.com. “Using banned ingredients that other countries have determined unsafe for human consumption has become a pandemic in this country,” explains Food Babe, noting that her investigation led to feelings of “outrage, unfairness, disbelief, and ultimately grief.” “The U.S. food corporations are unnecessarily feeding us chemicals — while leaving out almost all questionable ingredients in our friends’ products overseas,” she writes.
“The point is the food industry has already formulated safer, better products, but they are voluntarily only selling inferior version of these products here in America,” adds Food Babe. “The evidence of this runs the gamut from fast food places to boxed cake mix to cereal to candy and even oatmeal — you can’t escape it.” Be sure to read the entire FoodBabe.com report about the dangers of American processed foods, which contain ingredients banned in most other countries, here: http://foodbabe.com.
Consuming processed foods can alter your taste buds to the point that you get used to strong tastes and flavors. This results in you wanting to add salt or sugar to alter the taste of whole foods because you can’t seem to `taste` them properly. Another downright shocking fact is that most processed meat or food products contain animal body parts such as eyes, ears, snouts and oesophagi. If anything, this should be enough to put a person off of wanting to consume any processed food or meat products.
Babies that eat fresh foods instead of processed foods have fewer allergies
To further understand food allergies, Kate Grimshaw, a UK researcher at the University of Southampton, set out to study babies’ overall diet patterns to find missing links in food allergies. As reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Grimshaw instructed 1,140 parents to record food diaries on their babies. During the first year, 41 babies were medically diagnosed with a food allergy. The 41 allergic babies were then compared to 82 similar infants who had no food allergy. The research broke down the babies’ diets according to the parents’ diaries.
The results were telling. They found out that babies without food allergies were fed more nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, and fish. The babies with food allergies had a diet that included much more processed foods, microwaveable dinners, pre-made sauces, potato chips, and bacon. “The analysis showed that the infants who were having more fruits and vegetables and less commercially produced baby foods and also less adult foods were the ones who were less likely to develop an allergy by the time they were two,” Grimshaw said.
Dr. Wickman said that there is no evidence that avoiding allergenic foods, such as nuts, fish and eggs is beneficial in preventing food allergies. Grimshaw sums it up, “We know that there are nutrients in the diet that educate the immune system. And one could argue that if they’re not there in adequate amounts when the child’s immune system is developing, that may be one way that this is working.”
Grimshaw’s advice is simple for parents who want their children to avoid and overcome food allergies. Grimshaw’s advice basically means that it’s vital to build a baby’s immune system starting the day they are born. Feeding the baby whole foods is essential. The first week of breastfeeding is most important, which is when colostrum is passed on to the baby. Colostrum is essentially a 100% all natural and safe vaccine for the baby, a thick and sticky milk that is full of antibodies and living cells that build a child’s immune system. This powerhouse of nutrition, carbohydrates, and protein passes on immunoglobulin A (IgA) and eventually seals a baby’s gastrointestinal tract with a protective layer that prevents toxins from penetrating into the bloodstream.
Ultra-Processed Foods Contain FAR More Sugar Than Processed Foods
The difference between processed foods and ultra-processed foods in terms of sugar content is quite dramatic. The researchers found that about 2 percent of the calories in processed foods came from added sugars. By definition, unprocessed or minimally processed contained none. Ultra-processed foods, on the other hand, got 21 percent of their calories from added sugars.
Not surprisingly, the authors of the featured study concluded that: “Decreasing the consumption of ultra-processed foods could be an effective way of reducing the excessive intake of added sugars in the USA.” On a positive note, the researchers also found that there were significant differences in how much ultra-processed foods people ate. One in 5 people (about 60 million Americans) actually got more than 70 percent of their calories from real food (i.e. unprocessed or minimally processed), and only 30 percent from ultra-processed fare.
In 2008, pre-diabetes and diabetes affected 1 in 4 Americans. Then, research published last year which looked at data up to 2012, found that HALF of all Americans are now either pre-diabetic or diabetic. In all, 12 to 14 percent have full-blown diabetes, and another 38 percent are pre-diabetic. So California is not unusual in that sense. Moreover, as in California, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes as Caucasians. (source)
What You Eat Can Make or Break Your Gut Health
When you eat too many grains, sugars, and processed foods, these foods serve as “fertilizer” for pathogenic microorganisms and yeast, causing them to rapidly multiply. One of the best things you can do for your health, including your digestive health, is eliminate sugars and processed foods as much as possible.
In fact, millions of people currently suffer from yeast overgrowth and a host of other maladies related to an improper balance of mircoorganisms in your intestines. And most conventional doctors will not be able to identify the cause of your symptoms if you suffer from such an imbalance. As explained in the Nutrition Journal:
“The notion that diet, stress, and environment can, for better or worse, imprint upon the bowel has been around since the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. However, only recent focus and technologic advances have allowed accurate elucidation of the mechanisms by which our lifestyle impacts our microbiome and leads to dysbiosis.
In the gut (and on the skin), there is an optimal, albeit not yet fully elucidated, balance of bacterial species. Some strains of bacteria are needed to digest dietary fibers while others produce valuable nutrients like vitamin K.
Beneficial bacteria aide their hosts by occupying space and/or modifying the microenvironment in ways that prevent harmful bacteria from gaining a foothold. More importantly, the commensal flora provides a type of training to the immune system.
Like a sparring partner in boxing, the immune system’s interactions with the normal commensal flora provide an education that is indispensable when a pathogenic opponent is encountered.
…Just as loss of honeybees from orchards or addition of aninvasive species to a lake creates significant harm for the surrounding biosphere, so too it appears that small shifts in our microbiome caused by today’s unhealthy diets can reverberate through human health.”
Processed Foods Linked to Cancer
A seven year study done by the University of Hawaii revealed that people who consume processed meat products had a 67% higher risk of falling prey to pancreatic cancer than those who ate few to no processed meat products. According to the World Health Organization, the amount of processed foods that are consumed these days are responsible for the increasing levels of obesity and even heart disease. One of the reasons for this is the high salt, sugar and fat content that is present in these foods.
Most processed foods also contain Trans fats, which are known to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Another study found that the consumption of refined carbohydrates such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup and white flour was also linked to various forms of cancer. A study involving 1800 women in Mexico revealed that those who consumed a diet consisting of 57% refined carbohydrates were 220% more likely to suffer from breast cancer than those who ate a balanced and more natural diet. Because of the high quantities of high fructose corn syrup and sugar found in processed foods, they are also linked to increased cases of diabetes and even liver damage. Close to 75% of processed foods contain genetically modified products such as canola, soybean or corn products.
In research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society, scientists from Seoul National University conclude that a diet high in inorganic phosphates, which are found in a host of processed foods including meats, cheeses, beverages, and bakery products, might spur the growth of lung cancer. The researchers also suggest the food additive may contribute to the development of malignancies in people predisposed to lung cancer.
Processed Foods Are Hurting Your Teeth
The added sugar in processed fand highly-processed food is poison to your teeth. Many people eat a diet rich in sugar and they don’t even realize it. A morning bowl of cereal or a microwave lunch can have over 150% of your daily-recommended sugar amount. Sugar is the leading cause of cavities. Reduce and eliminate it at all costs.
The American Dental Association states that bacteria feed on sugars left on our teeth from eating foods such as milk, raisins, cakes or candy, producing acids that destroy tooth enamel and over time result in tooth decay. By contrast, Ramiel Nagel’s book, Cure Tooth Decay, introduces us to Weston Price and Melvin Page, dentists whose work helps us understand the true nature of tooth decay.
Dr. Page’s discovery is that tooth decay is the result of a biochemical disturbance of the calcium- phosphorous ratio. This imbalance reverses the flow of nutrients through the three miles per tooth of microscopic dental tubules. When minerals are taken from the tooth, “it is quite possible that the body is sacrificing the minerals in the teeth for use by the vital organs.” “Lack of adequate nutrition causes physical degeneration and tooth decay is the result of physical degeneration.” With this understanding, different dietary choices can be made.
The gift of Cure Tooth Decay is that it serves as an invitation. It is not a prescription. One could follow all the dietary protocols to the letter but not have the results that Ramiel and his family experienced because they did not make it their own or see the bigger picture of health and disease. “The revealing findings of Dr. Price, along with his telling photographs, bring home the important fact that our modern foods and lifestyle are a primary cause of disease.”
Dr. Price wrote, “One immediately wonders if there is not something in the life-giving vitamins and minerals of the food that builds not only great physical structures within which their souls reside, but builds minds and hearts capable of a higher type of manhood in which the material values of life are made secondary to individual character.”
Dr. Price sought the factors responsible for fine teeth among the people who had them- the isolated “primitives.” The world became his laboratory. As he traveled, his findings led him to the belief that dental caries and deformed dental arches resulting in crowded, crooked teeth and unattractive appearance were merely a sign of physical degeneration, resulting from what he had suspected – nutritional deficiencies.(source)
Video playlist Exposing the Dangers of Processed Foods: