Health

30 Signs Processed Food Consumption is Bad

Do you eat a lot of processed foods? Do you know what processed foods are? Well, they’re in every store, and you could be overeating of… Trista - September 23, 2018

Do you eat a lot of processed foods? Do you know what processed foods are? Well, they’re in every store, and you could be overeating of them. If your typical day includes items like frozen pies, muffins, and other baked goods, salami, bacon, and other cured meats, you could be heading for trouble.

So, what are processed foods? Processed foods are foods that have been altered or changed in some way from their original form. So, if a food item has been dried, canned, baked, frozen, or undergone the addition of chemical agents, we can consider it to be processed. Something as simple as pre-cutting fruit or pre-washed salad bags are processed. That means that a vast majority of what we eat has been treated in some way or other. Pre-Cut fruit slices are not harmful to your health, so it follows that not all processed food is bad for us.

What experts are talking about when they negatively refer to processed foods is food that has been highly-processed such as white flour, which has had all the fiber and much of the goodness taken out of it. It also includes things like cookies, bagels, candy, sodas and other things that are produced in a factory. These foods tend to have high levels of unhealthy fats added, as well as high levels of sugars and salt (sodium) to make them more appealing for consumers.

The other problem with processed foods is not just what’s been added, but what’s been lost. The healthiest foods come in natural, whole form, such as fresh vegetables and fruit, pulses, grains and a moderate amount of healthy fats. Processed foods are deficient in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, and lack a healthy balance of the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Read on for 30 signs that you might be eating too many processed foods.

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1. Constant thirst

One of the most common ingredients added to processed foods is salt. This is because it prolongs the shelf life of foods to which it’s added, and tends to improve the flavor of the product to make it more palatable for consumers. So, if you’re eating too many processed foods, you might be suffering from constant thirst. What happens is that the sodium in salt draws water off your system so that you need to drink more. If you don’t, you become dehydrated.

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It’s important to note that everyone’s bodies are different in the way in which they process sodium. For example, if you feel thirsty after eating a box of popcorn, someone else doing the same might not be at all thirsty. Also, if the weather’s hot or you’re very active, you’ll be perspiring more, and need to drink more water. So, if you’re always thirsty in spite of drinking quite a few beverages, you might want to look at how many processed foods you eat. Do bear in mind, however, that constant thirst and the need to urinate frequently can be signs of diabetes. Talk to your doctor to rule this out.

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2. Bloating

If you feel bloated most of the time, it might be time to take a look at your diet and identify what processed foods you are eating. Once again, salt/sodium is the culprit. When we take in an excessive amount of salt, our bodies retain water. This, in turn, leads to swelling and bloating. The areas where the water tends to gather are your hands, feet, and ankles. This is because the sodium in salt pulls the water from the cells that need it, and redirects it to these other areas.

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The ‘antidote’ to sodium is another electrolyte by the name of potassium. It’s found in many natural, plant-based foods such as sweet potatoes and bananas. It works to counteract sodium, so adding potassium to your diet can help to neutralize the effects of all the salt you’re taking in with processed foods. If you concentrate on eating high-potassium foods for 1 to 3 days, your symptoms of bloating and swelling should subside, and you’ll feel a lot lighter of a body. After that, cut back on processed foods to prevent these problems. Bloating of the abdomen for an extended period can sometimes be a sign of ovarian cancer, so do consult your doctor for a checkup.

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3. Regular headaches

Once again, salt is the bad guy. If we consume a lot of processed foods and take in a lot of salt, the sodium pulls the water from the cells that need it and can result in dehydration. Dehydration is a common cause of headaches, and sodium is the cause of the majority of dehydration-related headaches. Even if your body is retaining more water than it should because of the sodium, you’re consuming, and you can still be dehydrated at the same time because certain specific cells are not getting sufficient water.

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And it’s not only the salt that’s the only culprit in processed foods. Vaso-constriction, the process during which your blood vessels constrict, or get smaller, can cause headaches. The foods that can cause this process to take place include foods that are fermented, aged, pickled, canned, or prepared for long shelf life, such as processed meats. That’s because they contain preservatives and additives such as tyramine, an amino acid that can cause headaches in some people. If you’re not sure how much sodium you should be consuming, a teaspoon a day is more than enough. If you’re eating a meal that contains 400 milligrams or more of sodium, you’re overeating.

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4. Fatigue and ‘porridge brain’

If you’re constantly tired and struggle to keep focused during the day, your consumption of processed foods might be to blame. The culprit in this instance is sugar. If you eat lots of processed foods that contain simple sugars, you’re likely to experience a blood sugar spike. Foods that contain lots of simple sugars include those that contain what they call ‘natural sweeteners’ such as fruit juice, cane sugar, fructose, glucose, sucrose, and white flour. When your blood sugar suddenly spikes, your pancreas releases a large quantity of insulin to convert the sugar into glucose and transfer it to your cells for energy. After a blood sugar high, a blood sugar low follows, which can leave you feeling shaky, tired, and fuzzy-headed.

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Instead of choosing a high-sugar processed snack for those mid-morning and mid-afternoon munchies, make a concerted effort to opt for whole foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. These contain fiber to keep you fuller for longer, and it prevents quick absorption of glucose and another blood sugar spike. Choose healthy fats such as avocado and healthy proteins such as legumes and pulses, both of which slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.

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5. Feeling low

Life is filled with ups and downs, and it’s normal to feel a bit down when something goes wrong. But feeling low all the time might be caused by your diet. If you eat a healthy diet that is balanced in both macro- and micro-nutrients, your moods are more likely to be stable. Processed foods, however, can lead to sudden mood changes. This is because processed foods are packed with simple carbohydrates that cause a spike in insulin as well as an increase in feel-good neurotransmitters. These hormones are chemicals in the brain responsible for mood regulation and include serotonin and dopamine.

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If you eat a meal high in processed foods, you might feel quite ‘up’ and energetic initially because of a spike in blood sugar levels. But after the initial ‘high,’ your energy levels dip, and you start feeling down again. If you are eating a lot of processed food and you’re feeling down, try changing your diet to see if it helps. If you eat more whole foods, your mood might be better for more extended periods of time. Research shows that foods such as vegetables and fruits boost neurotransmitter release, consequently improving your mood. This effect is enhanced by these fiber-rich foods which slow down absorption.

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6. Dieting doesn’t work

If you cannot seem to shift that extra weight, maybe it’s time to take a close look at what you’re eating, and not necessarily how much. If you subsist on a diet of burgers, fries, and cookies, you’re probably taking in too many calories. But that’s not because these foods are necessarily packed with calories. Many highly-processed foods don’t have the vital ingredients to keep you full, like healthy fats, fiber, and lean protein. These fill you up and keep you fuller for longer, preventing you from chowing down on something unhealthy only an hour or two later.

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That means that if you indulge in an unhealthily processed food item such as a cake or a cookie, you’re going to feel hungry again much more quickly than if you snack on something healthy. After your body’s disposed of the cookie or cupcake, it’ll be ready for refueling only too soon, meaning you’ll be consuming more calories than you need throughout the day. A healthy substitute is a Greek yogurt and ½ cup of berries, which are full of antioxidants to keep free radicals at bay. The yogurt contains healthy fats and a good dose of protein.

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7. Tooth problems

If you eat a lot of foods that contain simple carbohydrates, your teeth are likely to suffer the effects eventually. Eating processed simple carbs like chips, candy, cookies, and fries can severely damage your teeth. The American Dental Association says that the simple sugars in these products lead to the development of dental caries (cavities). This is because our mouths are naturally full of bacteria, some of which feed off sugars and produce acids that break down the enamel on our teeth. The enamel is the hard substance that coats the outside of your teeth, preventing damage from occurring to the inner, more sensitive parts of the tooth.

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One of the worst things you can do for your teeth is to consume sodas or energy drinks regularly. They are packed with simple sugars as well as acids which bathe your teeth for long periods and cause severe enamel damage. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity after eating something sweet, this is a sign that your enamel is getting damaged, and the inside of the tooth is being penetrated. This is not good news for your pearly whites. Stay away from the simple sugars if you want a beautiful smile.

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8. Broken bones

To ensure healthy bones, your diet needs to be rich in certain vitamins and minerals. These include calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D, all of which work together to strengthen and re-mineralize your bones, ensuring the health of your skeletal system. But if you eat a lot of processed foods, you probably lack these micro-nutrients. If, for example, you’re not eating an abundance of dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, as well as vegetables such as broccoli, along with fish and dairy, you’re probably missing out. This could leave you vulnerable to poor bone health.

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Our favorite bad guy, salt (sodium), is also the enemy of healthy bones in high quantities. Eating a lot of salty foods can cause calcium to leach from your bones, leading to diminished bone density and a higher likelihood of fractures. Sugary sodas have also been scientifically linked to bone loss and broken bones. Instead of choosing high-sugar sodas, quench your thirst on water, and keep yourself hydrated and free of unhealthy sugars. Don’t be tempted to drink fruit juices because they, too, are full of sugars that cause an unhealthy spike in your blood sugar level.

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9. Acne

Are you breaking out even though you’re way past your teens? Most cases of acne are caused by things over which we have no control, including hormones and genetics. But some research has found a link between acne and a diet that is high in sugar. This, scientists believe, is because a diet high in sugar is thought to increase the production of certain hormones. These hormones are responsible for inflammatory hormonal acne, which usually manifests in the area around the mouth and the jaw.

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Sugar and foods that are high on the glycemic index can lead to a rush of inflammation throughout the body. The glycemic index or GI of a portion of food indicates how quickly the food is converted to glucose and how quickly it causes your insulin levels to increase. The higher the GI, the faster the conversion to glucose. Foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats and which cause insulin spikes, increase inflammation, which is bad news for acne sufferers. Also, steep rises in insulin levels cause the skin to produce excess oils and cause the follicles of the skin to become clogged. Together with an increase in inflammation, the result can often be acne.

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10. High grocery bills

This is an interesting one. When last did you scrutinize your grocery bill? How much are you spending on processed, pre-prepared, packaged foods as opposed to whole, unprocessed foods that are in their natural, original form, or close to it? Research shows that people who buy a lot of processed foods spend more money on food than people who consume a whole food diet. So, even though manufacturers like to sell us the story that we’re saving money buying their ready-made foods, we’re not. We’re paying a premium for the process of turning a natural product like a potato, into a french fry, then packing it, freezing it, transporting it, with everybody’s wages on top of that. No wonder processed foods cost more. They cost more to produce.

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So, the next time you hit the grocery store, be prepared and plan. Make a list of healthy ingredients you need for the next few days, and shop accordingly. You can find millions of healthy recipes online. Also, make sure you’ve had a healthy meal or snack before you leave home, or you’ll be tempted to buy all those quick and easy processed foods when you hit the store.

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11. High blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels

If you haven’t had a checkup with your doctor for a while, now may the time to make an appointment. Part of a thorough workup includes various blood tests. These can tell ascertain whether or not your cholesterol, triglyceride, or blood glucose are too high. Your doctor will also take your blood pressure. The results of both the blood tests and blood pressure measurement can tell you whether or not your diet is healthy and balance, or risky and unbalanced. If you consume processed foods, especially at high levels, the chances are that your cholesterol level will be raised due to trans fats in these foods. And the sodium in processed foods tends to increase blood pressure.

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Even a diet high in sugars can affect the levels of triglyceride fats in your blood. High levels of triglycerides decrease HDL (‘good’) cholesterol. High levels of all four factors – blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood glucose – are related to heart disease and other chronic illnesses. So, make an appointment for a health assessment. If any of the four levels are high, your doctor will make recommendations about changing your diet and exercise regime. A whole food diet is usually recommended.

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12. High blood sugar

If diabetes or insulin resistance runs in your family, or you’ve ever had blood glucose levels that are too high, you might be at risk of developing insulin resistance yourself. If you are in this position, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what you’re feeding your body. One of the biggest favors you can do your body might be to stay away from processed foods. The problem is that these foods tend to be high in simple carbohydrates, and high in added sugar. These are going to cause higher blood sugar levels, which can be problematic if your body is not producing enough insulin in the first place.

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That said, the jury’s still out on whether or not there is a direct link between eating processed foods and the development of diabetes. We don’t know enough yet. There are many risk factors for diabetes, one of the most important being what you inherit in your genes. So, it’s a complex disease with many contributing factors. Given that almost 1 in every 10 Americans has diabetes or is pre-diabetic, it’s worth adjusting your diet to minimize the chances of your developing the disease. Cut out processed food, and cook whole food at home.

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13. Hair loss or thinning

To maintain those lustrous locks, your hair requires a rich variety of both macro- and micro-nutrients. These include optimal levels of protein, iron, vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, and biotin. A healthy, balanced diet is the only way to ensure that you get these valuable nutrients. If you eat a diet that is high in processed foods, you are risking damage to your hair. Eating unhealthy, highly-processed foods can even lead to thinning hair and, worse, hair loss, including bald patches. So next time you want a snack, avoid the junk. Instead, pair a tangerine with a tablespoon of almond butter. The vitamin B12 in tangerines promotes hair growth, slows down graying, and reduces hair loss.

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Almond butter contains many nutrients that are great for our health, but it’s the vitamin E in it that makes it an excellent choice for a healthy head of hair. Just one tablespoon of almond button contains almost two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance of fat-soluble vitamin E. Another great addition to your diet to assist in keeping your hair in good condition is walnuts. They are full of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids help you to grow hair that is longer and stronger.

14. You’re moody

If you find yourself in a bad mood for no good reason, your diet might be to blame. The fact is that the chemicals in processed foods can affect how you feel, and can be enough to put you in a bad mood. The problem with processed foods, in general, is that they are high in stuff that our bodies don’t need or want, and low in actual nutritional value. One of the top culprits in the moodiness department is soda, which has been shown to put you in a bad mood.

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Soda contains a load of simple sugars that are converted to glucose, before quickly entering the bloodstream. This causes a temporary increase in energy, rapidly followed by a crash. This can affect your ability to control your blood sugar and energy levels, as well as putting you in a bad mood. And it’s not only sugary sodas that are to blame. Just two ‘diet’ sodas containing artificial sweeteners have been linked to a phenomenon known as ‘soda belly,’ where the belly sticks out as if you’re pregnant. Plenty of processed foods contain vegetable shortening, which is high in omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids also interfere with your moods.

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15. You’ve got cellulite

If you’ve got cellulite, it might be mainly down to your genes, but your diet can certainly play a role in the appearance of it. For example, simple sugars in sodas, pastries, and other baked goods, as well as many ready-prepared meals, affect the amount of collagen and elasticity your skin has. The weakening of these aspects makes cellulite easier to see. And deli meats such as salami cause our bodies to retain water. This makes cellulite look worse. To minimize the appearance of cellulite, if you do have it, a healthy diet is a must.

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One way of assessing your diet is to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks. In the end, analyze your food habits to see if you are indeed eating a lot of processed foods. If so, it’s a good idea to move to a whole food, plant-based diet that is rich in natural grains, vegetables, legumes, pulses, with a moderate amount of fruit. Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and do at least 45 minutes of exercise three or four times a week for best results.

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16. Shortness of breath

Do you puff and pant when climbing the stairs? The fact is that the more overweight a person is, the more of an effort it takes to move the body. This often leads to even more inactivity and more weight gain. It has been estimated that there are around 160 million Americans who are either overweight or obese. Scientific research has found that over 60% of women and nearly 75% of men in America are either obese or overweight. Carrying too much weight can have a devastating effect on one’s health, and there’s a direct link between a diet high in processed foods and obesity.

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With people having so little time to prepare meals between rushing around accomplishing their daily tasks, many are resorting to quick-fixes when it comes to food. This often means fast food, which is more than likely highly-processed fast food that is rich in unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar. The more processed food you eat, the heavier you’re likely to be. And heavy people find it hard to move, often ending up breathless when exerting themselves. If you’re experiencing this, it’s time to get rid of those processed foods and embrace a whole food diet for the good of your health.

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17. Over-eating

Humans have evolved taste buds to help us find food that’s good to eat. We tend to prefer foods that are fatty, sweet, and salty because we have learned over time that these foods are likely to contain the nutrients and energy value that we need to survive. Food manufacturers know this, and they deliberately add these flavors to processed foods to keep us coming back for more. After all, they face stiff competition from other producers who are also trying to get a share of the market. The result is that a considerable amount of money and effort is put into making foods as appealing as possible.

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Our bodies are equipped to regulate how much we eat and how much energy we use. This has, until recently, kept most people at a healthy weight. Now manufacturers have found ways to by-pass these regulatory mechanisms to ensure that their products deliver maximum stimulation to the reward centers of the brain. This can lead to over-consumption of profoundly unhealthy foods while we’re ‘chasing’ that pleasurable experience we feel when we eat certain types of foods. Processed foods deliver such a reward to our brains that they make us eat more and more until we become ill.

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18. Cravings and addiction

Because highly-processed foods are designed to be hyper-rewarding, they can lead to addiction and the inability to control how much one consumes. If you have the following symptoms, you may be facing a food addiction:

  • You crave a particular food or foods even though you’re not hungry, and you’re full
  • You eat a lot more than you intended to
  • You eat until you feel as if you’re about to burst
  • You feel guilty about stuffing yourself, but you still do it again and again
  • You make up excuses for yourself in your head
  • You keep failing to stick to the eating rules you set for yourself
  • You conceal the extent of your eating or what you are eating from others
  • You just can’t quit, even though you have health problems
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If you eat a poor diet, high in processed foods, it leads to short-term problems such as poor dental health, weight gain, bad breath, acne, and fatigue. But in the long term, it can cause devastation. A lifetime of eating junk food can lead to certain types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, type II diabetes, dementia, and heart disease. Food addiction requires professional help.

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19. Digestive problems

If manufacturers use flour or other grains for producing foodstuff, the grains are heavily-processed before being included in the product. During the refining process, food producers remove both the germ and the bran of the grain, leaving only the starch-filled endosperm. The problem with this is that the bran is full of fiber, which is good for digestion. Without the fiber, the remaining endosperm section of the grain is just pure starch, which gets converted to sugar by the body. If you eat a diet that is high in refined grains such as cookies, white bread, white pasta, and white rice, you may experience sluggish digestion and constipation.

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A low-fiber diet like one that is full of refined grains can damage your digestive system to the extent that you develop diverticulitis. This is a severe condition in which pouches form along the length of the colon. Food waste then gets trapped in these pouches, sometimes causing infection and inflammation. This requires medical treatment, and sometimes removal of that section of the intestine. To prevent these digestive problems, eat foods containing whole grains such as whole-wheat bread and pasta, as well as brown rice.

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20. Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The development of inflammatory bowel disease (also called Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) has been linked to the consumption of processed foods. Here the culprits are the emulsifiers that are added to processed foods to extend their shelf life and allow them to retain their texture or shape. Emulsifiers can be found in almost all processed foods, from peanut butter to yogurt, bread to salad dressings.

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Scientists have discovered that mice fed a diet emulating the amount and type of emulsifiers found in the processed foods that humans eat developed changes in their gut bacteria. These changes acted as a catalyst for many health problems, including inflammatory bowel disease, as well as obesity and metabolic syndrome.  It turns out that the bacteria that changed as a result of the emulsifiers compromised the mucous membrane separating the intestinal wall from microbes. This led to an inflammatory response and the increased likelihood of developing various illnesses.

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21. Acid reflux/GERD

If you suffer from acid reflux or even from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), you’d do well to stay away from processed foods. Acid reflux happens when stomach acids move up into the esophagus because the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) doesn’t close properly or opens too often. The LES is a ring of muscle, a valve situated at the entrance to the stomach. When stomach acids move up into the esophagus, they can cause a burning chest pain known as heartburn. If you experience acid reflux symptoms more than twice a week, you have GERD.

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Although a hiatus hernia can cause acid reflux disease, there are many other risk factors for the condition. These include obesity or overweight, smoking, pregnancy, and taking aspirin, ibuprofen, some muscle relaxants, or blood pressure medications. Lying down or bending over right after a large meal can cause symptoms, as can some foods, including processed foods.

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22. Edema

Experts say that a diet that is high in sodium, such as a diet high in processed foods, can cause the body to retain water and swell. Edema/Oedema is the abnormal, unwanted accumulation of fluids in specific tissues of the body. Fluid accumulation can take place under the skin or in the lungs (pulmonary edema). If these fluids build up under the skin, it’s usually independent areas such as in the legs (peripheral edema or ankle edema).

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Symptoms of peripheral edema include swelling of the area or areas, causing the skin in these areas to feel and look tighter. The swelling depends on gravity and will decrease or increase depending on the body’s position. So, if one is lying on one’s back, the swelling won’t show in the legs, but rather in the area around the sacrum. The skin over the swollen area will look tight and shiny. Avoid processed foods if you have edema.

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23. Kidney problems

Eating a lot of processed food could negatively affect your kidneys. Our kidneys are two organs shaped like a bean and are about the size of a fist. They are situated just below the rib cage, with one on each side of the spine. A healthy pair of kidneys can filter about ½ cup of blood each minute to get rid of waste products and excess water. The result is urine, which flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two narrow pipes called ureters.

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The ureters are situated on either side of the bladder. The urine is stored in the bladder until it is emptied. The kidneys are also important for controlling the production of red blood cells. The problem with processed foods is sodium. Eating foods high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is potentially lethal for the kidneys. Untreated high blood pressure prevents the kidneys from removing toxins from the body.

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24. Autoimmune Diseases

When a person develops an autoimmune disease, it means that their body’s immune system is attacking the body’s cells. There are more than 100 different autoimmune diseases, but commonly include lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes. In this disease, the immune system becomes confused, mistaking healthy body cells with unhealthy ones, and attacking these cells when it’s meant to protect the body.

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Interestingly, about 70 percent of our immune system is situated in the gut. Scientists have discovered that seven commonly-used food additives found in processed foods can weaken the gut’s ability to retain a strong immune system. This weakness in the lining of the gut can allow harmful toxins and could lead to an autoimmune disease. These seven additives found commonly in processed foods are gluten, organic solvents, salt, glucose, emulsifiers, microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles. So next time, refuse that piece of bacon.

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25. Osteoporosis

If you’re eating a lot of processed foods, you are also putting your body at risk for osteoporosis. This disease of the bones happens when our body doesn’t make enough new bone, or if it loses too much bone or both. The result of this lowered bone density is that the bones become weak and might break in a fall. If a person has osteoporosis, they might break a bone if they sustain a minor bump or even when they sneeze.

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When you look at healthy bone under a microscope, it looks like a honeycomb. But the spaces in the comb in osteoporotic bone are much larger than in healthy tissue. If you have broken a bone or are over 50, ask your doctor about a bone density test. If you eat a lot of salty, processed foods, calcium might be leaching out of your bones, and it could result in osteoporosis.

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26. Insomnia

Insomnia is causing sleepless nights for more and more people around the globe. So much so that it’s taking epidemic proportions. Insomnia can have serious health repercussions, so it’s not something to be taken lightly. Sadly, plenty of health professionals brush insomnia off as unimportant, but for those who suffer from this debilitating problem, it can take a massive toll on their lives. Insomnia can be caused by many triggers, including food and drink, or even a food allergy or sensitivity.

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Foods and beverages that contain caffeine are common triggers for insomnia, but food that includes a lot of salt/sodium can cause sleeplessness. Processed foods such as pre-prepared meals, instant soups, many kinds of bread, lunch meats, bacon, and others contain a lot of sodium. This tends to increase blood pressure and to dehydrate you, further increasing blood pressure. For a good night’s sleep, lay off the processed foods.

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27. Feeling lazy

If you feel like a sloth after tucking into your favorite fast food, you’re not alone. Research with rats shows that eating foods that are high in fat, processed, and full of sugary can cause tiredness, decreased performance, and a lack of motivation. The results of the study suggest that an occasional processed food binge is not problematic, and that’s it’s a pattern of junk food consumption that is responsible for obesity and cognitive impairments.

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It turns out that the stereotype of lazy people becoming fat is incorrect. The study’s data suggests that it is laziness is caused by obesity, not the other way around. So, if you’re suffering from feeling lazy and unmotivated all the time and eat a diet rich in processed foods, you might want to think about cutting these foods out of your diet. Elimination of these foods can help you think more clearly, be more focused, and have increased energy.

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28. Colorectal Cancer

People who consume a diet high in processed foods run the risk of developing colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, around 1 in 21 men and 1 in 23 women in the U.S. will develop colorectal cancer. Although the death rate from this type of cancer has been decreasing, it is still the third leading cause of cancer death in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in women.

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If malignant, it can spread to other parts of the body. Certain processed foods increase your risk of developing colon cancer. These foods include bacon, sausages, hot dogs, lunch meat, and beef jerky. Eating as little as 50 grams of red or processed meat a day raises your risk of colorectal cancer by a whopping 18 percent. And 50 grams is only equivalent to 2 pieces of bacon or a small hot dog.

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29. Metabolic Syndrome

Consuming processed foods has been linked to metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that can lead to heart disease and type II diabetes. To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, three or more of these five risk factors must be present:

  • A large waistline and abdominal obesity
  • High blood pressure or on blood pressure medication
  • Low ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels or on medication for this problem
  • Elevated levels of triglycerides, or on medication for same
  • High fasting blood glucose level, or medication for the same required.
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The culprit in this instance is the high levels of sugars contained in processed foods. If not used by the body, these sugars get stored as fat and cause various metabolic problems. This includes blood sugar spikes that require insulin for stabilization. This can lead to insulin resistance over time, and can also increase triglyceride levels in the blood. The consequences of these metabolic problems can raise the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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30. Anxiety

Are you feeling the need to examine your intake of processed foods yet? If not, there’s something else you should be considering. A person who consumes a diet high in processed foods is more likely to suffer from anxiety. One theory about why this might happen is that the high levels of sugars contained in processed foods cause problems in the gut.

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The gut is where most of the neurotransmitter serotonin is made. This hormone is essential for stabilizing the mood. So, if your diet is high in chemical additives, your body might not be able to maintain a healthy level of serotonin to ward off anxiety and depression. Added sugars cause a spike in blood glucose, which in turns causes increased insulin production. Thus, a cycle of high energy and lethargy is set in motion. These sugars can be so addictive that your body craves more, repeating the cycle.

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