Processed foods and human health

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Processed foods and human health
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Processed foods and human health

Delicious spicy foods have been man’s weakness. After all, who would be such a person who does not look for taste in food. As a result of the quest for new flavors, humans continue to experiment with food and this is an incredibly creative process. But the foods we eat and what they do to us are even more interesting, especially when it comes to ultra-processed foods.

‘Ultra-processed’ foods

We eat a variety of processed foods on a daily basis. Pickling, canning, pasteurizing, fermenting, reconstituting. These are all forms of food processing, and the end results are often quite tasty. One feature that makes ‘ultra-processed’ foods (UPFs) unique is that they are chemically altered beyond recognition and use different methods and ingredients than we normally find at home. Generally not used while cooking.

A few years ago, Dr. Chris Van Tolkien conducted an experiment for a foreign broadcaster in which he ate ‘ultra-processed food’ for a month. Spoiler alert: It didn’t turn out to be a good experience. This experience is featured in the documentary ‘What are we feeding our children?’ was part of During this experiment, Dr. Tolkien ate a diet in which 80 percent of his calories came from ultra-processed foods. This is a ratio that is becoming increasingly common in high-income countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the United States.

Processed foods and the human body

At the end of the month, Dr. Tolkien reported less sleep, heartburn, heartburn, lethargy, constipation, piles, and a weight gain of seven kilograms. “I felt ten years older,” he said. He added that he realized it was all because of the food, and it wasn’t until ‘I stopped eating that food.’ Another study conducted alongside Dr. Tolkien’s experiment has given some scientific reasons for this.

The study showed that compared to people who ate a low UPF diet, those who ate the ultra-processed diet ate 500 more calories per day. It also showed an increase in hormones responsible for hunger and a decrease in the hormone that makes us feel full, or fullness, which explains why many people overeat and gain weight. Raised. But weight gain is one of the problems associated with a high UPF diet. Several other studies have shown a link between long-term consumption of the UPF diet and heart disease, obesity, both types of diabetes, some cancers and even depression.

The study also found that UPF has an impact on our diet. People who ate a diet high in UPF ate faster than those who ate a diet with little processed food. Another study conducted in the past found slow eaters to be fuller and calmer. But Dr. Tolkien also admits that ultra-processed food ‘was easily chewed and swallowed.’

Food and nutrition scientist Dr. Emma Beckett can understand. ‘Ultra-processed foods are tastier.’ As a nutritionist, he has many simple explanations.

Our love of fat and carbohydrates or starchy foods is an ‘evolutionary hangover’, she says. ‘When ‘natural’ selection selected our sense of taste, energy and salt sources were scarce.’

For our ancestors, she says, ‘sweetness and umami (a salty taste) were indicative of indirect energy sources, carbohydrates and protein, respectively. “Salt is likely to cause starvation because it is necessary in small quantities but historically was not readily available.”

But a factor perhaps no less important than evolution is the production process behind these ultra-processed foods. Dr Beckett explains, ‘These products are often designed to hit our ‘bliss points’. The perfect level of salt, fat and/or sugar and the point where your senses are overwhelmed, and you don’t want anything else, is just as close to the specific sensation point for siri.’ In other words, ultra-processed foods are messing with our brains.

Effects of ultraprocessed foods on the brain

Dr Tolkien admits that ‘Eating ultra-processed food has become something my brain just tells me about, even if I don’t need it. In fact, scans of their brain activity show that the parts of the brain responsible for reward have merged with the parts that control repetitive, automatic behavior. Basically, their mind was addicted to ultra-processed food. Dr. Tolkien also admits that ‘one of the side effects of really tasty food is that it becomes really hard to stop eating it.’

Dr. Beckett also says that UPFs create a mechanism called ‘optimism’.

‘Positive feelings for junk food affect us immediately,’ she says. But negative effects take time to build up. It is easy for us to believe that we will have time to change (our eating habits) later, or that the outcome was inevitable anyway.’ Simply put: you’ll love it now, but you’ll regret it later.

As if they needed more help getting us addicted, the aggressive marketing of these foods imprints them even more deeply on our minds, Dr. Beckett says. ‘Many of our food choices are unconscious and habitual. We don’t always consciously think about health. The more we see it in stores, in the media, and in advertisements, the more likely we are to buy it.

Why are there ultra-processed foods?

After considering the whole situation, the question arises, if UPFs are such a health hazard, why are they? “In the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating, we call these foods ‘discretionary foods’ because they are choices, not necessities,” Dr Beckett says.

But she says those who have a choice need to remember that ‘not everyone is in a position to make healthy food choices. Ultra-processed foods last longer, are easier to transport, and take less time to prepare. These can be a good balance option when we’re short on time or cash.

For more updates and exciting news, you can visit the ABC Express website.