If you weren’t able to watch the live discussion I had with nutritional therapist, Jane Barrett about how processed foods can lead to all kinds of adverse health outcomes, including obesity, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, then you can watch the very informative video here.
Ultra-processed foods are everywhere these days. But what exactly are they? Jane explains this during our discussion. It’s hard to avoid processed foods. In fact, many everyday foods like dried herbs, canned fish and roasted nuts are processed in some way. Some processed foods are good for us, while others are best described as ‘sometimes’ foods, and others as ‘never’ foods.
Jane and I also discussed:
- the traffic light system on packaging – red, amber, and green and what they mean.
- how ultra-high processed food (UHP) is a relatively new term – and how it differs from junk food.
- the four NOVA food classifications – a system developed by scientists in Brazil and promoted by the UN, which categorises food according to the extent and purpose of the processing.
- the worryingly high prevalence of UHP foods in the UK.
- which artificial food additives are harmful.
- what emulsifiers are, why are they put in food and what is the link between them and inflammatory bowel disease.
- why sugar, fat and salt are so addictive.
- what hydrogenated oils are and whether they are harmful.
Some of the questions we answered included:
- There is an increased prevalence of vegan and vegetarian processed food, using very processed substitutes for meat. Can you explain what they are?
- What is high-fructose corn syrup and why is it bad for us?
- Are fizzy and flavoured drinks really that bad?
- Why are artificial sweeteners harmful?
- Is there any research linking processed foods to ill health?
- Why do we need to know about glyphosate?
It’s a huge topic, and Jane and I could have talked for much longer! I hope that you can learn from our discussion, and please do share it with friends and family members. We all need to know how to make the right food choices! Overall, diets high in processed foods usually mean that less real food is consumed, which results in the body becoming deficient in other vitamins and minerals that are needed to support your mood, emotional health, and overall wellbeing. Although it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate processed food from our daily diets, it is good to be mindful of just how much you are eating. This awareness can help to create a healthier lifestyle and help with many medical ailments. Food can be a medicine or a toxin. Make your food medicine.
If you have any questions about any of the topics covered in the video, or about a digestive and gut health issue, please get in touch.