Why You Should Avoid Eating Highly Processed Foods

Our world of modern convenience food is full of cheap, tasty processed foods. It’s everywhere you go– parties, restaurants, school lunches, etc. Grocery stores are comprised of mostly boxed, canned, and highly processed foods.

Companies who process their foods do it for one reason: it’s cheap to produce! Usually, the ingredients that are used to make the “food” is subsidized… which means that it’s cheaper to produce in mass amounts so it’s cheaper to use it in food processing. So, why do we buy it then? Simply because it tastes good and it’s convenient– these processed foods have additives that are very addicting, and many times it is easy to fix a quick meal in a box that your family will enjoy. Now, just because it tastes good doesn’t mean you should eat it… these processed foods will damage your health and cause you to feel tired and sluggish. These foods have been stripped of their nutrients and they are hard on your digestive system, many of them can lead to obesity among other diseases.

Luckily, we have a choice in our daily food choices!

Staying away from processed foods can be hard, but there are so many other healthier food options out there… eating foods in their whole, natural form will provide you with nutrients and they will energize your body. You will not be bogged down with chemicals, additives and other ingredients that our bodies are not designed to digest. And as you learn to prepare healthy meals, you will find that it becomes easier and easier to focus on whole foods, you will be able to quickly throw a meal together when you have the right ingredients on hand.

In talking with people about  processed foods, many of them tell me that they are unsure exactly what processed foods to avoid. Are they supposed to completely avoid anything that comes in a box, bag or a can? My strategy is that I strive to eat foods in their most natural form, and at times I am ok with eating food that has been processed– as long as it doesn’t have unnatural ingredients. For example, I buy 100% whole wheat pasta that does not contain any other ingredients. I always read the ingredient list to make sure that it says 100% whole wheat, because there are sneaky packages that advertise “whole grains” on the front, but the ingredient list contains 10-20 nutrition-less ingredients and additives.

As you are grocery shopping,  pick up a package and look at the ingredients– and if you see a bunch of funny words that you have never heard of before, you can assume that it has been processed to the point of stripping out the nutrients and it is full of unhealthy chemicals. The majority of processed foods have chemicals and all sorts of unnatural ingredients added to them that aren’t good for us, and you need to avoid those foods in order to achieve optimal health. If you pick up an item like this, set it back down and keep moving. Only buy products that contain ingredients that you would normally keep in your cupboard at home.

Being health-conscious about what you are buying and consuming is a great way to stay away from processed foods. The more you know the less likely you will be to make unhealthy choices in your eating habits.

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