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3 Reasons Why Processed Foods Are Really Bad

By Genevieve Cunningham

If you've done any research at all into eating healthy, you've definitely heard to stay away from processed foods. While these were once consumed in large quantities without any worry at all, we now understand that these foods can actually be downright dangerous to our health. But why? To understand why processed foods should stay off of your menu, take a look at this quick guide.

What is Processed Food?

Processed foods are technically any food that is altered to increase shelf life or flavor. With this definition, it's easy to see that not all processed foods are bad. The dangerous foods tend to be those that are heavily chemically processed -- think meats, microwave dinners -- versus those that are minimally mechanically processed -- think pre-cut lettuce in a bag. The former would be on the do not buy list, while there's nothing wrong with the latter.

They're Low in Nutritional Value

This isn't always the case, but many kinds of processed foods contain very little to zero nutritional value. They'll often lack essential vitamins and nutrients such as fiber because the nutrients are lost during processing, and instead will be full of refined carbohydrates which make blood sugar skyrocket and drop enough to make you feel ill. 

They Contain So Much Sugar

Processed foods are made to last. This means that they contain massive amounts of artificial ingredients that help to preserve the food. But it also means that they contain massive amounts of sugar in order to make it taste better for that length of time. If you like to watch your sugar intake, you'll definitely want to read the package before eating almost any kind of processed food.

They Often Contain Carcinogens

This one shocks a lot of people! But the harsh truth is that many processed foods have been linked to cancer. For example, many kinds of lunch meats and other processed meats (think hot dogs) are actually listed on the World Health Organization's site as a carcinogen. That means they've been shown to cause cancer. And yet we still consume these foods like it's nothing! If you're interested in good health, do your research before consuming these foods.

We're all going to consume some processed foods in our lifetime. It's unrealistic to think that we can avoid it all the time! Our world is way too modern and convenient for that. But the less processed food that you consume, the better. Make it a goal to cut back, and you'll be automatically improving your diet with just this one tip.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Glen Allen, Va.

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