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The easiest way to “eat healthy” – avoid fake foods
A walk down the aisle of a supermarket, offers a huge variety of options………..
- Low fat
- Gluten free
- Sugar free
- Enriched with 9 vitamins and minerals
What to choose ?
Maybe the easy answer………… NONE of them.
Okay, it is not a practical answer – we have to eat.
But it does highlight the dilemma of grocery shopping in the modern world. The foods we are choosing from, frequently have one thing in common, they are processed.
Not just a little, A LOT.
The technical term for this is ultra-processed.
Before food was an industry
It’s certainly not what our ancestors did.
They definitely processed food.
But, the extent of their processing was minimal. They washed, winnowed, hulled, peeled, ground, grated, squeezed, flaked, skinned, de-boned etc.
Then cooked it.
Usually at a fairly low heat for an extended period of time.
And if they were very progressive and sophisticated, they salted, pickled, smoked or fermented it.
Food processing is NOT evil
They had to…..
Food processing is indispensible.
It made food safe, keepable, digestible and palatable.
The food industry
We’re still doing this…………..
But the tools and techniques are a lot more sophisticated and pervasive.
We’ve got to the point, that what we eat, is derived from foods i.e. the foods we consume, contain little or no whole foods.
In a word…………… great grandma would have trouble recognizing it.
Beyond the ingredients, derived from foods, such as oils, fats, flours, starches and sugar, there are numerous other constituents. Preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, solvents, sweeteners, binders, sensory enhancers, colours, and flavours, processing aids and other additives.
Most of them are listed on the ingredients, if you care to scrutinize the label.
At last count, there are over 2500 chemicals added to food, the list is growing and so is the extent of their use.
Food additives and processing aids are not the only chemicals finding their way into dinner, in addition to the ones deliberately added, there are also things that accidentally arrive, during the production process.
These can be thought of as food pollution.
They include antibiotics, pesticides, microplastics, plasticizers and heavy metals.
The process of making food
The food / chemical soup is subject to processes, that include
high heat, hydrogenation, extrusion and moulding.
To finally be packaged and distributed……….
Ultra-processed foods are typically
- Calorie dense
- High in sugar, fat and salt
- Low in micronutrients (unless these have been deliberately added back)
- Low in fiber and other bioactive substances
It is the Western diet.
And little by little, it is making us fat and sick.
The problem is not the fat content
When it comes to eating healthy…….the debate often centres around
organic versus conventional, plant versus animal based and fats versus carbs.
Now in the case of the low carb / high carb debate, I don’t think this is irrelevant, particularly if you are metabolically challenged and your body, has lost the ability to process carbs, efficiently. For more info, download the Willpower Report .
It often detracts from the REAL issue.
We’re eating “fake” food.
The extra/missing ingredients
Have all been implicated in poor health.
Artificial sweeteners – are false advertising, setting you up for insulin spikes and hunger.
But nutritive sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup, can also be problematic. They sweeten things up, but puts a lot of stress on the liver, because fructose is metabolized differently to glucose.
The absence of fiber, starves the good bacteria, turning them into cannibals, that feast on you, compromising the gut defenses.
The absence of plant membranes, makes you eat more.
So do vegetable oils.
And then there are emulsifiers, these emulsify your mucus layer, allowing bacteria to venture beyond the gut border, contributing to low grade inflammation.
Add in dry heat, this creates advanced glycation end products or AGEs for short, these guys seem to be able to get up the immune system’s nose, raising inflammation levels.
Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…
The snowball effect
None on their own, are enough to sink the ship, but the continuous exposure, day in and day out, negatively impacts our body chemistry.
When diets go head to head
The diets that wins……….
is more often than not, the diet with less “processed” foods.
So if you want to create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY and BETTER HEALTH, avoid “fake” foods, as much as you can….
Just Eat REAL Food i.e. JERF !
Traditionally oats came as flakes, now days, they often come as flour – the benefit, they’re faster to prepare, but they’re also faster to assimilate and this, matters
You can be metabolically healthy and obese. You cannot be metabolically healthy with a specific profile of POPs. Are POPs the cause of obesity ?
Harvard researchers show red meat is “okay” provided you’re following the example of nature’s carnivores – i.e. eating meat in an unprocessed form.