Neatly packaged foods in the grocery store aisle can be tempting because of their convenience and low cost. But when you take a closer look, those benefits are greatly outweighed by the risks they pose to your health. As a general rule, the real foods in a grocery store are located along the walls of the store. The processed foods take up most of the center of the store. Stay away from the center and purchase foods that you can actually identify as real food … that is not inside a plastic bag.
Types of Processed Foods
Since you’ll find many labels on packaged foods with the words “natural” and “healthy,” it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish exactly what a processed food is. Here are the most common methods for processing foods:
Chemical and man-made ingredients are added to food to give them color, stabilize their consistency, texture, preserve, and sweeten. These are some of the harmful additives that health author Ron Lagerquist describes in his books:
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – used to enhance flavor
- Formaldehyde – used to disinfect frozen vegetables
- Sodium nitrate – used as a preservative
- Arsenic – used as a growth enhancer
- Aluminum – often found in baking powder, and beer
- Carboxymethylcellulose – used as a stabilizer in liquids and spreads
Processed Food and Health Risks
Many medical studies have linked processed foods to serious health risks, including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and ADHD. Chemicals used in food additives have been connected to higher disease rates, and many processed foods contain trans fatty acids that raise your cholesterol too.
Processed foods have gotten a bad reputation for making people chronically sick and overweight. Many processed foods are full of high fructose corn syrup and sugar, which easily turn into bodily fat. They are also often high in refined carbohydrates, which increase your insulin levels and lead to insulin resistance.
Minimal Nutritional Value
Because of over-processing, many packaged foods have little or no nutritional value. Don’t be fooled by health claims on labels, like “low sugar” and “an excellent source of fiber,” because packaged foods are almost always inferior to fresh fruits and vegetables. Once you remove all of the natural nutrients that whole foods contain for the purpose of preserving and adding features, there’s no way to put them back in!
Packaged Food Alternatives
The best way to avoid the risks associated with packaged foods is to focus your diet on whole foods that are in their natural state. Instead of canned fruits, choose fresh ones and instead of frozen vegetables, stock up at your local farmer’s market. As you begin to replace packaged foods with whole foods, try to consume more avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and organic raw nuts to fill your diet with healthy fats.
If you have trouble getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet on a daily basis, there are some great supplemental alternatives that are safe, nutritious, and organic. For example, our carrot powder is made from our very own organic carrots, which have been tested to be free of chemicals and pesticides by a lab certified for testing by the State of California. Better yet, one glass of juice made from our carrot powder only costs about $1.00 per serving!
If you can’t stand the taste of tomatoes, try Lycopene capsules to promote cardiovascular, prostate, and cervix health. And if pomegranates aren’t in season, try 100% pure pomegranate capsules to get the benefits of this powerful superfood. Just be sure to carefully read the labels on any supplement you take to ensure its purity and contact the manufacturer if you have any concerns about the ingredients.