Medical research has recently linked ultra-processed convenience foods with premature death. The findings, published on line in JAMA Internal Medicine and reported by Medscape state that:
“Ultraprocessed foods include mass-produced, ready-to-eat foods such as packaged snacks, sugary drinks, breads, candies, ready-made meals and processed meats. Such foods usually contain “empty calories” and have a high caloric content with little nutritional value. They are low in fiber and high in carbohydrates, saturated fats and salt. Usually, they contain food additives and contaminants that may be harmful to health, including some that may be carcinogenic, according to the authors.”
Diseases associated with these foods include obesity, hypertension and cancer. The struggle with weight gain is often related to convenient foods that are fast and easy to prepare, requiring only a visit to a drive-through restaurant or the opening of a prepared meal from the grocer.
In addition to the added sugars and processed fats in these foods, they tend to be calorie-dense and contain chemicals to enhance their visual attractiveness and lengthen their shelf life.
You can make a difference in your life and the lives of your family members by making the effort to avoid fast foods and preparing whole fresh foods at home. By planning your menus and following your grocery list you’ll reduce your impulse purchases and have what you need on hand.
Processed foods are easy to avoid if you don’t have them in the house; shop the perimeter of the grocery where most of the whole foods are found like meat, fruits, vegetables, eggs and cheeses. Embrace the idea of having more fresh fruits and vegetables within reach. Wash and prepare them for ease of consumption and plan to use them before they spoil. Use leftovers for lunch the next day or even for dinner the following night. You’ll throw out less food, be less temped to grab a fast food lunch and you’ll lower your expenses.
These tips can improve wellness for everyone, from those in tip top condition to those just starting their journey toward optimal health. In addition, you may discover a new and enjoyable family pastime, cooking together at home!