Processed Food: Why I Don't Eat It

Despite it being the mainstay food choice of millions of consumers, processed food doesn't sit well with me. Why don't I eat it? What's wrong with it?

This is what I go on to explain in this article about the kind of food that I believe is largely responsible for the unprecedented increase in obesity numbers coupled with an ongoing decline in people's health. I need to point out that what follows is mostly my own opinion formulated from the information I have found on the subject from a variety of medical and government publications and studies.

You of course are free to form your own opinions and choose whether to accept my findings or to reject them and go on living the way you are accustomed to living and eating the diets you habitually eat. From here on out, the tone of the article will get a little on the serious side.

Here are the main added ingredients that I know I don't much like the look of and maybe you'll agree on this too:

Poison

poisonTo my way of thinking, if I were to consume something that upset the delicate balance of my body, causing it to store a lot of dangerous visceral fat, clogging up my intestines because the can't digest it fully, then leeching toxins into my body and raising my risk factor of becoming diabetic or even getting cancer, I'd call that "something" a poison. Wouldn't you?

I'll go out on a limb here and say that in my opinion, all processed foods that have been altered in any way from their original state and have any unnatural ingredients "added" to them are bad for my health. No exception.

Trans Fats

High levels of saturated "trans" fats are a major cause of increased levels of bad LDL cholesterol, while simultaneously reducing levels of good HDL cholesterol. This can lead to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and the potential for clogged arteries.

These conditions can result in stroke and heart attack.

Trans-fats are added to processed food (as hydrogenated vegetable oils) mainly to increase its shelf life and to stabilize the product. As far as enhancing the food itself, trans-fats add to the attractive texture of the food which would otherwise seem bland and insipid.

Sodium

We need to keep a close watch on the amount of sodium (salt) we consume each day. While we do need up to 2,300 miligrams per day, any more than that can be problematic while much higher levels can be dangerous.

Guess what? Processed foods usually contain high levels of sodium as a flavour enhancing agent and preservative. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and inhibit brain function.

Regular salt is used as well as its evil cousin, MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), the latter being linked with cancer.

Sugar

Experts are telling us to limit our intake of sugar and quite rightly so. Too much of the stuff is really bad for us because our bodies can't process what it can't use as energy, so it turns it into fat to store for later. That fat is called adipose or visceral fat and it gets deposited in our abdomen around our major organs.

Visceral fat cells are known to exude certain hormones that trick us into wanting to eat more sugar to make more visceral fat cells. It's almost like a parasitical other entity living and growing inside our bodies with a rudimentary intelligence that is cunning and dangerous. These insidious invaders are also known to feed cancer cells and to cause a whole host of other uninvited medical conditions to manifest inside ourselves.

The cleverest side to these nasty blobs of blubber is they are extremely clever when it comes to preventing us from getting rid of them. It pulls a lot of tricks to prevent us from exercising (to burn more energy and force the body to take from its fat store to make up the shortfall), by making us feel lethargic and tired and not interested in getting active.

It has a lot to do with increasing the levels of dopamine which control food intake and leads to obesity. I'm sure the visceral fat entity likes to watch TV because it sure is good at making us want to slouch on the sofa and eat more high sugar snacks to feed it and pamper it!

How to Lose Visceral Fat

Getting rid of the seemingly ever expanding fat blob in our bellies is not an easy thing to do under normal circumstances. As long as we keep eating and drinking stuff that's loaded with a lot of sugar, we'll just keep feeding the fat instead of reducing its volume and size.

The way to do it is to stop consuming sugar!

I mean all kinds of sugar, including corn syrup (HFCS), fructose, sucrose, maltose, honey etc (you'll find one or more of these things listed in the ingredients on the packets of all processed foods). The biggest offender is HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) as our bodies really don't know how to process this form of sugar and therefore turns most of it into fat.

You'll also find these ingredients in sweetened drinks like soda, fruit juice, sports drinks, cordials, ,etc.

The way to stop consuming all this unwanted fat forming sugar is to stop eating processed food and stop drinking canned drinks!

I'm sorry to inform you there is no other way! You cannot exercise enough to burn off all that fat unless you are an athlete training hard every day way beyond what the average person would exercise. Bodybuilders and serious athletes don't tend to have a problem with visceral fat because they are burning so much energy during their high level training every day that their bodies actually manage to turn all the sugar they consume into glucose and that is used up by their muscles.

The average person simply does not exercise long and hard enough to make that happen!

Worse (can it get worse?) is that even athletes have some visceral fat if they are eating processed food and/or drinking soda or other canned drinks. It just doesn't show on them because their abdominal muscles are very strong, tight and do a good job of hiding it. But it will still be there!

How to Avoid Eating Processed Foods

fresh natural foodAvoiding eating this type of food can be easy or difficult as you want to make it for yourself. Personally, I chose to make it easy and did it quite simply by making a conscious decision that when I visit the food store, I would not wander down the aisles where all the packets and can of food were!

Instead, I made it my habit of visiting organic fresh fruit and vegetable stores and only buying those in their raw, natural state (not in packaging). I know a lot of people are a little squeamish about picking up fresh vegetables that other people have probably also handled and put back, but you need to get past that and remember to wash everything thoroughly before you prep it for cooking.

I buy fresh meat from an organic butcher and fresh fish from a fishmonger, again not pre-packaged but fresh off the counter! I also grow my own herbs in my garden along with some easy-to-grow veggies so I have a home grown supply of organic produce that I know for a fact has no pesticides of other agricultural chemicals on it.

I get whole grain bread from the local baker, but I manage to avoid being tempted to buy cakes and pastries there because I know they will be overloaded with sugar.

I prep and cook all my own meals from these fresh, wholesome ingredients and sit down to enjoy the tastiest home cooked meals ever. That's my incentive and reward for going that extra mile and I can tell you that it is so worth it!