Ultra-processed foods spell D.A.N.G.E.R.
Common cravings in today’s society include cookies, sweets, fizzy drinks, and crisps. However, the problem with these products is that they are all ultra-processed. This means that before they end up on a supermarket shelf, they go through numerous processes including the addition of sugar, salt, fat, and other artificial ingredients. Put simply these ingredients are wreaking havoc on your diet and your body!
During the process of production, many foods are processed in order for them to be edible and extend their shelf-life. Now while freezing vegetables, for example, is a perfectly harmless process, the difference between this and ultra-processed foods is the addition of various preservatives (sugar, seed oils etc). This includes your full-of-sugar Kellogg’s Cereal and Pringle’s crisps. Foods that (sadly) we feed our kids on a regular basis!
But perhaps the biggest issue with ultra-processed foods is how frequently they are consumed. The food industry has developed these foods to be cheap, convenient, have an absurdly long shelf life and to be especially popular with children. As a direct result it is making each generation more and more “food-faddy” with less of the nutritious real foods being consumed. These fake foods are the single major cause of our declining health over the past 50 years.
So, when picking up different items at the supermarket, always aim to check the ingredients list. If the ingredient list is long, and fully of things you’ve never heard of, there’s every chance its ultra processed. In short, the simpler the ingredients list, the more likely it is to be closer to a natural state and higher in nutritional value. For example, cauliflower in its natural form, compared to a frozen cauliflower cheese bake.
Ultra-processed foods don’t give us quality fuel for our bodies. Not only that, but the bugs in our gut consume the exact same foods we do. So by shovelling in takeaways and processed foods, we are limiting our chances of fighting off infections.
Worse still, we unwittingly pass our health problems to our kids. For example, if a pregnant woman develops gestational diabetes, her children will have a higher disposition towards developing type2 diabetes later in life.
Put simply: a diet full of ultra-processed foods spells D.A.N.G.E.R. These products, energy dense but devoid of nutrition, increase the risk of developing heart disease, and other chronic conditions such as type2 diabetes.
TV’s Dr Chris Van Tullekan investigated what effect a diet high in ultra-processed foods had on him by increasing his usual intake of 30% ultra-processed foods to 80% for four weeks. The results are shocking and even surprised the scientist he is working with. Chris gained almost 7kg in four weeks and moved from a healthy weight to overweight. If the weight gain had continued at the same rate for 6 months, he would have gained an incredible 6 (yes six!) stone.
As if this was not enough, his brain scan showed the reward centres of his brain had linked with areas that drive automatic behaviour. This is the same effect as taking addictive substances and shows that consuming ultra-processed foods rapidly becomes addictive.
Van Tullekan recommends we avoid ultra-processed foods .... why expose our bodies to unnecessary health risks? You can read the full article here: What happened when I ate ultra-processed food for a month - BBC Food
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