We all have those nights where we come home from a long day at work, too exhausted to even think about whipping up a kale salad. So, we reach for a quick microwave dinner or a convenient frozen pizza. Though this may be an okay thing to do occasionally, regularly eating processed foods can actually have dire effects on your health. Here’s why it’s really quite unhealthy to regularly indulge in convenience foods.
Processed foods typically include pre-packaged snacks and desserts, frozen pre-prepared meals, sugary drinks, and fast food meals, among others. Sugary drinks can include sodas, both diet and regular, as well as mixed coffee drinks, bottled juices, smoothies, and teas. Frozen fruits and vegetables without additives don’t count as processed frozen foods, and they can actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts, depending on when they were packaged.
The dangers of processed foods may lie in their high salt, sugar, and oil content. Eating large amounts of these ingredients can lead to heart disease, cancer, and even death. Processed foods are also found to be nutritionally deficient, containing less fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, processed foods contain high amounts of chemicals that we as humans aren’t historically used to eating and the effects of which are still unclear to us.
A 10-year French study on processed foods and mortality found some alarming results. The study tested 44,551 French adults, who were at least aged 45 or older. They found that a 10% increase in consuming ultra-processed foods lead to a 14% increase in risk of mortality. Although further findings are needed, the French study did find a correlation between ultra-processed foods and a higher risk of mortality among adults.
We understand that it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all processed foods. We all need our specialty lattes, microwave oatmeal when breakfast doesn’t seem like an option, or fast food burger after a long day at the office. But it makes a huge difference when you take the time to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, eat more whole, prepared foods, and make attempts to reduce your salt, sugar, and oil intake. Be sure to read the nutrition information for all packaged foods, and choose those with lower calories, fewer additives, and higher nutrients.
At Balance Wellspace, your whole-body health is our greatest priority. If you’re concerned about your eating habits and overall health, call to schedule an appointment with us today to get your health back on track, and start living a more holistic life today.