Why should you eat more unprocessed whole foods?

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

Let’s first talk about the difference between processed and whole foods. Processed foods are altered from natural state, while whole foods are close to natural state.
Processed foods can be categorised as less processed and highly processed food. These are foods where chemicals are added. They are loaded with sugar or its twin- high fructose corn syrup.

Less processed foods maintain some of the original properties. All veggies are natural and unprocessed while any food in cans for instance beetroot is processed. The canned products have added sugar and preservative ingredients. Stick to natural products and avoid canned product purchases from your supermarket. Why? I will explain as we go on.

Processed foods are not just microwave meals, other ready meals, white rice and white bread. 90% of the foods you buy from your supermarket is processed, and that’s what you enjoy daily.

Next time when you visit the supermarket buy natural unprocessed foods grown in the grounds like veggies, fruits, and avoid canned products. Freeze readily made foods like pizzas, potato chips from the cool fridges in your supermarket, in addition to the unhealthy effects of processing also have added trans-fat to increase their shelf life.
Avoid all such foods. Your body cannot recognise the difference between trans-fat and normal fat. This bad fat gets into each cell in your body and plays havoc, leading to chronic diseases.

Processing means doing something to the foods to change it from its natural state. Some foods are highly processed where sugar, oils and artificial colours or preservatives are added. What we eat today, purchasing foods at the supermarket is processed foods other than the vegetables, fruits and nuts, legumes, cereal grains, lean meats, fish and dairy products. The rest of the products on your trolley are processed foods.

Six out of ten Australian packaged foods are highly or ultra-processed, more than half are discretionary/junk foods and only one third are healthy, according to a new analysis by The George Institute for Global Health.

Lead researcher Michelle Crino said: “Our research shows that Australia’s packaged food environment is full of foods laden in sugar, fat and salt that are also highly processed.  It’s not just a few packaged foods that we need to be aware of. Our supermarket shelves are full of products that are making us fat and making us sick.”
Most of these processed foods purchased from the supermarket- are energy dense and nutrient-poor foods such as sweetened soft drinks, cordials, flavoured waters, biscuits, chocolate, meat pies, butter and salty snacks.

These processed foods could be ultra- processed, moderately processed and less processed foods. Most ultra-processed category of foods in your supermarket are convenience foods- including ready to eat meals, pre-prepared sauces or dressings, canned or processed meats, ham, salami, bacon sausages, cheese, breakfast cereals, cakes and biscuits, frozen meals and desserts.

Professor Bruce Neal, of The George Institute for Global Health, said shoppers are being bombarded with junk foods and it is little wonder we are during an obesity epidemic.

It is sad that unknowingly you are mostly buying junk foods we should be eating occasionally.  These foods cause an obesity problem with the nation’s waistline.
It is not the intention of people to become obese, but they have no choice, because wherever you go you must eat unhealthy food.

In addition to obesity problem the findings come just months after a UK study published in the British Medical Journal that these ultra-processed foods are linked to a heightened risk of cancer.

Processed foods are tasty due to the added sugars, salt and fat and your chances of eating more resulting in being overweight and risk of chronic diseases are more likely.
Processed foods that do not contain excess sugar, salt and fat may not be unhealthy. Some foods needs to be processed to make them safe, such as milk, which needs to be pasteurised to remove harmful bacteria.

To improve one’s diet you should include whole foods and decrease the amount of processed foods.

Most beverages to make them sweet are added with corn syrup, which contains high levels of fructose a twin of glucose. The labels will read that “no added sugar”
Sugar consumed in excess, cause serious harm to the metabolism in your body. Sugar has ‘empty’ calories. It has no essential nutrients but only a large amount of energy.
It leads to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased levels of harmful cholesterol and increased fat accumulation in the liver and the abdominal cavity.

Increased sugar consumption in your processed foods and beverages can be linked to chronic illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. If you read the labels in packaged foods, they give whole heap of ingredients. These ingredients are not actual foods, they are all artificial chemicals that are added for various purposes.

Highly processed foods often contain:
Preservatives: Chemicals that prevent the food from rotting.
Colorants: Chemicals that are used to give the food a specific colour.
Flavour: Chemicals that give the food a flavour.
Texturants: Chemicals that give a texture.
Junk food you eat are all processed foods.

Your brain gets addicted to such foods and you may start eating them to lose control over their consumption.

Bottom line:
Remember, you patronize your supermarket with the hope of purchasing nutritious food, but what you are bringing home is processed foods in various forms of packages that is detrimental to your health.
Vegetarians are lucky people on our planet.
Hope you enjoyed watching this video, and give it a thought about your next purchases at your supermarket
Bye for now.

Copyright © 2002 ~ 2019 Harold Gunatillake