In the United States, it is very commonplace for people to eat a diet that is high in processed foods. Grocery stores typically have far more processed foods than healthier whole foods. People eat processed foods because they taste good, they are easy, and they are often cheap. These benefits may seem enough, but the cost of eating processed foods is costing many people their health. Especially for those people with chronic health conditions like kidney disease, eating processed foods can affect your health in the worst ways.
Here is the hard truth about processed foods and how they can affect your body:
Many people do not understand what “processed” means when it comes to food. Unless you are eating fresh produce, your food is likely processed in some way. It might have been ground or milled, macerated, or mixed with other ingredients. This is not the type of processing that can be dangerously unhealthy.
The kind of processing that you have to look out for is chemically processed foods. These foods have tons of added ingredients, mostly chemicals that act as fillers, preservatives, color additives, flavoring, and more. Just look at the back of the box under the nutrition label. You may notice a whole lot of words that most people could not begin to pronounce, much less understand. These are the foods you should avoid.
Low Nutritional Value
The nutrition label may or may not divulge just how nutritionally barren processed foods really are. Many may even tout that they are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The truth is, however, that the majority of any nutritional value is not able to be easily absorbed in your body. Not to mention that the chemicals, hidden ingredients, and other “bad stuff” simply negate any real nutritional value.
The majority of processed foods can include a lot of hidden ingredients that you may find appalling, or just downright disgusting. For example, foods that claim to have “natural flavorings” may include castoreum, which is literally extracted from the scent glands of beavers. Cellulose is a popular filler ingredient that is made from cotton or wood pulp. Worse still, most of the ingredients in popular processed foods are just chemicals that can have adverse effects on your body.
On top of a huge list of hidden ingredients and chemicals, processed foods are also full of added sugars and sodium, which can have true consequences for people with health issues like chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Processed foods can even ruin the healthier ingredients by processing them too much, effectively making their health benefits null.
Especially if you are already living with certain chronic health conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, cutting out as much processed foods can be very beneficial to your health. Processed foods are a big part of why so many Americans are overweight and sick. A diet full of real, whole foods such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains, can help you live a much healthier life and help to slow the progression of your chronic kidney disease. For more information about what you should be eating, click here.
Also published on Medium.