"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." Brillat-Savarin [tweet this].
Still Not enough!? Here are 6 more reasons:
1: What’s in it?
So you may be thinking right about now “I’m ok, I don’t eat ready meals this doesn’t affect me” but if you are eating cereal, BREAD and pasta you are in for a big surprise!
Obviously, most foods are processed in some way and to sticking to a diet free of this would be quite hard unless you live on an island, with a ball named Wilson and you got this blog in a bottle.
For example if you grab some spinach and chop it up and place some dressing over the top, you are technically “mechanically Processing” the Spinach.
Then there is Chemical Processing. This varies in intensity depending on how heavily processed and item is. For example, strained Greek Yoghurt and pro-biotics are great for promoting a healthy lifestyle where as the evil cheap imitation also called Greek Yoghurt is processed more heavily with thickening agents and corn starch… not good.
2. Having a Better Body composition will make it easier to loose body fat.
A huge amount of studies have shown that people who eat more processed foods have a higher level of body fat and have a harder time losing it.
A study done in Brazil found that a group who ate 1581 calories daily of which 386 calories came from high processed items. As this increased, so did body fat percentage. These foods included sweets, pasta, bread, chips, fizzy drinks, frozen dinners, cereal, processed meat, and margarine. You get the picture…
Processed foods are specifically manufactured to be addictive, meaning we eat more of them. They are higher in sugar, have no fibre and are made of refined fat. This combination creates the perfect conditions to increase your appetite, increase your blood sugar and generally make you more tired and less active.
This most likely means you are going to eat more calories and get thrown into a spiral of being inactive and tired, meaning an inevitable increase in fat and a slower metabolic rate.
3. Whole Food Calories Vs Processed Calories
You will always be able to eat more whole foods in calories compared to processed foods. The more natural the food, the higher the thermic effect (how many calories your body burns while digesting the food).
Digestion takes longer to accomplish compared to processed foods due to the higher fibre content. This also reduces hunger!
Choosing foods as natural as possible is a sure way to get lean and decrease body fat!
4. Food Label advertising
Labels on food aren’t usually very transparent. Some advertise for being “healthy”, others stamp the protein quantity on the front as a gesture of being nutritionally beneficial with disregard to what else that is in the packet. Then there’s the “Whole grain” message which is only partially true. The manufacturers use processed flour which means the once ‘wholegrain’ flour is treated with chemical processes and typically stripped of any nutritional value it may once have had.
In general food labels are advertisements and should be seen as such. Try to buy whole unpackaged foods, without branding there is no manipulation.
For example, did you know the calories that are measured on the packet are underestimated as energy calculations are based on the unprocessed ingredients?
5. Protect your insulin and blood sugar levels:
Eating processed foods is a sure fire way to increase your diabetes risk and make you more insulin resistant. This is because processed foods are usually high in carbs, little to no fibre which means the body can easily digest them. The ingredients are usually filled with cheaper alternatives such as corn, soy and wheat derivatives and most importantly, again, they are filled with added sugars or artificial sugars.
Combining exercise, natural foods and low “GI” carbs is a proven method to manage insulin health. To find out more about this method, book in at the bottom of the blog for your consultation.
6. The Biggest reason?
By limiting the processed food you eat, you will reduce your cancer and disease risk!
Eating whole foods which are nutritionally dense will help to protect you against inflammation and cancer. Processed foods contain a high amount of fat, sugar and cheap protein. When consumed in large quantities these can cause bodily stress and increase your risk of disease.
Eat rich whole foods that your body can digest to promote health and reduce disease risk.
The Bottom Line?
Stay away from heavily processed foods!
Look past the branding and concentrate on the small print to see what your food is actually made of. Can’t understand it? It’s probably safe to say it has been processed away from what nature intended.
Sean Baldwin is the founder of Tri Force Training, a Personal Training service in Harrogate.