The truth about what we eat and it's impact.
With 60% of food consumed now classified as “Ultra Processed” it’s no wonder our population has 41% obese, 30% over weight, 37 million with diabetes, and another 9 million undiagnosed. Shall I continue ? Yes, it is imperative I do. 10% of the population is depressed and an additional 7 million suffer from dementia. You may be asking yourself what do depression and dementia have to do with obesity. The answer is the root cause and dominator of the equation“Ultra Processed Food”!
What are Ultra Processed Foods ?
Normal, processed foods are essentially made by adding salt, oil, sugar, or other substances. Examples include canned goods, fruits in syrup, and even freshly made breads. But we see a rise in foods now that are highly processed or “ultra-processed”. Ultra-processed foods are generally packaged foods that have been made using many manufactured ingredients, rather than actual food ingredients. They are mostly made from substances extracted from foods such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats. In general, they are made by a machine and may contain chemicals or additives like artificial colors and flavors or stabilizers. These ultra processed foods are lower in nutrients and fiber and higher in sugar, fat and salt compared to unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Examples of these foods are soft drinks, hot dogs, frozen meals, cold cuts, fast food, packaged cookies, cakes, and salty snacks. With 60% of the food consumed falling under this category the majority of your are saying, “Oh, all of things I love to eat or snack on.”. The truth of the matter is that we do not love these fake ultra processed foods, we are addicted to them.
About a week ago I had a childhood memory that inspired this blog post. A ramen noodles scene with my siblings which turned quickly into a craving I could not kick for the life of me. Chicken flavor ramen noodles, and even as I type the words, my craving begins to creep back in, haha. I will leave the brand name out of it to avoid being sued. I picked up the packaged noodles, scanned the label for it’s ingredients and by the time I finished reading I felt as if I was carrying an illegal firearm. Extract after extract, a copious amount of sodium and a catalog of ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce. It is criminal what is allowed to be sold on our shelves for consumption. I couldn’t help thinking, “How is this allowed ? Who is in charge here ? Of course we are all sick and dying! They are feeding us junk and trash with fancy labels that actually say “Healthy” on them. And here I am worried about being sued! The ingredients in over half of our food consumed deserve our attention. If you take nothing else from this post, start taking the time to read your food labels and have some idea of what you are putting into your body. Spoiler alert! Stop eating processed and ultra processed foods if you care about your health.
The State of Health in America
We are in the middle of a health crisis whether we want to believe it or not. For the first time in a long time life expectancy has moved backwards. That decline – 77.0 to 76.1 years – took United States life expectancy at birth to its lowest level since 1996. The 0.9 year drop in life expectancy in 2021, along with a 1.8 year drop in 2020, was the biggest two-year decline in life expectancy since 1921-1923. Cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are increasing rapidly while our brain function is in a steady decline. Studies show it is in large part to the “food” we are consuming. The climb in processed foods decreases the amount of nutrients we get exponentially. The less nutrients we receive the sicker we become. The body can and will not function properly without proper nutrition and hydration. Studies show that eating real, whole unprocessed foods will solve the majority of our health problems in America.
So Why Would They Sell Ultra Processed Food ?
The answer is simple. It’s easy! And it’s cheaper! Ultra processed are easy to make, and easier to churn out in bulk batches. And they are delicious and convenient for us as a consumer. We are all lazy! Too lazy to cook our own food. We’ve become conned by the eye catching labels and a life on easy street. The processed food companies are making billions of dollars off of our lack of self discipline and our inability to say no to drugs. Drugs ? Yes drugs! We are not dealing with food any longer. We are dealing with a drug addiction. We are addicted to salt, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors and chemicals. The majority of what we are consuming is not food at all, it’s drugs. Keep a sharp eye on that person you love, who happens to be obese, who claims to be starving after a while with no food. Watch them take that first bite of an ultra processed food. Instant satisfaction! I would compare it to a heroin or cocaine fix! They gorge the food, they don’t eat it, it’s gluttonous to say the least. Still we cannot put the blame on the individual, we are all addicted and some of us do not have the discipline or education necessary to say no. We trade that split second of sweet sugary satisfaction for a life of disease and depression over and over every time without fail. It hurts when I put it like that I know, and that is exactly my intention. Wake up! Stop doing drugs and eat more real food. The very place we turn to heal our depression is the very thing that is making us sick and depressed in the first place, the fake food!
Health is Wealth Literally
A beautifully packaged protein bar is going to cost you an average of $5.00 where as an apple loaded with fiber is going to cost you about $0.60 cents. A container of organic spinach is going to cost you $3.00 and the macros ratios are phenomenal. That goes for all vegetables versus processed foods. Let me also mention the compounding medical bills from your physician for diabetes and heart medication due to your increase in sugar consumption over the last decade.
You will save money on food as well as on your medical bills by eating natural and whole foods. It is important to remember; the food companies are allowed to lie to you. Why ? I cannot say, well actually I can the answer is money, lots of money. I mean if we were all actually healthy, what would happen to our billion dollar health industry? Anyhow, the packaging is allowed to be beautiful, misleading and pleasing to the eye. They are even allowed to market ultra processed foods as “HEALTHY”! Do not stand for it any longer. Read the small print on the labels of food you eat and make a decision to benefit your health and wealth.
Reasons Why We Eat Ultra Processed Foods
Processed foods are quick, easy and addicting. Drugs disguised as healthy snacks. We reach for them when we are nervous, tired, depressed and starving. We make the worst food choices when we are under pressure, deprived of sleep, life has dealt us a bad hand or we are hungry. A never ending cycle unless something is done about the process. A bag of chips will never make you full or satisfied. Those chips will always leave you wanting for more because more is exactly what the body needs, more nutrients. The high salt and sugar content in processed foods which have replaced our nutrients are designed to do exactly what they are doing. Keep you coming back for more of nothing your body needs. THE DRUGS is all your body is craving. One second of savory deliciousness that keeps you coming back like the drag of a cigarette. Try and eat 3 apples, 2 Lbs of broccoli or 3 pieces of salmon. If you can, you will be full, satisfied once you’ve finished and won’t want to look at another piece of food for a spell. Now try and eat 4 bags of chips and 3 boxes of cookies. A simple task and you will not be full or satisfied because in actuality you have consumed nothing except junk that will leave you fatigued and starved for nutrients.
What Can We Do About Our Addiction ?
We can raise awareness for one. Share this blog post with your friends and family. Warn them of the dangers associated with consuming ultra processed foods.
You can hire a fitness and health professional to coach and motivate you through a meal plan tailored to your needs.
You can set convenience aside and decide to start cooking at home.
You can boycott or at least avoid fast food restaurants.
You can start reading food labels.
You can buy organic
We can buy produce from our local farmers markets.
We can start treating ultra processed foods like the drugs they are and cure ourselves of addiction in 12 steps.
Challenge your self and friends to eating a vegetable a day.
We can stop the bleeding before “Ultra Processed” becomes “Ultra Ultra Processed”
It’s crazy to read all of this isn’t it? Why is this allowed to happen? Follow the money! Cooperations are lining the pockets of the politicians who make the rules. Stop the flow of money by saying no to ultra processed foods AKA drugs. We have to stop trading seconds of glutenous pleasure for days of depression and years of disease. What we are doing to make us feel better is the very thing that made us depressed in the first place. We consume entirely too much fake food and the more we consume the more fatigued our brains become. I tastes good I know, but nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. We have to recognize the addiction and we have to respect the power of that addiction. The need for these drugs is borderline euphoric. We have to fight, together! We are all addicted, yet the key is to find healthy things to be addicted to do in its place. The good thing is there are more people working out around me than ever. That may be because I am a fitness professional and I surround myself with health, but even from my perspective I can see everyone waking up. Fasting and cold plunges are the new craze! The gyms are busier than ever! The treadmills are laced with competitors ready to beat yesterday’s time! My team is asking all of the right questions! We are moving forward in my eyes! I do not care what the statistics say when it comes to my personal observations. The cure to to disease is not getting sick in the first place. Make a commitment to do better, be better and feel better!