Food as Medicine

Processed foods linked to increase in obesity and cancer

Processed foods linked to increase in obesity and cancer

Thursday, September 15, 2011 by: Shona Botes

When processed food comes to mind, many people think they are safe because of the fact that they do not consume takeouts or eat at restaurants. The truth is that any food or food product found on grocery store shelves in bags or boxes is in fact processed, as it is not in its natural form. Many of the ingredients in processed foods such as artificial colourants, preservatives and nitrites have been linked to the skyrocketing amount of obesity and cancer among the population today.

Any food which has been canned, frozen, boxed or bagged is classified as processed food. Studies have shown that close to 90% of an average American’s food budget is spent on these frankenfood items. Ingredients found in these foods which should be avoided include colourants, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, stabilizers, texturizers and even bleach products.

A seven year study done by the University of Hawaii revealed that people who consume processed meat products had a 67% higher risk of falling prey to pancreatic cancer than those who ate few to no processed meat products. According to the World Health Organization, the amount of processed foods that are consumed these days are responsible for the increasing levels of obesity and even heart disease. One of the reasons for this is the high salt, sugar and fat content that is present in these foods.

Most processed foods also contain Trans fats, which are known to increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Another study found that the consumption of refined carbohydrates such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup and white flour was also linked to various forms of cancer. A study involving 1800 women in Mexico revealed that those who consumed a diet consisting of 57% refined carbohydrates were 220% more likely to suffer from breast cancer than those who ate a balanced and more natural diet. Because of the high quantities of high fructose corn syrup and sugar found in processed foods, they are also linked to increased cases of diabetes and even liver damage. Close to 75% of processed foods contain genetically modified products such as canola, soybean or corn products.

Consuming processed foods can alter your taste buds to the point that you get used to strong tastes and flavours. This results in you wanting to add salt or sugar to alter the taste of whole foods because you can’t seem to `taste` them properly. Another downright shocking fact is that most processed meat or food products contain animal body parts such as eyes, ears, snouts and oesophagi. If anything, this should be enough to put a person off of wanting to consume any processed food or meat products.

Sources:

http://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/processed-foods.html
http://bodyecology.com/articles/hidden_dangers_of_processed_foods.php
http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/10/19/all-the-health-risks-of-p…