Processed Foods and Health

Processed Foods and Health

The industrial techniques used to make processed foods not only add unhealthy ingredients but also change the foods themselves and therefore how they interact with our bodies.  In Western countries half the food consumed is processed. 

Over one hundred scientific studies have all shown that diets high in processed foods lead to earlier death, more cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, dementia, stroke, diabetes and heart attack.  Such diets also compromise immune function. 

It’s not the fat, salt and sugar that are most problematic but rather the removal of fiber, micronutrients and the added chemicals, especially emulsifiers, that cause the greatest harm.  The fiber and micronutrients are essential to a healthy microbiome, which in turn is critical for most of the physiologic processes in our bodies and especially our immune systems.

It is well documented that emulsifiers harm the gut.  Emulsifiers are chemicals that bond fat to water.  Soap is an emulsifier which is why it helps us cleanse oil and grease from our hands.  Our intestines are covered in a layer of mucus which is the nesting ground for all our healthy microbiomes, scrubbing this mucus away with emulsifiers severely disrupts the bacteria.  This in turn can lead to greater gut permeability (leaky gut) and local inflammation.  Carboxymethyl cellulose is one of the worst of the emulsifiers and is found in thousands of processed foods. 

Other chemical additives turn off our normal satiety hormones which tell us we’ve eaten enough and thus leads to overeating.  Curiously, this includes artificial sweeteners. 

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