Stuffing Chips - © Michael Moss - Salt Sugar Fat Book

Processed Foods Convenient and Cheap But Fattening

A new study from George Washington University (GWU) suggest that the prevalence of Processed Foods in today’s Western Diet is linked directly to the obesity epidemic. But it’s not the Food, itself, that’s the culprit – it’s the easy availability, convenience and low cost that draw folks to it…

Fast Food Boy - © 2013 teeh.irHighly Processed Foods are everywhere today, and we’re getting fat
on them because they’re convenient and relatively cheap…

The message is not new, but the degree of urgency behind it is.

Dr. Leigh Frame of GWU, Co-author of a new study on Processed Foods, says her team’s recently-published work comparing North American diets with those of folks in regions of the world where people routinely live to 100 or more without suffering chronic diseases shows stark differences.

“Many of the food trends we reviewed are tied directly to a fast-paced U.S. lifestyle that contributes to the obesity epidemic we are now facing.”

The obesity epidemic, in turn, has led to an upsurge in chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. And the end result is, people in North America are, on the whole, dying younger than their parents. for the first time in more than a hundred years.

According to an abstract of the report: “The foods most associated with weight gain include potato chips, sugar sweetened beverages, sweets and desserts, refined grains, red meats, and processed meats, while lower weight gain or even weight loss is associated with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Other food trends outlined in the report include insufficient dietary fiber intake, a dramatic increase in food additives like emulsifiers and gums, and a higher prevalence of obesity, particularly in women.”

Ultra-processed foods have been linked, in other recent studies, “to decreased satiety (fullness), increased meal eating rates (speed), worsening biochemical markers, including inflammation and cholesterol, and more weight gain,” the abstract states.

Folks in regions where lives are, on average, longer and healthier tend to follow diets that are low in Processed Foods and Animal Proteins, and higher in Fibre.

“Rather than solely treating the symptoms of obesity and related diseases with medication, we need to include efforts to use food as medicine,” says Frame. “Chronic disease in later years is not predestined, but heavily influenced by lifestyle and diet. Decreasing obesity and chronic disease in the U.S. will require limiting processed foods and increasing intake of whole vegetables, legumes, nuts, fruits, and water. Health care providers must also emphasize lifestyle medicine, moving beyond ‘a pill for an ill.’ “

Just one more brick in the wall proclaiming that eating fresh and reducing animal proteins can make a huge difference in your life…

~ Maggie J.