Processed foods are foods that have changed nutritional composition with the purpose of preservation or easy preparation. These foods can be canned, cooked, frozen or packaged. Even when we cook, fry, smoke, or bake foods, we are processing them.
Foods that are labelled as organic can also be processed. And such foods are widespread. The majority, if not all, of the foods we eat, are processed. While that isn’t a bad thing, it’s essential to know which processed foods are bad for your health.
Here are 10 processed foods that are bad for your health.
1. White bread
First on the list is white bread, a trendy food. They’re cheap, easy to access, very delicious, and a good breakfast option. But not everything sweet is good for you.
Most commercially produced bread from the bakery can be very bad for your health if eaten in large amounts, as they contain refined wheat, which is low in essential nutrients. This causes your blood sugar levels to rise and may lead to Type 2 diabetes.
If that isn’t enough reason to consume white bread in small amounts, note that it can make you gain weight and feel bloated. A better, healthier alternative is whole grain bread.
2. Breakfast cereal
Corn flakes, Frosties, Coco Pops, and other varieties of delicious staples are easy-to-prepare meals. These are cereal grains such as corn, wheat, oats, etc., that have been processed and sweetened.
During processing, numerous nutrients are stripped off from the grains. They also contain a high level of sugar content, and people tend to add sugar before eating.
Much like white bread, this type of processed foods can cause elevated levels of blood sugar levels and result in weight and Type 2 diabetes. So while the crunch of a good cereal is very satisfying, sometimes you need to deny your mouth what your body doesn’t need.
3. Cakes and pastries
These delicacies arouse the taste buds and tingle the senses, but unfortunately, they are also among the 10 processed foods bad for your health. Why is this so? Well, the packaged form is usually made with refined wheat and sugar and added trans fats.
They accumulate in your blood and can cause a spike in your cholesterol level. If consumed daily in high amounts and with little or no form of exercise, it can lead to obesity and sometimes cancer.
4. Fried potatoes
I’d take a fried potato over a boiled one any day but is that a better choice, really?
Boiled potatoes are healthy, but fried potatoes contain high amounts of calories, leading to weight gain if consumed regularly. They also contain carcinogenic substances like acrylamide, which are formed when potatoes are processed.
5. Most fruit juices
You must be thinking that if fruit juice is unhealthy, what is healthy for our body? Well, here’s why fruit juices are unhealthy.
While it contains vitamins and nutrients, it also has a high level of sugar and preservatives added. Not all fruit juices contain preservatives, but it is also wise to avoid drinking them daily. Its sugar content gives soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi a run for their money. While some fruit juices are confirmed to be healthy, they should not be a part of your daily lifestyle.
6. Ice cream
Do you like eating ice cream? Oh well, who doesn’t? Unfortunately, it is one of the ten processed foods that are bad for your health.
While it is delicious and delivers a heavy dose of ‘brain freeze’, it is loaded with sugar and many calories. So, as sweet and savoury as the ice cream is, it should not be consumed every day.
Margarine contains trans fats, which have been linked to cardiovascular diseases. It has low vitamins and minerals, and it contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), which is a preservative that is used to increase the shelf time of margarine.
Also, margarine’s manufacturing process results in depreciated vital minerals and additional chemicals added to it for colour change and transformation. Margarine should be highly avoided and not made a part of your daily diet.
Yep, sometimes we have a craving for a Digestive or a Cracker.
While it isn’t bad to indulge your biscuit cravings now and then, be well aware that they are filled with sugar and sodium, which are not so good for your waistline and even worse for your heart—excess sodium intake results in bloating and water retention, among other health risks.
While mayonnaise isn’t exactly very unhealthy, it does have unhealthy features that are a problem for your health. It is made with so much sugar and preservatives that it can go years without getting bad.
Mayonnaise is made from soybean oil and contains high amounts of Omega-6 fats. Omega-6 is good for your body, but increased consumption without a diet of Omega-3 fats to balance the ratio results in serious health problems like Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Mayonnaise is often consumed with bread, which has its own health warning, which further increases the risk of serious heart problems. It is also used popularly as a salad dressing but should be consumed in minimal amounts.
10. Instant oatmeal packets
Known popularly as ‘Coke and oats’ (Quaker Oats) in Nigeria, it is cited as one of the best healthy foods to consume, particularly during dieting. Unfortunately, oatmeal packets contain fats in hydrogenated soybean oil, which clogs up the arteries. It also contains additives like corn syrup solids and artificial peach flavours. Not so healthy now, is it?
Now that you know about the 10 processed foods that are bad for your health take care to avoid or limit your intake. It is best practice to eat healthy organic foods that promote health and long life. You can work with a dietician or nutritionist to help you make the best food choices.