You likely know that processed foods contain excess sugars, sodium, bad fats and manufactured unnatural preservatives. What you might not understand is the full extent of what processed foods can do to your body.
They might be easy to prepare, cheap and easy but the epidemic of highly manufactured foods is slowly killing us. Take a look at these 10 facts that processed food companies hide from you:
1. MSG Is Messing Up Your Metabolism
Processed food contain additives known to cause obesity. Many scientists agree that MSG is a harmful additive that contributes to the number of people who are overweight and the myriad of health problems that come with obesity.
You can find more information about MSG at http://www.msgtruth.org/, which is a non-profit website created by former food process engineer and food scientist, Carol Hoernlein.
2. Additives To Promote Shelf Life Cause Diabetes
Another big problem with additives like MSG? They don’t just cause obesity; science has also linked them to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance or diabetes. A study of monosodium glutamate in rats determined that in obese animals, MSG causes a higher insulin response potentially speeding up the development of diabetes.
Again, remember that no one requires manufacturers to list MSG as an ingredient. It’s everywhere and the best way to avoid it is to eat natural, unprocessed foods. They might take longer to prepare but in the end they are usually cheaper and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
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3. Processed Food Might Be Addictive
If you owned a processed food company, would you let people know if your food was addictive? Likely not. Developing food products with addictive properties is actually in the best interest of food manufacturers because in the end addictive food leads to increased profits.
Researchers have developed a “salted food addiction” theory to explain how processed food might be addictive. A recent study discusses the theory, demonstrating a possible link between salt content and the dopamine response of the human brain.
Scientists concluded that obesity triggered by overeating might be a reaction to the feelings experienced when the brain releases dopamine as a result of salted food consumption. Because your brain knows it “feels good” to eat salty food, it develops urges to eat and crave more.
4. Processed Food Alters Behavior
A substance in processed food called Cyclo(His-Pro) or CHP can impact your mood and behavior. Researchers understand the link between CHP and the reaction of your mind to processed food. According to a recent meta-analysis of food research and history, CHP is abundant in a variety of protein-based processed foods including nutritional meal-replacement supplements, shrimp, tuna, yogurt, milk and other dairy products.
5. Nutrition Labels Are Frequently Misunderstood
Researchers studying consumer understanding of food labels determined that food processers should make steps toward improving nutrition labels. Scientists determined that people are frequently confused about what is on the label of food products. They concluded that it was the result of the complex language some food processors use to describe nutritional information and ingredients.
6. Processed Foods Are Correlated with Obesity
Beyond monosodium glutamate, there is a strong link between people who eat processed foods and obesity. Researchers turned to developing countries who are rapidly moving from a natural diet to a diet rich in processed foods to determine if there is a coloration between all types of processed food and obesity. One study in the Journal of Nutrition found that nutritional transition from natural to processed food is resulting in higher levels of obesity.
Processed food is one big part of the obesity puzzle. It’s important to acknowledge that lack of physical activity also contributes to obesity.
7. High Fructose Corn Syrup in Beverages
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in beverages is also causing obesity. The problem that food processors don’t want you to know is that your body does not react to HFCS in the same way it reacts to other sugars. Studies show that HFCS stimulates insulin secretion and leptin production, two factors that influence how your body reacts to food and regulates body weight. Glucose sugars don’t have increased insulin and leptin responses. Researchers concluded that “overconsumption of HFCS in calorically sweetened beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity.”
8. BHT and Preservatives Cause Cancer in Some Studies
According to one study, a common preservative called butylated hydroxyanisole (BHT) can cause cancer in rodent populations. A high level of BHT is required to produce “pathological, enzyme, and lipid alterations,” at least 500 mg per kilogram of bodyweight per day according to the study. People usually consume around 50 mg of BHT per kilogram of bodyweight each day, however concerns over BHT are great enough to warrant further study.
Sulfites are a common preservative in dried fruits and potato products. Sulfites are included on the labels of food if they are used as a preservative. They are dangerous enough that the FDA has banned their use for foods designed to be consumed fresh, like salad mix and fresh vegetables.
Sulfites pose a variety of health risks. Many people are allergic to them and they don’t even know it. Entire books by researchers have investigated the many negative metabolic effects and consequences of the prevalence of sulfites as a preservative in modern foods.
Trans-fats increase the risk of heart disease. Food manufacturers don’t want you to know that trans-fats can be commercially produced—they aren’t necessarily natural—and they are widely used as a preservative.
The American Heart Association recently gathered a group of researchers to discuss alternatives to trans-fats as a preservative. Doctors and scientists acknowledged the primary problem with the high level of trans-fat in people’s diets as the desire to have packaged, processed food with a long shelf-life.