Feelgood Health

What The Processed Food Industry Doesn't Want You To Know

What’s not to like about processed foods? They taste good and are easy and convenient to prepare. Processed foods have become part and parcel of our busy lives today - we simply can’t seem to do without them!  

Just think how many times per week do you eat breakfast cereals, cheese, canned foods, soft drinks, bread or frozen pre-cooked dinners? These are all processed foods which are very tempting to eat but do you actually know what goes into making them? Feelgood Health gives you the low down on processed foods and how you can reduce the risks to your health.

But first – what are processed foods? When we hear the term ‘processed foods’ many of us think of typical fast food outlets like McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King, etc. While these large fast food chains certainly fall into the category of ‘processed foods’, many of us don’t realise that a great deal of food on the supermarket shelves also falls under this category – and much of it is marketed as healthy and ‘good for us’.

Processed food can be defined as any food which has been altered from its natural state. So for example, a cut of meat would be food in its natural state, while bacon is processed meat. Natural cultured yogurt is not processed, but ‘low fat’, flavoured yoghurt is. 

In order to process food, it is usually necessary to add preservatives, colouring and flavouring as well as a host of other ingredients that have nothing to do with food, but everything to do with making money – think trans fats, hydrogenated oils, cheap preservatives, MSG, tartrazene, sodium benzoate, added salts and sugars …. and the list goes on and on!

Here are the secrets that the processed food industry doesn’t want you to know about

1. Processed foods are highly addictive

When you eat highly processed foods such as pizza, chicken nuggets or burgers, it stimulates the feel-good neurotransmitter, dopamine artificially which reaches the pleasure centre in your brain and makes you feel good. Because you are feeling good, you think that food tastes better and want more which leads to food cravings and food addiction. Processed foods also lack fibre and nutrients whereas whole foods contain a combination of carbohydrates, fats, fibre, protein and water to help you feel satisfied and full for longer.

These foods are modified and as a result important components of food like water, fibre and nutrients are removed. Processing changes the way food is digested and assimilated in your body.

Solution: Start by making small changes in your diet and slowly eliminating processed foods and substituting with healthier options. People often believe that healthy eating doesn’t taste good.

If you enjoy pizza, substitute a white flour base for a whole grain or cauliflower base and then add a healthy topping. Make your own burgers using free range beef or lamb mince. Once you start eating better, you will note the changes in your overall health and hopefully, you’ll never want to eat processed food ever again.
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2. Processed foods are loaded with sugar

The problem with most processed foods is that they contain hidden sugars unbeknownst to you. Hidden sugars can be found in almost everything in the supermarket from readymade soups, sauces to savoury biscuits.

A tin of fizzy cooldrink contains at last 7 teaspoons of sugar – scary, right? These added sugars provide you with energy in the form of calories and that’s all! A high intake of sugar increases the blood sugar levels, giving you that “sugar high” and leaving you feeling irritable, lacking energy, tired and craving more sugar when there isn’t anymore.

And don’t be fooled by the words ‘no added sugar’ on so called healthy, ‘natural’ fruit juices! Most of these contain loads of added fructose – a fruit sugar which is just as bad for you in large quantities as cane sugar. In addition, many non-nutritive sweeteners have been linked to cancer and many other conditions, yet somehow remain on the market!

Solution: Remove sugar from your diet and replace with natural alternatives such as organic raw honey, nut butters or fresh fruit. Use coconut oil and almond flour when cooking or baking and drink freshly squeezed juices instead of store bought.
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3. Processed foods are high in carbohydrates

Processed foods are usually high in refined carbohydrates which can lead to spikes in sugar levels and raised levels of blood fats called triglycerides. Eating lots of refined carbs often contributes to carb cravings when sugar levels go down and is also responsible for diabetes, stroke or heart attack.

Solution: Avoid eating refined carbohydrates such as white bread, rice, biscuits, cakes, sweets or sugary cereals. Rather eat whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, rye or whole grain bread.
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4. Processed foods lack essential nutrients

Processed foods lack all the essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs. They are often replaced with synthetic nutrients to reheat, freeze and keep food for longer. Overconsumption of processed foods has resulted in populations that are over-weight but undernourished, lacking vitamins and minerals that are essential for growth, especially in children!

Solution: Choose to eat fresh foods such as fruit, veggies, organic meat and fish which are jam packed with all the essential nutrients you need.  
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5. Misleading ingredients on nutrition labels

We are often told to ‘check the labels’ to make sure that food and beverage ingredients are not harmful to us. But it is not as simple as that. Check the nutrition labels on processed foods and you will find that many of the ingredients are misleading.

Food manufacturers often hide harmful ingredients from consumers by using more acceptable wording. For example, GM (genetically modified) and MSG (monosodium glutamate) is often hidden in ingredients such as yeast extract to enhance flavours and may be called “natural flavourings”.

Watch out for labels that say “sugar-free” – while it may sound natural, it contains other sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup or cane juice which are laden with sugar. The same goes for “low fat” or “fat free” products on labels – these products are not healthy and are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and chemicals. Fizzy ‘diet’ drinks like Coke and Fanta contain the chemical sweetener aspartame which has been linked to health conditions such as cancer, seizures, migraines and blurred vision. 

Solution: Read labels on products carefully when you are out shopping. Just because it says sugar-free, high in vitamins and minerals doesn’t mean that it is. While it is important to read food labels, avoid buying processed foods as far as possible. Learn what the harmful ingredient names are such as MSG, GMOs, high fructose syrup, aspartame, trans fats, sodium nitrate or sodium benzoate.
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6.  Processed foods are linked to weight gain and obesity

Studies show that additives such as MSG, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners in processed foods have been linked to increasing weight gain and obesity. Refined foods (carbs) such as pasta, breakfast cereals or baked goods convert to sugar and increase your insulin levels. This contributes to insulin resistance and puts you at risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Solution: If you are overweight, eat a healthy diet of fresh foods, fruit and veggies and start exercising regularly. Use natural remedies such as EcoSlim and Detox Drops in the Feelgood Health range to kickstart your weight loss journey and shed the excess kilos. 
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7. Processed foods can contribute to hyperactivity and ADHD in children

A diet high in processed foods has been identified as one of the main  causes of hyperactivity, ADHD and concentration and memory problems in children. Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD often eat a processed food diet which contains refined carbohydrates and artificial colourants – think how irresistible Coco Pops are to a child, instead of a bowl of oats?

Research has shown considerable improvement in ADHD kids when processed foods are removed completely from their diet. This is because many of the chemicals contained in processed foods (think MSG, Tartrazine, preservatives, sugars, etc) have an effect on brain functioning and behaviour, leading to poor concentration, restlessness, moodiness and hyperactivity.

Solution: Cut out sugary snacks, cereals, fizzy drinks and other processed foods from your child’s diet especially if he or she has ADHD. Your child can enjoy a sweet, cookie or ice-cream over the weekend but remember that moderation is key! Boost concentration and attention span naturally by using Focus Formula and BrightSpark by Feelgood Health – both natural remedies to support brain functioning, balanced mood and concentration.
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8. Processed foods have a long shelf life, but are not good for healthy digestion

Food manufacturers add additives, preservatives and other chemicals to processed foods to ensure that they will last longer and still maintain their taste. They spend large amounts of time and money on packaging these foods to make them easily accessible and edible for the consumer. As you can imagine, there isn’t much effort put into how these foods will negatively impact your health, not to mention the environment (think of all those boxes, plastic wrapping, etc).

Solution: Choose fresh, whole foods rather than foods with a long shelf life. Fresh fruit, veggies, dairy products, meat and fish are definitely much healthier to eat than  foods which are preserved for a lengthy period.

While it may be convenient to have bread which never goes mouldy and meat which never goes off, think of this – if the mould and the bacteria ‘think’ the food is not good for them to consume, shouldn’t this make us think twice too?
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9. Processed foods can lead to digestive problems

Digestive problems like chronic constipation, heartburn, gas, etc are common in people that have a highly processed diet. This is due to the additives in processed food, as well as the lack of fibre and natural enzymes.

Solution: Whole foods with all their natural ingredients lead to healthy digestion. Eat fresh fruit and veggies, whole grains, unprocessed meat and fish and flavour with herbs, natural salts, lemon, ginger, garlic and chillies. Much more flavoursome and good for you too!

Treat chronic digestive problems like constipation, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with natural remedies from Feelgood Health – try Gastronic Doctor, DigestAssist, Gasolve Relief and Triple Complex Digestion Tonic.
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10. Processed foods can lead to hormonal imbalances and even infertility

Some of the ingredients in processed foods can lead to hormonal imbalance in both men and women. Research has also suggested that certain plastics used for packaging processed foods and drinks are absorbed by the foods (and therefore our bodies) and contain pseudo-hormones’, causing hormonal havoc in men and women. This has been linked to a range of problems, including infertility, obesity, hot flashes, menstrual problems and low sex drive.

Solution: Avoid food packaged in plastic. Buy your vegetables loose. Don’t heat up ‘TV dinners’ in the microwave. Cut down on water and beverages in plastic bottles. Again, choosing fresh, unprocessed whole foods over packaged, processed foods will benefit your health enormously and help to prevent hormonal imbalance.

Natural medicines can also help men and women with menstrual, menopausal or fertility problems. Feelgood Health has a wide range of natural remedies in this range, including Don Quai, Fertile XX, Fertile XY, Femalite, MellowPause,Prostate DrIkawe and Thanda.
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To read more about the suggested natural remedies in this post, click on the links below. For free help and advice, phone 021 7970193 or visit our website at www.feelgoodhealth.co.za

• Weightloss & Detox (link to http://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/weight-loss-detox)
• Sexual Health & Fertility (link to http://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/sexual-health-fertility)
• Women’s Health (link to http://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/womens-health)
• Concentration and Hyperactivity (link to http://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/concentration-study)
• Digestive Health (link to http://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/digestive-health)

Products in this Article

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