There is a high perception that processed foods are only those stored in microwaves and fridges. The true definition of processed foods is any food that has been altered from its natural condition in one way or another. The alteration normally comes about because of safety reasons or because of conveniences by people. It means that people consume processed food without their knowledge. The current world is characterized by the use of electronic gadgets such as microwaves and fridges which makes work easier in the kitchen. This results to people eating processed foods without their knowledge. Processed foods are not necessarily unhealthy. However, any food that has been processed contains a high concentration of sugar, salt, or fat. An advantage of cooking food at home is because one knows that amount of sugar, salt, and fat that they will add to the food (Ludwig 507). However, some of the foods cooked at home sometimes contained processed ingredients.
One of the rich products of processed foods is sugar. According to nutritionists, sugar is the source of energy. Normally, refines sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose are added to soft drinks such juices, yoghurts, among others. When refined sugars are used in small amounts, they do not harm the health of a person. When sugar is used in excessive amounts, it poses a high risk of contracting diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay. A high intake of sugars in processed foods increases the level of sugar in the body. The high level of sugar give people that feeling of ‘good high’ which results to crashing slums which leaves a person tired, ill-tempered, and hunger for more sugary foods. It is this vicious cycle that makes people continue consuming sugary foods and contract the diseases such as obesity (Ludwig 510).
It is important to note that many of the ingredients involved in preparing processed foods have been linked to obesity and cancer. Some of the ingredients include artificial colorings, nitrites, and preservatives. These ingredients in turn contain certain amounts of sugars. In fact, people cannot run away from processed foods because nutritionists argue that any food that has been canned, frozen, boxed, or bagged, has been processed. Some of these processed foods contain high amounts of carbohydrates. It is well known that the highest element in carbohydrates is sugar. According to a research in Canada which involved about 1800 women, 57% of the women who consumed refined carbohydrate were 220% likely to suffer from diabetes and obesity (Drewnowski 164). This is because of the high quantities of fructose corn syrup which is present in carbohydrates. When a person consumes so much sugar, the insulin in the body will no-longer be able to control the sugar levels within the body. The inability of the insulin to control the sugar level results to diabetes (Drewnowski 169).
When one consumes much processed foods it means that the body will have much sugar in the liver. When the level of sugar in the liver is exceeded, the excess sugar is converted into fatty acids. The fatty acids will then be returned to the bloodstream where the body takes and stores it. The fatty acid is stored in the body as fat. The fats are then stored as adipose cells in the regions of the body like hips, stomach, breasts, and the bowels. When these regions are full of adipose tissue, the fats are then spilled over and transferred to other parts of the body such as the heart, liver, and the kidneys (Ludwig 509). The fats reduces the ability of the organs to function well, they then raise the blood pressure while decreasing the rate of metabolism in the body. Evidently, the high sugar level causes obesity and other malfunctions in the body.
High sugar levels in processed foods also causes obesity by causing resistance to a hormone called leptin. In the body of human beings, the hormone is secreted by fat cells. This implies that the bigger the fat cell the higher the level of leptin secreted. When food is eaten, some of it is stored in the fat cells. This makes the fat cells bigger and secretes much leptin. The higher the level of leptin in the body, the higher the energy the body has; which implies that people are not hungry. Increased level of leptin in the body also makes a person release much from the fat stores which leads to an increase in the metabolic rate. When one consumes a lot of processed foods, the fructose in the foods jeopardizes the activities of leptin (Johnson 99). This implies that the brain will no longer notice the level of fat in the system. Therefore, one will feel hungry more often which implies more uptake of sugary foods i.e. processed foods. The more one takes sugary foods, the more the body accumulates the fats, which leads to one becoming obese.
It is clear that consuming much processed foods may result to obesity and diabetes. However, not all carbohydrates contains high amount of sugars. There are those that one may consume and avoid de-stabilizing the blood sugar levels. The carbohydrates are known not to increase the amounts of fats in the body or sabotaging the operations of insulin then causing diabetes. Some of them are: apples, grapes, oranges, bananas, among others. In short, people should consider consuming only natural foods. The consumption of sugary foods is addictive therefore consuming processed foods will set a powerful biochemical drive to consume more sugary stuff. The level of fat intake then increases while little in burnt (Johnson 103).
Ludwig, David S., Karen E. Peterson, and Steven L. Gortmaker. "Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis." The Lancet 357.9255 (2001): 505-508.
Drewnowski, Adam. "The real contribution of added sugars and fats to obesity." Epidemiologic reviews 29.1 (2007): 160-171.
Johnson, Richard J., et al. "Hypothesis: could excessive fructose intake and uric acid cause type 2 diabetes?." Endocrine reviews 30.1 (2009): 96-116.