Please remember – processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state.
Have you ever wondered why a pre-packaged food stays fresh for months, when the same food made from scratch grows moldy in just days? It’s because food manufacturers use man-made ingredients that prolong a product’s shelf life. For instance, trans fats are oils infused with hydrogen. They raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Dr. Michael Aziz agrees and so do I. In his book, The Perfect 10 Diet, he writes “Trans fats are really like plastic and when we eat them they incorporate in our cells and the cells cannot communicate or talk to one another. In turn, hormones are disturbed, weight gain follows but more troubling, the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and infertility goes way up.” Trans fats are commonly found in commercially fried food and packaged foods, especially baked goods. But you won’t see the phrase, “trans fat” in the list of ingredients. Instead, look for the word, “hydrogenated.”
Please also be aware of labels that claim no trans fats. They’re often still in there, because the FDA allows food with up to a half-gram of trans fat per serving to be labeled “trans fat free.” The problem is, those servings can be small so we eat many servings, and those half-grams add-up.
When Cooking, Go Back to the Basics, and EAT WHOLE FOODS.
Vending machines are often loaded with processed foods. In addition to trans fats, they often contain too much salt, which can cause heart problems and creates a craving for even more salt.
Another addictive ingredient you’ll find in processed foods is high fructose corn syrup, which is linked to obesity and diabetes. Former FDA toxicologist Dr. Dana Flavin says that while sugar is burned and turned into energy, high fructose corn syrup turns into fat, causing what’s known as “fatty liver.” High fructose corn syrup is the main ingredient in soft drinks, but is also hidden in foods like bread and pasta sauce.
Dr. Steven Sinatra, author of Metabolic Cardiology, says that high fructose corn syrup and its chemical cousins, are directly linked to high blood pressure and heart disease, which unfortunately, most doctors treat with medication instead of going to the source. I promise you that adequate exercise, the restriction of simple carbohydrates, sugars and high fructose corn syrup is key to losing weight and being healthy.
In addition, you will want to avoid MSG like the plague! MSG is labeled as hydrolyzed protein, yeast extract, soy protein isolate, spices, natural flavorings, citric acid or anything with the word, “hydrolyzed” or “autolyzed.” These additives can create uclers, migraines and fatigue.
Processed foods not only create health risks, they also make us look old. Although identifying processed foods and removing them from our diet isn’t easy, it may be less troubling than dealing with the health problems they can create. If you want clear, vibrant skin, eat whole foods and consume an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.