We all cut corners here or there to save some time or trouble. I mean, who hasn’t driven a little faster than the speed limit once or twice? Some of us have even been tempted to wear a pair of socks a second time before washing them.
But the pandemic has forced many of us to cut some corners where we really don’t like to. And that’s in the grocery store. The virus has turned simple trips to the supermarket into a stressful activity.
We rush through the store aisles with one goal in mind. And that is to get in and get out in a flash. But that means we often hurry right by the fresh produce, meats, and fish. Instead, we reach for the pre-packaged foods and junky snacks.
And it shows. One recent study found every month of pandemic lockdown led to 1.5 pounds of weight gain. But I’m sorry to say, some extra junk in the trunk is the least of your worries.
Because new research finds some MUCH BIGGER problems linked to processed and especially “ultra” processed foods.
The THREE biggest risks of ULTRA processed foods
No one believes this stuff is healthy. Not even those foods with “LOW FAT!” or “NO ADDED SUGAR!” plastered all over the packaging.
We’re not fooled. We know convenience foods aren’t very good for us. We grab them because, well, they’re convenient.
But most folks don’t realize just HOW bad those ultra-processed dishes actually are. Or that the chemicals and byproducts added or created during their processing could…
- WRECK cells
- DAMAGE DNA
- DESTROY your immune system
And so much MORE.
In fact, three recent studies reveal some specific ways processed and ultra-processed foods can do lasting damage. And disturbingly, in some cases, how they could lay the groundwork for a battle with a deadly disease.
How’s this for a terrible irony? You start eating more processed foods so you can spend less time in the supermarket to avoid the virus. But if you’re exposed to the virus, a steady diet of those same foods could lead to a WORSE infection.
You see, those junk foods alter the makeup of your essential gut bacteria. They end up killing off needed “good bugs” and letting some of the baddies take hold.
And one new report finds these kinds of changes in gut bacteria could make people more prone to the most severe complications of the COVID-19 infection. And the researchers say it’s the processed foods and refined sugars at the heart of the typical Western diet that is to blame.
2. Chronic kidney disease:
Kidney disease has quietly become one of America’s top 10 killers. And a new study shows how processed foods could be playing a major role in it becoming so common.
Specifically, it’s a class of chemicals found inside many processed foods. They’re called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and are added to these foods to enhance flavor, scent, and more.
AGEs are added to many different processed foods. But they’re most commonly found in breads, chips, and other snacks.
The new study finds AGEs can damage the lining of the intestines. And that activates inflammation, which in turn can damage the kidneys.
3. Heart disease:
Two recent studies out of Europe find that a regular diet of ultra-processed foods such as canned goods, ready-to-eat meals, and microwave “TV dinner” dishes can lead to heart disease and early death.
The first study, out of France, finds that for every 10 percent increase in ultra-processed food in your diet, your odds of cardiovascular disease jump by 12 percent. The other study from Spain finds that folks who eat the most of these foods are 62 percent more likely to die prematurely from any cause.
We always knew they weren’t the healthiest choice. But few of us realized just HOW dangerous they could be. It’s clear that the RISKS of eating a lot of processed foods FAR outweigh their convenience.
On your next shopping trip, stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store as much as you can. And opt for fresh ingredients over pre-packaged, canned, or boxed foods whenever possible.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the damage ultra-processed junk can do to our health. You’ll find my report on how these same convenience foods can attack your telomeres and fast-forward aging here.