With fast food restaurants on every corner and preserved meals easily available in the freezer, obesity and chronic disease rates are higher than ever. Fast foods and processed meals are generally sorely lacking in fresh fruits, vegetables, fiber, and whole grains that contain vital nutrients essential to healthy living. Eating "clean" eliminates extra additives that can be dangerous to your health. Making homemade food gives you control, because you know exactly what's in your food.

Processed Foods and Chronic Disease

Back when breakfast was the catch of the day, the human diet was rich in whole, unprocessed foods. Some researchers say after industrialization the human diet has changed at such a high rate that humans have not yet adapted to the foods they are now consuming. The human diet has changed in seven major levels.

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Glycemic load: a rating of how much blood glucose levels rises after food consumption. Blood glucose levels indicate how much insulin is released. Refined grains and processed sugars carry larger glycemic loads than natural, whole foods. Constant high insulin levels lead to insulin resistance (a condition where the body does not use insulin correctly), type-2 diabetes, and obesity.
Fatty acid composition: traditionally fats are a triglyceride with three fatty-acids attached to a glycerol molecule. Processed foods contain saturated and trans fat which are detrimental to your health. They increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by elevating cholesterol levels.
Micronutrient density: refined grains, sugars, and vegetable oils comprise a large percentage of modern diets. Consequently, these foods do not have substantial vitamin and mineral content. Therefore, much of industrialized populations have the potential to suffer from nutrient deficiencies.
Acid-base balance: After consumption and digestion, all foods will release either acid or bicarbonate (base) into systemic circulation. Most processed and refined foods release acid into the body, while diets in base-producing foods, such as fruits and nuts, are shown to prevent kidney stones, osteoporosis, and hypertension.
Fiber content: Fiber-depleted grain products, vegetable oils, and sugars are the primary sources of energy in the typical diet. In fact, the average American will consume close to half his or her calories from these sources. This results in diets low in much-needed fiber.
The consumption of processed foods high in saturated fats, sugar, and salt are the culprits behind the rise in obesity and chronic disease rates. In order to prevent chronic illness, it is recommended to adopt a lifestyle of exercise and healthy eating.
Processed foods are a major cause of cardiovascular disease. It is estimated 64 million Americans suffers from at least one cardiovascular issue. This chronic illness accounts for 38.5 percent of all the deaths in the United States.

Eliminating refined foods from your diet will dramatically decrease the likelihood of developing chronic diseases. Replacing processed food with whole, homemade meals is the first step to adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Food Additives

By making homemade you eliminate extra additives, preservatives, sugar, salt and fats that are added to processed foods to enhance texture, flavor or color appeal. Many of these additives can be dangerous to your health.

It is common to add fat to foods to enhance flavor and texture. However, be careful to what type of fat is shown on the nutrition label. Trans fat, commonly listed in the ingredients list as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, is dangerous to your health. It dramatically increases your chance for heart disease and increases bad, LDL cholesterol while decreasing good, HDL cholesterol levels.
Added sugar is found in many processed products including cereals, bread, crackers, and cookies. High sugar intake is linked to obesity, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
Unhealthy, processed foods are high in sodium. In fact, people consume up to three-fourths of their sodium by eating processed foods, such as canned soups and vegetables. Sodium plays a large role in increasing high blood pressure.

Common food additives also come in the form of chemicals and preservatives. Experience the flavor and texture of fresh foods rather than the additives used to make preserved foods look and taste fresh.

Food Coloring: Found in many processed products like gelatin and crackers. Artificial color is thought to cause increased hyperactivity in children, and Yellow No. 5 is considered to worsen asthma symptoms. Also, in the 70s the FDA banned Red Dye No. 2 after studies showed it could cause cancer in rats.
Sodium Benzoate: Used as a common food preservative. This additive is linked to an increased hyperactivity in children and when combined with vitamin C they create benzene, a carcinogen.
Sodium Nitrate: Used to cure meats, such as sausages or canned meats. Due to evidence, sodium nitrate has been thought to cause gastric cancer. In the early 1900s, people ate more cured meats because they had no form of modern refrigeration and gastric cancer levels were high during that time. However, after refrigeration people ate less cured meats and cancer levels dropped dramatically.

Making homemade helps to keep track of what kind of ingredients and how much of them you are adding to your foods. Being aware of and eliminate the extra junk from your food is a great benefit of eating homemade.

Processed foods are blamed for the high rates of chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart disease. In order to decrease your risk it is imperative to adopt a lifestyle of healthy, clean eating and exercise. Creating homemade foods at home gives you the power to eliminate the harmful additives commonly found in processed foods. Making homemade generates an environment for health and life to flourish.

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