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Yes, Processed Foods Really Are That Bad (New Study Shows!)

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | May 29th, 2019

No matter the diet trend, there always seems to be one rule at the foundation of healthy eating: no processed foods. A recent study at the University of North Carolina discovered that this is indeed the golden rule of healthy eating. A team of researchers enlisted 20 adults (10 men, 10 women) to stay at the National Institutes of Health for two weeks and either eat a diet of whole foods or a diet of only ultra-processed foods. By the end of the test, the group that ate only processed foods ate an average of 508 extra calories per day and gained an average of two pounds within that two-week span.

Both groups consumed meals with equal amounts of calories, fats, protein, carbs, fiber, sugar and salt but the group on the processed diet ate more than the group eating whole foods. They also ate faster than the whole foods group. The message is resoundingly clear: a diet of whole foods is more satisfying and overall healthier than one comprised mainly of processed foods.

At first the diet seems simple and easy-to-follow with plenty of “whole foods” like unprocessed meat, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, you name it. But what constitutes “processed foods”? When do you cross the line from whole foods into processed?

The National Health Service defines processed food as “any food that has been altered in some way during preparation.” There is a line between a fruit or vegetable being only washed and cut before sold in a bag, versus highly processed foods which will contain extra salt, sugar, oil and calories. Examples of highly processed foods are potato chips, frozen pizza, packaged cookies and fruit snacks. Even consider some granola bars and flavored nuts before biting into them: check the label for added sugar and salt. Another helpful tip when looking at labels is to see if you can pronounce all the ingredients. If the words get longer and longer on the label, it probably won’t be great for your body.

If we get really specific, basically everything that is not in its natural state is considered processed as it was prepared somehow, someway before making its way into your grocery cart. To start getting the benefits of cutting out processed foods and adding in whole ingredients, you don’t have to go all in right away. It will take time to make healthier choices and substitutions. Let’s face it: we are all busy, and it’s okay to enjoy a social life! The majority of the time, we should be eating whole foods. Processed foods, eaten sparingly and not regularly, are perfectly fine.

For example, if you are used to grabbing some frozen pizzas at the grocery store, start considering buying the crust, cheese, sauce and toppings separately so you can prepare the pizza yourself. Though the sauce, crust and some toppings may be considered “processed,” they are not nearly as highly processed as that original frozen pizza. Once you have gotten in the habit of preparing your own pizza at home using the store-bought crust and sauce, you can start experimenting with making your own, from-scratch options! This format applies to virtually everything we pick up at the store.

Another tip for starting to add more whole foods into your diet is to always have a “base” of healthy foods in your fridge. Fresh meats, sweet potatoes, avocado and standard vegetables are a great foundation for a lot of recipes. Start experimenting!

As always, I am available to help you customize your diet to meet your lifestyle and vice versa. Give me a call to schedule a free consultation at 920-499-3333.

Best of health,

Dr. Chad M. Hoffman Green Bay Chiropractor Lifestyle Chiropractic
Dr Chad M Hoffman
Lifestyle Chiropractic

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