Processed Food is Killing You



The United States is going through an epidemic of processed food, and it’s killing you. Look around, there isn’t one person who doesn’t know someone suffering from a serious disease or illness, or experiencing it themselves.

In the midst of a country ridden with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, there has to be some correlation between our health and the food we eat. According to a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, roughly 61% of the American diet consists of highly processed foods.

With all of these huge food marketers pushing the consumption of processed food, I believe we are set up to lose. Big companies are pushing these dangerously tasty foods like never before, and convincing us that food pumped full of additives is proper fuel for the human body.

Chemically processed foods often only contain refined ingredients and artificial substances, with little nutritional value. These foods have been taken apart and mangled before being put back together with an unhealthily high concentration of added sugar, sodium and fat.

There’s no doubt that genetics plays a role in your health and the conditions that may affect you as you grow older, but what if it was more of a lifestyle issue? Families pass down certain poor eating and behavior habits to their own children for generations without even noticing, and I am convinced this is the main reason families are most likely going to suffer from similar illnesses.

In a 2019 study done by the British Medical Journal, they found that an increase of the consumption of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a 12% increase for the risk of overall cancer.

The United States has a system that makes eating poorly the default for Americans. As the years go by, I find the dietary guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are becoming increasingly more vague. It’s extremely disappointing when I’m searching for answers and I find that the advice from organizations like the USDA, along with the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association, all give different advice on what foods you should be consuming.

This inadequate way of eating isn’t just costing you years off your life, it’s racking up some big medical bills. The biggest issue with the American healthcare system is they are treatment based, not prevention based. The cost of healthcare in America is through the roof, and only continues to rise as the amount of people with life threatening illnesses goes with it.

A study done by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute finally put a price tag on America’s poor eating habits. Roughly $50 billion a year in health care costs are derived from cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes alone.

The processed foods we keep so near and dear to our heart lack the important nutrients to fuel your body and trigger the brain’s “reward” response. Without this signal being sent to your brain, overeating these foods is a huge possibility. I’m positive this proves the clear correlation between processed foods and obesity.

The biggest issue I believe we need to tackle before there can be a solution is the confusion surrounding what to eat. Educating yourself is the key to defeating this epidemic.

Now, I’m not saying we need to completely cut out processed foods from our diet or suffer a slow and painful death. Starting with small changes could make a big difference.

A good first step is to make sure that these foods don’t make up the majority of what you consume. Cut down on processed meats, eat more whole fruits and vegetables, and try to prepare more of your own meals at home.

While many aspects of our health seem complicated, eating less processed food doesn’t have to be. Just one healthier choice a day can make a huge difference. When in doubt, just reach for real food.