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Dangers of processed food

While we all know to some extent that junk food is bad for health, new research shows that if a food has been processed to even a small extent, it may be contributing to weight problems.  Continues below... 


Even foods that are labeled as "healthy" or "low calories" or "diet food" can actually do more harm than good.

Oprah has been campaigning against processed foods and emphasizing the importance of eating fresh foods and her assertion now seems to have a scientific reason.

Why processed food is not healthy?

The food manufacturers - with good intentions - have no choice but to add "stuff" to make the food last longer and still taste delicious. Since any food loses its natural flavors during processing and when it sits on a shelf in the store or in your pantry, companies add all kinds of chemicals to either retain some of the original flavor or make the food be flavor-rich.

How does processed food make you fat?

While the body looks for calories, it also looks for nutrients. That is why when you are getting small or no nutrients in processed foods, the body goes into the "hunger mode" and starts to preserve calories. The net result is that the calorie-rich processed foods turn into fat and the body refuses to burn them.

Eliminating processed foods from your diet

Processed food is convenient, especially for busy moms or college students or single women with demanding jobs. But it is best to eliminate it or minimize it in the diet. These are some tips:

1- If it is in a can or a bottle or a box (or whatever exotic packaging), ask yourself if you can avoid it.

2- While shopping in the supermarket, go to the fresh food aisles first and try to find whatever you need there. Only then, go to the processed food aisles.

3- Fresh food is typically more expensive - try to cut back in other areas of your life to find the extra money.

To the extent possible, also stay away from ready-to-eat meals, no matter what the label says or even if is sold in a health-foods or gourmet supermarket. The best way to eat healthy is to cook your own meal using sauces that you have prepared. You must also try to read the recipe carefully to figure out how you can cut sugar and fats.

Increase the intake of healthy protein (lean meat, eggs, tofu, etc.) in your diet - high protein diets suppress appetite. 

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