Real Food Tips: 10 Reasons to Cut Out Processed Food

We originally cut out processed food because we thought it was the right thing to do. What we didn’t expect were all the surprising improvements to our health that followed. It’s hard not to let those positive changes confirm that it was in fact a very good decision to cut out the junk. In case you or someone you know still needs some convincing check out these 10 reasons below for some “food for thought”….

  1. Processed foods are an illusion, often appearing to be healthy (with claims like low fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3s, etc.) when these foods are in fact the very thing making a lot of Americans unhealthy, sick, and fat.
  2. Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food” according to Michael Pollan.
  3. Making smarter (and sometimes more expensive) food choices now may reduce your healthcare costs later in life.
  4. Why would one want to eat a processed food-like substance that is scientifically designed to never rot?
  5. The food industry has proven that it is not very good at seasoning our foods by adding way too much salt, sugar, and/or oil to almost everything.
  6. When you eat white bread and other foods made with white flour (which is a highly processed version of wheat) you are basically consuming empty calories with far less nutrition than the whole-wheat or whole grain alternatives.
  7. It is estimated that up to 90% of processed foods* in the supermarket contain either a corn or soy ingredient in the form of an additive under a variety of different names. Now how is that for eating variety?
  8. Cutting out highly processed food could lead you to experience a variety of personal health benefits such as having more energy, losing weight, improving cholesterol levels, helping with regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
  9. Rather than counting calories, watching fat grams, or reducing carbs for “healthy eating,” simply eat whole foods that, as Michael Pollan puts it, are more the product of nature than “the product of industry.” It certainly is less complicated.
  10. It just makes plain old sense to fully understand what you are eating, be able to pronounce everything on the list of ingredients (if there is a list), and know exactly where that food comes from…don’t you think?

*Statistic courtesy of a food scientist interviewed on the documentary “Food, Inc”

 

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Comments

  1. |

    In the 6 months that I’ve cut out processed foods, I’ve lost 31 pounds, severe carpal tunnel that caused me to have to wear wrist braces every night for 4 years is gone!!! chronic acid reflux=gone!!! feeling puffy and having inflammed tissues in my arms and face=gone!!! brain fog=gone!! terribly unbearable food cravings=gone!!! blood sugar dips and spikes=gone!!!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

      Congratulations Gabby! That is awesome. ~ Amy

  2. christina eaton |

    Although I agree totally that whole foods are the way to go, I find too often comments such as Mary’s above that we are the only industrialized society that still drinks cow’s milk. This is so far from the truth. The European Union is the largest milk producer and has about 23 million dairy cows. This compares with 10 million in North America and over 6 million in Australia and New Zealand. Milk production is also on the increase in South-East Asia, including countries not traditionally noted for their milk consumption, such as China, which now has over 12 million cows producing milk. So although eating whole is the right way to go, don’t confuse it with not eating dairy products or consuming milk. Cow’s milk has been around for thousands of years and is part of a healthy well rounded diet. Great blog by the way!

  3. Amber P. |

    I am starting the p90x challenge and I have been following your blog and fb page. I am writing to ask if you have seen or know of whole foods helping people lose weight or not. The diet I am starting says not to cook with oils as well as use fat free foods and drink protien shakes should i stay away from them or are there other organic/ whole fold options available.

    • |

      Amber – We get lots of comments from people who have lost weight after moving to real food, and I lost about 10 pounds not really trying. See this post for more info on health benefits http://100daysofrealfood.flywheelsites.com/2010/07/14/day-47-health-benefits/. In general we recommend consuming healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil, lard, butter, ghee) and avoiding products advertised as “fat-free” (because they usually are highly processed and contain added sugar, etc.). We do not advocate protein shakes.

      By the way, Lisa and I did P90x for about 6 weeks (but did not follow their diet recommendations, i.e. we didn’t even look at them) and think the exercise portion of the program is great. Working out for 1-1.5 hours a day, 6 days a week was not realistic for us long term, hence the 6 weeks only. I was interested in it to improve my strength and endurance for some races and climbing events I had planned. I felt faster, stronger, and less prone to injury after those 6 weeks. But then again the same could probably be said for any consistent application of a quality routine.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

      Hi Amber. We really don’t address the details of any diet program. As you read in this post, we believe that by “cutting out processed foods you can experience a variety of personal health benefits such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall”. This post addresses the protein shake issue: http://100daysofrealfood.flywheelsites.com/2012/12/13/food-babe-investigates-protein-shakes/ and this one explains the essentials of having healthy fats in your diet: http://100daysofrealfood.flywheelsites.com/2011/05/14/mini-pledge-week-10-no-refined-oils/. Hope that answered your questions. ~Amy

  4. GoOnt |

    It would be nice if health food advocates learned to stop using the sizeist rhetoric about processed foods making you fat. While it may be technically true, there is no inherent relationship between body fat ratio and health.

  5. Stephanie |

    I struggle every trip to the grocery store trying to find healthy foods. I really do like the 5 ingredients or less rule, it definitely simplifies things. But when it comes to the unknown/unpronouncable ingredients I tend to feel defeated. If Im looking at cereals, crackers or snack bars of sorts trying to find stuff for my son, (in the organic section) labels which claim to be organic continue to have large laundry lists of ingredients that I do not know. Are there ingredients out there that sound bad but really aren’t?

    • |

      I am a paleo follower and have lost a tremendous amount of weight through this plan. The dinger is, no grains. That will solve your cereal ingredient list issue. Just give him smoothies (my kids love them), bacon and eggs (no toast) or sweet potato hash. You can find the recipe on my blog!

  6. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

    Hi there. I know it can be difficult, at first, to sort through all the foods we are so used to conveniently eating. Unfortunately, short ingredient lists are far more difficult to find and is why we spend time making a lot from scratch. Here are some posts that might help: http://100daysofrealfood.flywheelsites.com/2012/08/07/gluten-free-multi-grain-and-organic-junk-food/, http://100daysofrealfood.flywheelsites.com/2013/11/06/two-real-food-approved-store-bought-snacks/, http://100daysofrealfood.flywheelsites.com/2010/07/04/for-convenience-the-best-store-bought-snacks/, http://100daysofrealfood.flywheelsites.com/2011/04/21/for-convenience-the-best-store-bought-snacks-ii/. Hope that helps. ~Amy

  7. |

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to
    her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this
    is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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