Processed Foods – Why to Stay Away

Processed Foods

You might have heard it being said or written several times already: “If you want to improve your diet, stay away from processed foods.” Why is this processed food such a thing?

First of all it is wise to make sure you consume food that is as natural as it can be, without chemical additions, sweeteners, preservatives and the likes. Keeping your food as clean as possible is one of the better choices you can make.

Feeling of Satiety Overridden by Processed Foods

One of the important aspects is satiety. What is that? One of the official term is “The feeling or state of being sated.” This does quite simply mean being full and satisfied. If you read this and truly think this through, you might have experienced some moments when there was quite a difference between feeling satisfied and feeling full.

It is actually really hard to overeat on apples and it is easier to overeat with products like cookies. It is not only that cookies are more calorie dense (they pack more calories per volume), they also have ingredients that make you want to eat them and more than you would need. Especially if you take the caloric expenditure in account (as explained in “You Should NOT Aim for Weightloss“)

Secret Ingredients in Processed Foods

Nutrition Label Sample

Processed food are easily available in several parts of the world. Mostly used for convenience and shelf life of the products. But there is another catch. Many producers of processed foods have adjusted the ingredients with a combination of three main items. These three items will have such an effect on you that you will eat more (override the feeling of satiety) and fire a response in your brain that is comparable to opiates. That is quite an effect! It makes you feel good and you keep on wanting more. Good for sales, but not for you when you want (and you should want that) to keep your calorie consumption in check.

These “secret” ingredients are: sucrose, sodium chloride and lipids. Sounds chemical? These are other terms for the more commonly known: sugar, salt and fat… These three ingredients in a certain ratio have these effects on you. When you think of foods that you have difficulty with to stay away from, or have trouble to stop eating them, they all have these three ingredients. For example:

  • cookies,
  • muffins,
  • chocolate (bars),
  • all kinds of pastry,
  • etc.
fast food products : onion rings, french fries and fried chicken on dark table, top view

When you think about certain fast-food chains these ingredients are even get used to add on basic products. Take for instance chicken wings, a product with relatively little meat and often covered with a batter that has been deep fried. The deep fried batter gives again the three ingredients to make you eat more and crave more.

Most producers of food will search for the perfect ratio with which you will eat more of their products and want to have more and more. Needless to say that this is not good for your calorie balance.

So What to Do Now?

Once you are aware of the effects of these three ingredients in combination, you will be more aware of which products are ‘dangerous’ for you because they are designed for you to overeat them. For myself it made it even less tempting to order things like chicken wings or other breaded dishes. I wasn’t a fan of those types of food, but now I know what the reason is behind the thick breading it is even less tempting.

This knowledge does not mean you should exclude foods with the ‘secret ingredients‘, but knowing what it does to you will make you recognize your reaction and helps you from overeating. Nonetheless it is good to follow the tips from 5 Easy Ways to Eat Better.

I hope this was some “food for thought” for you. If you have any questions, feel free to comment or get in touch through the Contact page.

Recommended reading

If this subject interests you and you want to know more about the subject, I can truly recommend the following book.

The End of Overeating

by David A. Kessler, MD

An excellent book that touches on sugar, salt, fat, the food industry, reasons for overeating and most importantly how to deal with the dangers. All in all a very comprehensible book, which will give you a ton of insight. Available as Kindle, paperback or hardcover on Amazon.

 

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