Which processed foods you should definitely avoid?


It is not a secret anymore that most of the processed foods are bad for our health. Research has shown us over the past years that processed foods are responsible for different types of conditions, the most common being obesity, diabetes and heart disease. But not all the processed foods are bad. Here is a list of processed foods you should try to avoid as much as possible.

(1) Refined grains: Choosing refined grains such as white bread, rolls, sugary low-fiber cereal, white rice, or white pasta over whole grains can boost your heart attack risk by up to 30 percent. At least seven major studies show that women and men who eat more whole grains (including dark bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals, popcorn, cooked oatmeal, brown rice, bran, and other grains like bulgur or kasha) have 20 to 30 percent less heart disease. In contrast, those who opt for refined grains have more heart attacks, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure.

(2) Salt: Three-quarters of the sodium in our diets isn’t from the saltshaker. It’s hidden in processed foods, such as canned vegetables and soups, condiments like soy sauce, fast-food burgers (and fries, of course), and cured or preserved meats like bacon, ham, and deli turkey. Some sodium occurs naturally in unprocessed edibles, including milk, beets, celery, even some drinking water. And that’s a good thing: Sodium is necessary for life. It helps regulate blood pressure, maintains the body’s fluid balance, transmits nerve impulses, makes muscles — including your heart — contract, and keeps your senses of taste, smell, and touch working properly. What happens when you eat more salt than your body needs? Your body retains fluid simply to dilute the extra sodium in your bloodstream. This raises blood volume, forcing your heart to work harder; at the same time, it makes veins and arteries constrict. The combination raises blood pressure.

(3) High-fructose corn syrup: Compared to traditional sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup costs less to make, is sweeter to the taste, and mixes more easily with other ingredients. Research is beginning to suggest that this liquid sweetener may upset the human metabolism, raising the risk for heart disease and diabetes. Researchers say that high-fructose corn syrup’s chemical structure encourages overeating. It also seems to force the liver to pump more heart-threatening triglycerides into the bloodstream. In addition, fructose may zap your body’s reserves of chromium, a mineral important for healthy levels of cholesterol, insulin, and blood sugar.

(4) Trans fats: Trans fats are in moist bakery muffins and crispy crackers, microwave popcorn and fast-food French fries, even the stick margarine you may rely on as a “heart-healthy” alternative to saturated-fat-laden butter. Trans fats are worse for your heart than saturated fats because they boost your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease “good” HDL cholesterol. That’s double trouble for your arteries....

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