The Six Thousand Hidden Dangers of Processed Foods (and What to Choose Instead)

Posted October 18, 2007. There have been 25 comments

This might be All American but if you knew what was really in it, you'd call Homeland Security!

A stroll down your grocery store's aisles can be a tempting experience. Rows and rows of delicious food all wrapped up in colorful packages, encouraging you to give it a try with catchy names and creative graphics.

Good food, delicious food that's appealing to the eye, and convenient to boot. Anything that yummy has to be nourishing, right?

Processed Foods Aren't Just What You Pick Up At A Drive Thru

The first image that comes to mind for most people when they hear the term "processed food" is a wrapped burger and a sleeve of fries served over a counter at a fast food joint.

But the truth is, the very food you have in your cabinets is processed.

What Exactly Is Processed Food Anyway?

  • If it's boxed, bagged, canned or jarred and has a list of ingredients on the label, it's processed. Methods used to process foods include:
  • Canning
  • Freezing
  • Refrigeration
  • Dehydration
  • Aseptic Processing

Processed foods have been altered from their natural state for "safety" and convenience reasons. And scary as it seems, about 90 percent of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy processed items.1

Food Is Good The Way It Is, Why Process It?

Processed foods are more convenient - that's what it comes down to. It's so much easier to bake a cake by opening up a box, pouring out a dry mix, and adding an egg and some oil than starting from scratch.

Having Jambalaya in five minutes after pouring hot water into a carton makes your prep time for lunch a breeze.

But convenience isn't the only thing you get when you eat processed foods. There's a whole list of ingredients that manufacturers add to2:

  • Color - It gives your orange soda that neon glow
  • Stabilize - So your gravy isn't watery
  • Emulsify - Who says oil and water can't mix?
  • Bleach - Let's disinfect and deodorize
  • Texturize - Nothing's worse than soggy cereal...
  • Soften - It's as if the ice cream was churned twice
  • Preserve - What if you want to eat the cupcake six months from now?
  • Sweeten - Sugar is sweet but saccharin and aspartame is sweeter
  • Hide Odors - Do you really want to smell the fish paste in your instant Pad Thai?
  • Flavor - Nothing like having the sweet taste of watermelon all year round

How kind of them!

If You Can't Pronounce It, Do You Want To Eat It?

The problem is, most processed foods have a laundry list of ingredients similar to that of a can of paint. It's not as simple as adding a little sugar to canned bisque or lemon juice to a scone mix.

Take a look at the list of ingredients from the strawberry flavoring of a milkshake served at a zip-through restaurant:

Amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamylvalerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl Nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerbate, heliotropin, hydroxphrenyl-2butanone(10% solution to alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbone, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl slicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobulyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, sore rum ether, g-undecalctone, vanillin, and solvent3

Looks delicious, doesn't it? And this is just a small sampling of the SIX THOUSAND chemicals used to process foods.4

That Wouldn't Go In My Body!

By now you might be thinking that you have nothing to worry about because you wouldn't dream of drinking a milkshake let alone anything else from a fast food restaurant.

But this goes far beyond fast food.

What's In Your Cabinet?

A study conducted at UCLA's Center on Everyday Lives of Families videotaped 32 families including their dinner routines for a three-year period. Although 70% of the dinners were home-cooked, most included moderate amounts of packaged food. 5

How many processed foods are you using each day?

Always The Last To Know

The FDA doesn't require food manufacturers to list additives as ingredients that they consider Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS). All the label has to say is "artificial flavor" or "artificial coloring" or (are you sitting down?) "natural".6

Yes, "NATURAL".

A Frozen Fish Stick Never Killed Anybody

Here are just a few reasons you might want to think twice before throwing a jar of Vienna Sausages in your shopping cart:

  • CANCER - Some synthetic chemicals used in the processed foods industry are known to have carcinogenic properties.
  • In fact, a seven-year study conducted by the University of Hawaii of almost 200,000 people found that those who ate the most processed meats (hot dogs, bologna) had a 67 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate little or no meat products.7
  • OBESITY - Heavily processed foods are usually higher in sugar, fat and salt, and lower in nutrients and fiber than the raw foods used to create them, making them the perfect choice if you're interested in unhealthy weight gain and water retention.8
  • According to the World Health Organization, processed foods are to blame for the spike in obesity levels and chronic disease around the world.9
  • HEART DISEASE - Many processed foods have trans fatty acids (TFA), the dangerous type of fat you don't want in your diet. TFA's give a rise to LDL, the dangerous cholesterol, and squash HDL, the good one.

Harvard recently conducted a study which found that women who avoided high-carb processed foods cut their heart disease risk by 30%.10

And If That's Not Enough To Make You Avoid Processed Foods, Try Swallowing This:

  • Your taste buds become used to the strong flavors of processed foods and make you want to add more salt or sugar to the natural flavors of whole foods.
  • Some processed foods are filled with indistinguishable parts and pieces, like snouts, ears and esophagi (yum!).
  • To make up for the loss of nutrients during processing, synthetic vitamins and minerals are added to "enhance" their nutritional content.
  • Spending more on processed foods just means spending less on locally grown foods, particularly organic.
  • Eating a diet high in processed foods can lead to diabetes, and liver overload.

OK, You're Convinced, But What Are Some Options?

You wouldn't be the first person to think eating a natural, wholesome diet with nutrient-dense foods means eating foods that could easily be mistaken for Styrofoam. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Eating food in its natural state (food without ingredients!) is a great reminder for your palate of the clean, crisp tastes of nature. Try just one recipe from the Body Ecology Diet for example, and you'll know that to be true.

Take a look a the list of ingredients of a bowl of homemade carrot ginger soup found in the Body Ecology book versus canned carrot ginger soup - even if it's from your natural grocer - and you'll immediately know which is the better choice.

And The Benefits Are Endless...

The Body Ecology Diet is ideal for anyone interested in moving away from processed foods, toward a diet focused around eating only fresh, wholesome foods as nature created them.

This isn't your brown rice and tofu diet. This is a lifestyle rich in probiotic foods such as cultured vegetables and young coconut kefir to keep your gut flourishing with healthy bacteria and your immune system strong and protective.

At Body Ecology we don't think that a long list of ingredients is a necessarily a bad thing, as long as each ingredient's purpose is to nourish your body. Read the label of our VITALITY SuperGreen and you'll find it's an excellent source of:

  • Complete, easily assimilated protein
  • Enzymes
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Lignans
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • Nucleic Acids
  • Beneficial Microflora

Not a chemical in the bunch!

Nourish yourself with VITALITY SuperGreen - a powerful whole foods and herbs combo with a list of ingredients that both you and your body will understand! . Learn More About Body Ecology's Vitality and Order Now!

Our Dong Quai fermented liquid beverage is another great example of delicious food brimming with nutrients and healthy bacteria and a list of ingredients that doesn't include the artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners you'd find in another bubbly drink.

Will I Spend My Life Cooking In The Kitchen?

Preparing all of your own food is ideal but we can definitely help out with some of the work! Healthful products are absolutely available such as the hearty wholegrain, gluten-free breads and the miracle no cal, no carb, fiber rich,gluten-free Konjaku Noodle For more information on other great ideas for delicious, wholesome foods, visithttp://shop.bodyecology.com/ and get the extra fat, salt and sugar out of your diet today!

Sources:

  1. All the Health Risks of Processed Foods – In Just a Few Quick, Convenient Bites, SixWise.com, http://www.sixwise.com/newsletter/05/10//19/all_the_health_risks_of_processed_foods_-- …
  2. You Are What You Eat, Paul Chek, http://www.chekinstitute.com/articles.cfm?select=42
  3. Schiosser E. :Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, New
    York, NY: Houghton Mifflin, 2001
  4. The Dangers of Preservatives and Additives, Freedom You, http://www.freedomyou.com/nutrition_book/enriched_fortified_synthetic_food.htm
  5. Convenience Foods Save Little Time, Lack Nutrients, Judith Groch, Senior Writer, MedPage Today, http:www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/dh/6368
  6. Convenience Foods Save Little Time, Lack Nutrients, Judith Groch, Senior Writer, MedPage Today, http:www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/dh/6368
  7. All the Health Risks of Processed Foods – In Just a Few Quick, Convenient Bites, SixWise.com, http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/10/19/all_the_health_risks_of processed_foods_--…
  8. Convenience Foods Save Little Time, Lack Nutrients, Judith Groch, Senior Writer, MedPage Today, http:www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/dh/6368
  9. Processed Foods to Blame for Obeisty and Chronic Disease, healingsearch.com, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2814253.stm
  10. NewsTarget.com, Women and Processed Foods, http:www.newstarget.com/021039.html

Post Categories: Fermented Foods Probiotics

25 Comments

  • All people with non believer attitude is closed minded and ignorant to the facts. It makes a lot of sense how the processed food it's an industry controlled by the FDA just the same case with pharmaceutical industry. I suggest you educate more on this matter and open your eyes, true that the common citizen do not have access to natural or organic choices at comfortable cost, but the advise is here to help you be healthier. Everything man made is unhealthy, but you can still make small healthier choices, like water no soda, exercise, take the sun light, avoid liquor, no smoke, etc, etc. But you can always choose to ignore all this.

    Posted on Nov 23 at 8:20 pm

  • You are stretching the truth! Everything that you labeled as processed foods is NOT necessarily processed. Especially Frozen and refrigerated foods! Those are the absolute least necessary items to process. There's not a lot of need for it, and while most frozen and refrigerated foods are processed, there are plenty of Natural USDA certified Organic and certified GMO free foods that ARE frozen or refrigerated. Are you going to tell me that those are processed? Walk down an organic ilse, or better yet, go to a local organic market, and you'll see everything you listed as "definitely processed" yet they could not be organic if they ARE processed... -.-

    Posted on Aug 14 at 8:13 am

  • Y'all all crazy, eat what u want, your life, aspire to inspire before u expire!!

    Posted on Jul 3 at 8:21 pm

  • haha love the title! Was wondering if this was going to be a huuuge list! Very clever! I wish we could somehow put a huge tax on fast food...processed foods at its worst

    Posted on Apr 11 at 9:32 pm

  • I have nothing to say to that robert. That is just really dumb to say, considering that this has so many actual sources.

    Posted on Feb 3 at 5:17 pm

  • thx what i needed for my home econ test

    Posted on Oct 2 at 10:19 pm

  • The good thing about food with artificial preservatives in it , is that it will preserve you. The essence of this statement was delivered to me by my manager who encouraged me to eat processed food. Yeah, Emulsifiers can really help one loose weight. Basicly, I do not agree.

    Posted on Sep 30 at 4:34 pm

  • enjoy local grown food while you can in some states people are having their live stock and home grown produce confiscated by law enforcement for what ever reason they can think of look it up online. Your garden might just become illegal one day, but I hope not. Food is fixing to get really expensive. I have watch many documentaries here lately about food, water, energy, and politics and things are not going to get any better soon buy and store as much food as you can start a small garden and try to keep a store of water to.

    Posted on Aug 27 at 8:17 pm

  • Some of what you say is good, but how can you tell people to use a powder that claims to contain enzymes? It is common knowledge that enzymes are only found in live foods!
    A plant based live food diet is the only way to maintain proper health, and that includes juicing!
    Contact me if you want more information.

    Posted on Aug 27 at 6:35 pm

  • nice marketing tool...scare people to buy a (get ready for this) a magical pill that will take care of all your problems. i suppose the people who buy this believe in ufo's, ghosts, and fairy dust. what a scam

    Posted on Aug 27 at 10:28 am

  • I wish this was a little more specific and had a bit more information. Pretty much everything in here is common knowledge.

    Posted on Aug 26 at 11:38 pm

  • thanks this article really helped

    Posted on Jul 17 at 4:15 pm

  • Great article and very informative, keep flying the flag!

    Posted on Jun 12 at 6:52 am

  • Ok, now that you've said all of that - i have a few questions

    1) i prob will try to reduce the amount of processed food i eat but really what would u suggest to us who dont have the time or money to buy fresh foods from a supermarket and cook all day long? we all arent rich enough to buy the freshest ingrediends so what? should we stop going to work and become like farmer brown? regardless, the "fresh foods" you purchase have chemicals too - lots of farmers lace their produce pesticides and feed livestock chemically enhanced foods and hormones in order to meet standard - so really, what are u suggesting we do?

    2) are u saying that we should completely cut out meat and sugars because it can lead to cancer and diabetes respectively?what it sounds like ur trying to do is strike fear about food we eat but guess what? I WILL NOT BE AFFRAID TO EAT WHATEVER I WANT TO EAT!! doing something like that builds up cravings - which leads to binging.. its all about eating in moderate proportion!! im not going to wear off potato chips 100% cuz its bad because guess what? ITS ONLY GUNNA MAKE ME WANT IT MORE!!

    Posted on Jun 6 at 10:53 am

  • The irony is just too much, Right after talking about the dangers of processed foods, added synthetic vitamins and lack of whole foods this article tells you to buy SuperGreen. (a synthetic processed powder). Absolute joke!

    Posted on May 28 at 6:41 pm

  • These articles piss me off solely because they seem to be unaware of THE HIGH COST OF ORGANIC fresh foods. Hell even processed foods are climbing in price.

    Not everyone can afford locally grown, all organic food. Just look at that whole pink slime thing. How many people lost their jobs? Now, the price of meat will go up.

    Sorry, not all of us can have big gardens and a farm with cows and pigs. lmao

    Posted on May 20 at 1:42 am

  • I like hunting!

    Posted on Apr 10 at 6:56 am

  • Its fantastical!

    Posted on Apr 10 at 6:54 am

  • Its supercalifraglistic

    Posted on Apr 10 at 6:44 am

  • Its really good!

    Posted on Apr 10 at 6:41 am

  • Our bodies are DESIGNED to process FOOD, not [man-made] chemicals. Those chemicals create imbalance and havoc in our body as it tries to figure out what to do with the poison. To much poison equals sickness, trauma to the digestive system, and eventually an early death.

    Posted on Feb 1 at 8:13 am

  • This article inspired my article here: http://bulletpointhealth.weebly.com/1/post/2011/12/process-this-why-over-processed-foods-are-no-good-and-why-you-should-jerf.html
    Thanks!

    Posted on Dec 25 at 6:04 pm

  • This was very informative and eye-opening.
    I have been contemplating going organic a while ago, and this makes me feel stronger in my decision. Thank you!

    Posted on Dec 22 at 9:12 am

  • wow...

    Posted on Nov 4 at 8:30 am

  • this is on of my favorite websites for my research paper on processed foods!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Oct 3 at 3:54 pm

Comments