All right, we all know that processed foods are bad for you. We hear it time and time again. Avoid preservatives. Avoid the processed foods. But no one every gives us any real solid information on why you should avoid it, why they’re dangerous. My name’s Thomas DeLuer with Efit, and I want to bring to you the five dangers of eating processed foods. I want to break them down a little bit more for you, so you really understand why you should avoid these culprits.
First, processed foods are loaded with refined carbohydrates. Okay, our bodies need carbohydrates. They need that energy. They need blood glucose. But the process of refining a carbohydrate eliminates virtually all the nutrients from it whatsoever. So let’s say you’ve got a healthy whole grain, and it goes through that refining process. Once it’s refined, it’s losing any of that whole grain component to it. It’s just become an empty carbohydrate, which means it’s going to stimulate the body to produce insulin, and it’s going to cause a spike in blood sugar that’s really not going to have any metabolic effect in a positive way. It’s just causing the insulin to spike, and it’s causing a spike in that blood sugar, and it’s just going to make you crash later on in the day. So that’s the number one reason why we want to avoid it. We want to avoid those refined carbohydrates.
Next up, foods that are processed are loaded with sugar, but not just sugar, they’re loaded with high fructose corn syrup. In case the whole issue of high fructose corn syrup hasn’t been brought to your attention, it’s more so than just sugar. It’s more so the fact that it’s just empty calories. It’s more so what goes into the processing of corn. It’s so genetically modified that corn contains almost no nutritional value. Again, you are filling your body with these empty calories, these empty nutrients. We’re starting to learn now that genetically modified foods can cause inflammation in the gut. When you have inflammation in the digestive system, your body doesn’t absorb nutrients. When your body doesn’t absorb nutrients, your body goes into starvation mode, and you gain fat, you lose muscle, you get brain fog, you get lethargic, you overall feel like garbage.
Next up, processed foods contain components that cause a hyper reward sense in your body. What I mean by that is they have components like MSG, monosodium glutamate. They have other components of high fructose corn syrup, and even certain dyes, like Red Dye 40, that can actually have addictive properties. They stimulate your body to get reward out of it. So MSG, monosodium glutamate, for instance, it’s in a lot of prepackaged Chinese food and things like that, a lot of Asian dishes. What that’s going to do, it’s going to stimulate your taste buds to enjoy the taste, even if the taste isn’t all that good. It becomes somewhat psychological, just by the way your brain communicates with your taste buds. So you consume that MSG and your body says, “This is good.” The hyper reward sense goes off, and your body is tricked into being rewarded, meaning you want more of it. It’s extremely dangerous, simply from a calorie standpoint, because at that point it’s so easy to over-consume, so easy to eat too much, overdo your calories, overdo your sodium, and feel like complete trash the next day.
The next one is pretty obvious. Those processed foods are loaded with artificial ingredients. When you body is consuming artificial ingredients, your body treats it as a foreign object or a foreign body. It’s an invader. Your body isn’t used to recognizing these things like sucralose, or these artificial sweeteners, or some of these other preservatives. So the body does what it does best. It triggers that immune system to say, “Hey, get out of the body. You’re not supposed to be here.” When that happens, it lowers your resistance, which means that you can get sick. In other words, your body is wasting its immune system on fighting this food that’s entered the body, rather than fighting the things that matter, like fighting off the cold, fighting off the flu, fighting off any of those illnesses that can really make you sick. So instead, those artificial flavorings, those artificial sweeteners, and those preservatives, are slowly, slowly making you sicker and sicker.
Lastly, processed foods have huge addictive properties. As Americans, we really have a strong tendency to become addicted to certain foods. But the fact is, it’s not entirely our fault. I mean, a lot of these foods that are thrown at us, they taste so good, literally, that our brains start registering a dopamine neurotransmitter, so they actually start seeing these goods as things that make the brain feel good, when in reality it doesn’t make the brain feel good. It makes the brain feel horrible, and it makes the body feel horrible. But that dopamine response is the critical reason why you feel addicted, and why you feel like you have to go back to the well for more of those pita chips, or for more of those corn chips, or for more of those Snickers. It’s simply your brain becoming addicted to them.
The only way that you can stop that is to remove that stimulus all together, to get rid of the processed foods out of your diet. You don’t have to wean yourself off. You can cut it off cold turkey, and you’ll almost feel better instantaneously. It’s not like cutting off caffeine, where you’re going to have a withdrawal period. A lot of times when you cut out processed foods, the only thing that is missing is the convenience. The only thing that’s missing is the convenience of being able to pop something into the microwave and have it ready to go. So you work that little bit harder. You work that extra little bit that you have to do to prepare some food and keep it in the fridge, and either eat it cold, or put it in the microwave, or put it in the oven. But that little investment in time is going to give you so much more energy, and so much more power to get to where you want to go in life, to get to where you want to go with your health and fitness goals.