By definition, a processed food is one that has been altered from its original form. Pasteurized and packaged foods are considered processed. So, if you are not drinking milk directly from the cow, you are consuming processed foods. Don’t worry, those are not the problem, that’s the way we eat these days.
Just because a food has gone through a process does not mean it is not wholesome. The problem is ultra-processed foods because they are a danger to our health. They raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer and many other ailments.
In the ultra-processed food category are snacks, beverages, and many other products made almost entirely of sugars, edible derivatives, flavorings, colors, and other additives designed to enhance their sensory traits.
Ultra-processed foods have gone through complex industrial processes and have a long list of ingredients on the packaging, including preservatives, sugars, sweeteners, enhancers, and several hard-to-pronounce chemicals.
We tend to consume ultra-processed products in large quantities because they lack nutritional balance. That makes our body want to eat more because it knows that it is not being nourished.
Manufacturers inject flavorings, sugars, fats and preservatives so that the product is easy to consume, has an intense flavor and, most importantly, generates a lot of profits because the chemical ingredients used cost very little and then sold at a very high price. Have you noticed that a big bag of chips costs the same as a big bunch of bananas?
Eating a banana provides you with vitamin C and B6, potassium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and 89 calories. Consuming a bag of chips provides you with salt, fat, chemicals and more than 1,000 calories. Yes, over a thousand, plus inosinate, guanylate, and many more unpronounceable chemicals.
Consuming nutritious foods instead of ultra-processed foods in your daily life is easy.
For example, instead of adding syrup to your pancakes, use honey! Maple flavored syrups are flavored cornstarch with lots of calories and zero nutrients. Honey provides you with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Which do you prefer?
The quality of food also affects the brain. Eating junk food has been shown to have a detrimental effect on mental health. That is one of the reasons why, along with the proliferation of ultra-processed foods in recent decades, the rate of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, has increased worldwide.
If you want to improve your mood, we invite you not to consume ultra-processed foods for two weeks.
Perhaps at the end of those 14 days you will notice an improvement in your mood and well-being. It’s an easy way to find out if junk food is affecting your mental health, and then choose to avoid it.
By consuming natural foods you also join the movement for sustainable gastronomy, the expression of cultural diversity that promotes the efficient use of resources and the conservation of the environment. How long does it take for a banana peel to decompose back into the earth? One week. How long does it take for a bag of chips? Forever.
We invite you to stop participating in the trick of outwitting your pocketbook and your senses. It’s time to choose foods that truly nourish us, promote environmental sustainability, and contribute to our physical and mental well-being for the good of the planet, people, and prosperity.