A big thanks to Paige Taylor for this awesome article about the dangers of processed foods.
Addictions to Processed Foods
Parents hitting up the drive-thru for a quick meal, college students pigging out on vending machine nosh, and handing out goodies for various holidays are all popular examples of downfalls involving processed foods. While experts claim that every food is acceptable in moderation, what happens when individuals indulge on processed food more often than not? In fact, what happens when one's desire for processed foods becomes uncontrollable and leads to other negative life changes?
Danger of Processed Foods
Danger of Processed Foods
Fat, sugar, and preservatives all run rampant in processed foods. The idea of making food last longer is to pack it full of preservatives to increase the shelf life, which is why many pre-packaged foods including cookies, candy, and chips are bad for one's health. With the rise of information about high fructose corn syrup, coloring, and preservatives, manufacturers have become better at hiding unhealthy ingredients. Many now label foods as "natural," "organic," or "fat free." However, oftentimes manufacturers increase the amount of fat or sugar in these varieties in order to make up for the lack of taste. As one can see, it is easy to become addicted to processed foods without knowledge that there is an issue.
Interestingly enough, new studies have found that processed foods can be as addictive in nature as some drugs. This addiction stems from pleasure centers in the brain that become so dependent on the components of processed foods that the human body believes that they are essential to its well being. Biochemical reactions to processed food create a physiological need to fulfill internal urges. As a result, individuals begin to consume massive amounts of processed food in order to meet these demands.
While some may think that addictions to processed foods are not "real" addictions, they can be just as debilitating and unhealthy as sex, alcohol, or drug addictions. Upon consuming large amounts of processed food, the body begins to secrete additional hormones, like serotonin, which make individuals feel good after they consume these foods. As one can imagine, eating so much sugar, fat, and preservatives can lead to weight gain, obesity, and other chronic health conditions. The more junk food one eats the greater their risk of developing diabetes, heart conditions, obesity, asthma, and other health issues. Not to mention, the preservatives found in processed food are linked to cancer and other illnesses.
Despite attempts to eat a clean diet, purging one's body of processed food can be difficult to do. Not only is it necessary to eat on a daily basis, which makes it more difficult to battle, but "feel good" hormones tell the body that it needs this type of food. However, help is possible. Treatment centers that specialize in processed food addictions, such as the Summit and Realization Center, Inc. are available for individuals. Professionals at these facilities can help provide healthier food options, understand underlying issues for food addiction, and educate patients.