Food Matters. Today’s average diet is nothing like what our relatives ate 50 years ago. Diets which used to consist of natural meat, fruits, vegetables and grains have now been largely replaced by processed foods. In fact, the vast majority of food sold in grocery stores are now processed (even baby foods!). Two of the biggest contributing factors to this dilemma are that consumers like convenience, and food companies like to make profits. Exploring the risks associated with eating processed foods will help you make an informed decision about whether or not you want to continue eating the same foods or not.
There are many processed foods and ingredients you should avoid, but some stand out more than others. Refined sweeteners have exploded in food and drink products, and have now taken up a very large percentage of our diets. It is best to stick to natural sweetening alternatives (honey or maple syrup are examples), keeping in mind that it is still sugar and needs to be limited. Foods advertised as low-fat or fat-free are very deceiving as well. In an effort to make these foods taste good sugar was added, and lots of it!
According to TakePart.com there are 10 highly processed foods and ingredients that we should avoid: artificial ingredients, refined sweeteners, refined grains, factory farmed meat and seafood, ingredients on a label that you would not cook with at home, refined oils, pre-flavored packaged products, imitation foods, low-fat and fat-free products and fast food. You can get detailed information on each food and why you should be wary.
The American diet is unique in many ways, not the least of which being the amount of condiments consumed with some of our favorite foods. But did you know that many of these condiments are loaded with processed ingredients? Mayonnaise is frequently made with GMO soybean oil, and ketchup (an American favorite) is packed with added sugar. Hungry for Change says in addition to ketchup there are 4 other toxic condiments we should avoid: mayo, sour cream, Ranch and Blue Cheese dressing along with BBQ and steak sauce.
Of all the processed foods available, meat is consumed in large quantities in our country. Unfortunately, much of this meat has been highly processed and is harmful to our health. Many companies even hesitate to disclose where their “meat” products (fillers) come from! That is a scary thought. Additionally, the risk for certain diseases such as cancer are greatly increased the more these mystery meats are consumed. You might think twice about what processed meat is doing to your health after you watch the following video.
As a rule, processed foods should be avoided as much as possible. The health risks are too great, even though they may be more convenient. The best things you can do to alter old ways of eating are to go back to the basics (eat like our ancestors did!) and buying organic as often as possible. The improvement in your overall health will become obvious, and you will feel much better physically and mentally as well.