skip to Main Content
illustration of a slumped, sad looking man holding a slice of pizza

Irresistible, lab-engineered processed foods now dominate the standard American diet — and several recent studies reveal their health hazards.

These foods are composed of “food substances not commonly used in culinary preparations,” such as modified starches, hydrogenated oils, protein isolates, and classes of additives “whose purpose is to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods . . . or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product,” a BMJ study explains. These ingredients may also include synthetic colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, and emulsifiers, plus bulking and other texturizing agents.

These are some of the downsides of a processed diet:

Fewer vegetables

The average American gets just 2.5 percent of daily calories from veggies. Fewer phytonutrients makes it hard to combat the inflammation, damage from free radicals, and other health issues caused by all the processed food we consume.

More sugar

Meanwhile, 57.9 percent of our calories come from processed foods, which are also the main source of added sugar in our diets. More sugar means more inflammation, weight gain, and additional health risks.

Fewer nutrients

Processed food contains lower levels of protein, fiber, zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, D, and E — plus more carbs and saturated fats.

More weight gain

A recent National Institutes of Health trial found that eating processed foods for just two weeks resulted in 2 pounds of weight gain. On a whole-foods diet, the same participants lost 2 pounds.

Less immunity

Sugars inhibit white blood cells’ ability to protect the body from infection and may also increase inflammatory cytokines in the blood, constraining the immune system.

Thoughts to share?

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

City and state are only displayed in our print magazine if your comment is chosen for publication.

More From Life Time

Nutrition Coaching

Life Time Nutrition Coaches provide professional guidance and create a personalized plan to help you feel your best.

Learn More About Nutrition Coaching

ADVERTISEMENT

More Like This

illustration of a man with sugar laden foods circling about his head
By Samantha McKinney, RD, CPT
A realistic guide to spotting hidden sugars and lessening the consumption in your diet.
ipad between fork and knife
By Kaelyn Riley
Why calories aren't the most important metric when developing a healthy, satisfying approach to eating.
plate of food with hands and watch
By Laine Bergeson Becco, FMCHC
For many people, taking longer breaks from eating — known as “intermittent fasting” — can produce substantial positive health effects. Here’s what the latest research says.
Back To Top