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9 Reasons To Stop Eating Processed Foods

“There’s a lot of processed food in North America,
and I know that can make some tourists
who are used to fresh food feel sick.”
– Wolfgang Puck

Wolfgang Puck is a famous chef and restaurateur that was born in Austria. As a foreign-born food expert, Puck is knowledgeable in regards to the prolific presence of processed food that is unique to the United States and other countries. He is one among many experts that testify to the harmful nature of food that undergoes processing.

As a reference, processed food is defined as “any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it’s available for us to eat.” This rather ambiguous definition doesn’t identify what makes some (not all) processed foods harmful. Mechanical processing – the physical actions required to grow, harvest and produce foods – doesn’t alter the nature of food and isn’t harmful.

Chemical processing – altering the chemical makeup of foods through additives and other artificial substances – can indeed be harmful to one’s health. Artificial substances include sweeteners, preservatives and other elements. The inherent risk of such substances is a public safety concern in many countries, and for legitimate reasons.

HERE ARE NINE REASONS TO STOP EATING PROCESSED FOODS IMMEDIATELY:

1. PROCESSED FOODS CONTAIN DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNTS OF SUGAR OR CORN SYRUP
Foods that contain sugar essentially contain empty calories. In other words, these calories provide no nutritional value. Studies have shown that these empty calories can have a harmful effect on the metabolism and cardiovascular system. The diabetes epidemic also strongly correlates with sugar consumption. Corn syrup, particularly of the high fructose variety, has been found to increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, dementia and liver failure.

2. PROCESSED FOODS CONTAIN TOO MANY ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS
Many ingredients listed on the labels of processed foods cannot be properly read. This is because these ingredients are chemicals, and most chemicals have unpronounceable names. Many additives and preservatives contribute to potentially harmful physical effects, from common fatigue to heart disease.

junk food

3. PROCESSED FOODS ARE HIGH IN REFINED CARBOHYDRATES
Refined carbohydrates are sugars and starches that have been modified (refined). The problem is that this refinement process empties the food of its nutritional value, including its fiber content.  Of course, many sugars and starches contribute to a number of adverse health conditions.

4. PROCESSED FOODS ARE USUALLY LACKING IN NUTRIENTS
The processing of food often empties the food of its nutritional value. Even though many of these foods are infused with synthetic (read: artificial) nutrients, the quality of nutrition derived from such is far superior compared to whole, unprocessed foods.

5. PROCESSED FOODS ARE LOW IN FIBER CONTENT
Fiber has many different roles to play in the development and maintenance of a healthy body. Primarily known to aid digestion, fiber also helps to: produce healthy bacteria, slow the absorption of carbohydrates, and create feelings of satiety.

6. PROCESSED FOODS HARM METABOLIC FUNCTION
Because of the chemical makeup of processed foods – absence of fiber, nutrition, satiety and sustenance – our digestive system and metabolism operate poorly. The cumulate effects result in more food consumed and less food energy expended. In other words, we eat more stuff and burn less fat and calories as a result of eating processed foods.

7. PROCESSED FOODS CONTAIN PESTICIDES
To grow and harvest GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms), farmers must use pesticides and herbicides to preserve the area where they are grown. Often, these pesticides and herbicides will penetrate both the soil and the crop itself. Needless to say, chemicals designed to eradicate insects and vegetation are not well-received by the human body. These chemicals have been linked to an assortment of functional and developmental problems, including cancer.

8. PROCESSED FOODS CAUSE INFLAMMATION
Various studies have shown that artificial ingredients such as processed flours, vegetable oils and refined sugars can cause or worsen cases of inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to a variety of maladies including dementia, respiratory problems and neurological disorders.

9. PROCESSED FOOD IS OFTEN HIGH IN TRANS-FAT OR VEGETABLE OIL
Hydrogenated oils such as vegetable oil often contain an excessive amount of Omega-6 fatty acids, which has been linked to inflammation and oxidation issues. Studies have demonstrated that these substances carry and increased risk of heart disease.

source: www.powerofpositivity.com    JULY 26, 2016
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A Seismic Shift in How People Eat

By HANS TAPARIA and PAMELA KOCH      NOV. 6, 2015

IT’S easy to make fun of people in big cities for their obsession with gluten, or chia seeds, or cleanses.

But urbanites are not the only ones turning away from the products created by big food companies. Eating habits are changing across the country and food companies are struggling to keep up.

General Mills will drop all artificial colors and flavors from its cereals. Perdue, Tyson and Foster Farm have begun to limit the use of antibiotics in their chicken. Kraft declared it was dropping artificial dyes from its macaroni and cheese. Hershey’s will begin to move away from ingredients such as the emulsifier polyglycerol polyricinoleate to “simple and easy-to-understand ingredients” like “fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar.”

Those announcements reflect a new reality: Consumers are walking away from America’s most iconic food brands. Big food manufacturers are reacting by cleaning up their ingredient labels, acquiring healthier brands and coming out with a prodigious array of new products. Last year, General Mills purchased the organic pasta maker Annie’s Homegrown for $820 million — a price that was over four times the company’s revenues, likening it to valuations more often seen in Silicon Valley. The company also introduced more than 200 new products, ranging from Cheerios Protein to Betty Crocker gluten-free cookie mix, to capitalize on the latest consumer fads.

Food companies are moving in the right direction, but it won’t be enough to save them. If they are to survive changes in eating habits, they need a fundamental shift in their approach.

The food movement over the past couple of decades has substantially altered consumer behavior and reshaped the competitive landscape. Chains like Sweetgreen, a salad purveyor, are grabbing market share from traditional fast food companies. Brands such as Amy’s Kitchen, with its organic products, and Kind bars are taking some of the space on shelves once consumed by Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine and Mars.

For the large established food companies, this is having disastrous consequences. Per capita soda sales are down 25 percent since 1998, mostly replaced by water. Orange juice, a drink once seen as an important part of a healthy breakfast, has seen per capita consumption drop 45 percent in the same period. It is now more correctly considered a serious carrier of free sugar, stripped of its natural fibers. Sales of packaged cereals, also heavily sugar-laden, are down over 25 percent since 2000, with yogurt and granola taking their place. Frozen dinner sales are down nearly 12 percent from 2007 to 2013. Sales per outlet at McDonald’s have been on a downward spiral for nearly three years, with no end in sight.

Family meal

To survive, the food industry will need more than its current bag of tricks. There is a consumer shift at play that calls into question the reason packaged foods exist. There was a time when consumers used to walk through every aisle of the grocery store, but today much of their time is being spent in the perimeter of the store with its vast collection of fresh products — raw produce, meats, bakery items and fresh prepared foods. Sales of fresh prepared foods have grown nearly 30 percent since 2009, while sales of center-of-store packaged goods have started to fall. Sales of raw fruits and vegetables are also growing — among children and young adults, per capita consumption of vegetables is up 10 percent over the past five years.

The outlook for the center of the store is so glum that industry insiders have begun to refer to that space as the morgue. For consumers today, packaged goods conjure up the image of foods stripped of their nutrition and loaded with sugar. Also, decades of deceptive marketing, corporate-sponsored research and government lobbying have left large food companies with brands that are fast becoming liabilities. According to one recent survey, 42 percent of millennial consumers, ages 20 to 37, don’t trust large food companies, compared with 18 percent of non-millennial consumers who feel that way.

Food companies can’t merely tinker. Nor will acquisition-driven strategies prove sufficient, because most acquisitions are too small to shift fortunes quickly. Acquired brands such as Annie’s Homegrown, Happy Baby and Honest Tea account for 1 percent or less of their buyers’ revenues. Moreover, these brands, along with their missions and culture, tend to get quickly lost in the sales and marketing machine of big food companies. It is easy for them to get orphaned.

For legacy food companies to have any hope of survival, they will have to make bold changes in their core product offerings. Companies will have to drastically cut sugar; process less; go local and organic; use more fruits, vegetables and other whole foods; and develop fresh offerings. General Mills needs to do more than just drop the artificial ingredients from Trix. It needs to drop the sugar substantially, move to 100 percent whole grains, and increase ingredient diversity by expanding to other grains besides corn.

Instead of throwing good money after bad for its lagging frozen products, Nestlé, which is investing in a new $50 million frozen research and development facility, should introduce a range of healthy, fresh prepared meals for deli counters across the country.

McDonalds needs to do more than use antibiotic-free chicken. The back of the house for its 36,000 restaurants currently looks like a mini-factory serving fried frozen patties and french fries. It needs to look more like a kitchen serving freshly prepared meals with locally sourced vegetables and grains — and it still needs to taste great and be affordable.

These changes would require a complete overhaul of their supply chains, major organizational restructuring and billions of dollars of investment, but these corporations have the resources. It may be their last chance.

Hans Taparia, an assistant professor at the New York University Stern School of Business, co-founded and partially owns an organic food business. Pamela Koch is executive director of the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education, and Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 8, 2015, on page SR4 of the New York edition with the headline: Real Food Challenges the Food Industry.


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Food Additives Can Make Children Behave Badly

Irritability, temper outbursts, oppositional defiance, restlessness and difficulty falling asleep are the main behavioral effects of food additives. But parents rarely realize that food chemicals can be associated with many other effects including arguing with siblings, making silly noises, speech delay, anxiety, depression or difficulty concentrating. Additive-free children are generally calmer, happier and more cooperative.

Additives used in hundreds of children’s foods and drinks can cause temper tantrums and disruptive behaviour, researchers have found.Researchers found that children as young as three were more likely to lack concentration, lose their temper, interrupt others and struggle to get to sleep when they drank fruit juice dosed with colorings and preservatives. Food additives like these need to be removed from all foods, but especially the everyday foods and drinks which appeal to, and are marketed to, children. Even youngsters with no history of hyperactivity can be affected.
Contrary to what many parents think, additives – more importantly than just sugar – are to blame for behavior problems. Reactions are related to dose, so the more additives children eat, the more likely they are to be affected. Related links: Do You Need to Eat More Fat? Here’s Your Sign!

Which Additives Do We Need To Look Out For?

Food AdditivesLearn more about Food Dyes in the report published by CSPI: Rainbow of Risks which discusses risks of cancer, genetic damage, and allergic reactions due to dyes.

Use IATP’s Brain Food Selector to find the dyes in your child’s (and your) favorite foods.

See IATP’s Smart Guide to Food Dyes for more information on health concerns for children from food dyes.

Here are some of the food additives that you should be concerned with:

Artificial Colors

(in sweets, drinks, takeaways, cereals and many processed foods)

102 tartrazine, 104 quinoline yellow, 107 yellow 2G, 110 sunset yellow, 122 azorubine, 123 amaranth, 124 ponceau red, 127 erythrosine, 128 red 2G, 129 allura red, 132 indigotine, 133 brilliant blue, 142 green S, 151 brilliant black, 155 chocolate brown Natural colour, 160b annatto (in yogurts, icecreams, popcorn etc, 160a is a safe alternative)
Learn more:

kidcandy

Living in Color: The Potential Dangers of Artificial Dyes

Preservatives

200-203 sorbates (in margarine, dips, cakes, fruit products)
210-213 benzoates (in juices, soft drinks, cordials, syrups, medications)
220-228 sulphites (in dried fruit, fruit drinks, sausages, and many others)
280-283 propionates (in bread, crumpets, bakery products)
249-252 nitrates, nitrites (in processed meats like ham)
Synthetic antioxidants – in margarines, vegetable oils, fried foods, snacks, biscuits etc
310-312 Gallates
319-320 TBHQ, BHA, BHT (306-309 are safe alternatives)
Flavor enhancers – in flavored crackers, snacks, takeaways, instant noodles, soups 621 MSG 627, 631, 635 disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, ribonucleotides

Some food additives are worse than others. Here’s a list of the top food additives to avoid:

Top 10 Food Additives To Avoid

But What Can I Eat Now?

Looking For Additive-Free Foods, Check Out These Resources:

Eat Wild

Eatwild is an extensive directory of more than 1,400 pasture-based farms & ranches in the U.S. and Canada, and it has some International resources too. It is one of the most comprehensive sources for grass-fed meat and dairy products in the United States and Canada. Products include: Beef,Pork, Lamb, Veal, Goat, Elk, Venison, Yak, Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, Turkeys, Eggs, Milk, Cheeses, Wild-Caught Salmon and more!

Eat Local Grown

The eatlocalgrown project was created to help you Find, Rate and Share Locally Grown Food! There are categories for Farms, Farmers Markets, Grocery Stores/Co-ops, Restaurants, Artisans and more.

Local Harvest

There are almost two million farms in the USA. About 80% of those are small farms, and a large percentage are family owned. More and more of these farmers are now selling their products directly to the public. They do this via CSA programs, Farmers’ Markets, Food Coops, u-picks, farm stands, and other direct marketing channels. Locate and support your local farmer by using the map at Local Harvest.


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5 Foods To Boost Your Mood

BY CAT ELLIOTT    FEBRUARY 20, 2015 

I struggled with depression for a large majority of my life. In the past I used food as a means of coping with my feelings — and when I say “food” I mean processed sugary comfort type food.

During my emotional binges I felt good (while armed with deep fried chicken in one hand and a burger in the other) but immediately after I felt sicker, sadder, more miserable and in need of my next hit. So I continued to eat poorly and abuse my body for a few years in the hopes to feel better. After inevitably gaining over 100 pounds, I realized I had to cut the crap.

I made changes to my diet and began to notice that certain foods improved my mental clarity, boosted my mood, gave me more energy and removed my junk food cravings. Eventually these simple changes in what I ate allowed me to sort out both my physical and mental blockages. The top five foods I found, and what research has also shown, to be effective are outlined below.

1. Cacao

There’s good reason why we often turn to chocolate when we are feeling down. But next time you find yourself in this state, reach for real chocolate in its natural state without the nasty hormone disruptive additives and chemicals: cacao.

Cacao is one of the highest food sources of antioxidants and magnesium, and it also contains iron, fiber, chromium and manganese. It has been shown to help with cardiovascular health, boost energy levels, promote longevity, increase libido and improve your mood. Add cacao powder or nibs to smoothies, baking, or keep some raw chocolate bars ready to go!

walnuts

2. Healthy Fats

In particular those foods loaded with omega-3s, such as wild salmon, sardines and walnuts have been proven effective to help improve depressive symptoms. Omega-3 content helps maintain healthy chemical levels in the brain. You could even look to incorporate wild fish oil as part of your daily diet.

3. Chili

Chili is not just a tasty addition to a dish, it’s actually been shown to increase the release of endorphins in the brain which boost symptoms of pleasure.

4. B Vitamins

By increasing the amount of B vitamins in your diet, you may begin to notice positive changes in your mood. Some excellent food sources that are rich in B vitamins are nutritional yeast, darky leafy greens, seafood, bananas, chicken, eggs, almonds, and avocados.

5. Real Food

The most dramatic change you can make to help ease your depressive symptoms and to lead a healthier life is by switching over to a diet of real food. By doing this you are removing processed junk, artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners from your diet.

It may seem dramatic to say, but changing what I ate changed my life and quite possibly saved it. No bull. By making simple changes in my diet, I was able and willing to make bigger changes in my life, and in return, regain control of my life. I was able to admit my need for help, to nourish rather than to sicken myself, to get energy and motivation to exercise and get outdoors and become healthier and happier than I ever imagined. Just by starting with a few simple changes.


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Goodbye to artificial colors?

By Marion Nestle    Wed March 4, 2015

Marion Nestle is a sociology professor and Paulette Goddard professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She blogs at foodpolitics.com. You can follow her @marionnestle. She is not related to Henri Nestle, who founded the food company of the same name. The views expressed are her own.

(CNN)When food giant Nestle USA (to which I am, alas, not related) last month announced plans to remove all artificial flavors and colors from its chocolate candies, it understandably made headlines. According to the company, by the end of 2015, none of a group of 250 chocolate products including Butterfinger and Baby Ruth will contain artificial flavors or colors such as Red #40 or Yellow #5.

With the expectation that these chemicals will also disappear from the company’s other candies, it looks like the end of the use of artificial flavors and colors in anything but the cheapest food products. If that proves to be the case, it will be a welcome shift.

Nestle USA intends to advertise the reformulated products with a “No artificial flavors or colors” claim on package labels. If sales of the “no artificial” candies grow as expected, the company will surely extend the removal to all of its other colored and flavored food products. After all, Nestle’s international parent company — and the company’s competitors — will have to take notice and find ways to remove these chemicals from all their product lines.

Nestle USA has undeniable clout. It accounts for a quarter of the $100 billion in annual revenues of the more than century-old, privately held parent corporation, which itself is the largest food company in the world. This move surely will not only reverberate through the candy industry, but also affect every other major food company.

In substituting natural for artificial flavors and colors, Nestle USA is responding to what its customers are saying. The company’s own research indicates that Americans prefer their beloved candy brands to be free of artificial flavors and colors, while other surveys find majorities of respondents saying that artificial chemical additives negatively influence their buying decisions.

Nestle is also responding to decades of complaints from consumer advocates about the potential health risks of these chemicals, especially the dyes. Studies in experimental animals have linked high doses of food dyes to health problems, among them organ damage, cancer, birth defects, and allergic reactions. In humans, studies link food dyes to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in young children.

red-dye-40

The credibility of these studies and their implications for human health remain hotly debated. In the 1970s, for example, Ben Feingold, a physician in California, suggested that food additives caused children to become hyperactive. Much of the evidence for the “Feingold hypothesis” rested on anecdotal reports by parents, whereas double-blind, controlled clinical trials produced contradictory results.

On the basis of current evidence, some artificial food dyes have been banned, while others remain in use despite suggestions that they too might be harmful. But the makers and users of food dyes argue that the chemicals are safe at current levels of usage. As a result of all this, and in the absence of convincing evidence of their safety, the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest has campaigned since the 1970s to remove food dyes and other chemicals from foods, and has continued to petition the Food and Drug Administration to ban them.

The opposing views complicate the regulatory status of food dyes. But after one clinical trial reported that dyes induce hyperactivity in half the children studied, the British government asked companies to stop using most food colors; the European Union requires a warning notice on many foods made with them.

In the United States, the FDA does not permit artificial food dyes to be used unless the manufacturers can meet safety requirements. But the amounts of these substances in the country’s food supply have greatly increased in recent years — soft drinks, breakfast cereals, frozen desserts and even salad dressings all contain artificial coloring agents. True, the FDA considers a dye to be safe if there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from its intended use. But that standard is vague enough to cause concern.

Given the unresolved scientific questions, it is reasonable to ask why artificial colors have to be in foods at all. From the standpoint of manufacturers, such additives are essential for covering up and hiding unattractive colors in processed foods. To the public, red candy seems to taste better than the drab variety. And while natural colors exist, they are less stable or more expensive to produce. But for Nestle to have taken the action that it has, the company must have found substitutes it can live with. And appealing to consumers’ preference for “natural” makes good business sense.

The truth is that whether artificial colors do or do not cause health problems in adults or children, they are there strictly for cosmetic purposes. For that reason alone, getting rid of them is a good idea.

source: www.cnn.com