Welcome everyone to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. With the holiday season in full swing, and the grocery stores stocked with your favorite festive foods, it is a good time to talk about the hidden dangers of PROCESSED FOODS.
We all know they’re bad for us, but why and how? Even more importantly, how do you avoid them in the world we live in today? These are the questions I address in today’s podcast. I encourage you to read the podcast notes below, watch the video, and take to heart what you learned next time to go to the grocery store. You simply have to eat better if you want to stay healthy for a long time.
We Live In An Obese World And It’s Getting Worse
- “According to a March report from the World Obesity Atlas (WOA), more than half of the global population – 51%, or over 4 billion people – will have obesity by 2035. The total cost of treating illnesses related to obesity will be an estimated $4 trillion per year, which is about how much the COVID-19 pandemic cost the world in health care expenses in 2020.” TIME, More Than Half of the World Will Be Obese by 2035, Report Says, Jeffrey Kluger, Mar 21, 2023.
- Many people say they feel better when they are over in Europe than they do when at home in the US. This was definitely the case with my two Type 1 Diabetic kids. Their blood sugars were better while traveling in Europe. It’s most likely because European regulations against additives in food products are stricter than they are in the United States.
- Some examples of additives that are banned in Europe, but we allow in the US are: Titanium Dioxide, Brominated Vegetable Oils, Azocarbinides, Propyl Parabens, Potassium Bromate (a carcinogen). Full list (4:09). These additives are banned in many countries in Europe because of trans fats, like partially hydrogenated soybeans, and cottonseed oils. This is stuff we eat in the standard American diet everyday. It’s no wonder Americans are so much bigger and fatter than people in other countries!
- I know a food engineer at a well known potato chip factory headquarters told me a few years ago that his only job was to make the chips more tasty, last longer, and more addictive. So, when you see cereals, soups, yogurts, and granola advertised as “healthy”, think again because they’re not. These are ultra processed foods. (5:36)
- Around 58% of the calories that adults and kids over age 1 eat come from ultra processed foods. Think about frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, and even a lot of protein bars, which are all ultra processed. You have to be careful with these, because they’re cheap, tasty, and convenient. (5:57)
- Unprocessed foods are more close to their natural state. Examples are: grass fed meat, free range eggs, poultry, and wild caught fish (even some homemade sourdough bread!). Think about local, unprocessed, unfiltered, honey from local honeybees. I have this in all of my offices. I use local honey for my sweetener (6:24).
- “Good source of whole grains.” “Low in sugar.” Sometimes even “organic”. If you see these words on a label, they’re probably ultra processed. You don’t see those labels on whole foods!
Why Ultra Processed Foods Affect Your Body
- Foods high in refined carbohydrates and trans fats enhance the reward systems of your brain, making them more addictive than whole foods. Try eating one chip versus one apple.
- You will eat more calories in the processed foods because they take most of the water out of the processed foods. Water fills you up and is good for you. (8:09)
- Think about your liver. This rapid rush of glucose and fructose overwhelms the liver’s capacity to detoxify, which causes visceral fat. It also causes fatty liver, which is so common. (9:04)
- Next would be your small intestine. Most processed foods are almost completely digested by the time they get out of your stomach and your small intestine. Therefore, they are digested very rapidly, which means more of the calories are absorbed. You’re not getting any that are passed through. (9:42)
- Highly processed foods change your gut microbiome. What you put in your mouth is very sensitive to these bacteria in your gut. Processed foods contain things our bodies and our brains weren’t developed to handle. (10:00)
Tips To Help Avoid Processed Foods
- Start reading labels!
- Choose whole foods with fewer added ingredients.
- Shop the periphery of the grocery store.
- If you absolutely have to eat some processed foods, at least add some fresh broccoli, veggies, or plain fruit.
- Eat more grass fed beef, wild chicken, and pasture eggs.
- Don’t eat out as much.
- Measure your visceral fat with the InBody 570.
- Think about what you put in your mouth today and for the rest of your life.
Stay Educated. Stay Healthy.
Till next week.