Friday, June 17, 2016

Cut Out Ultra Processed Food

This is going to be a hard blog post for some of us to read - trust me.... oh trust me, It was a very very hard one to write.

But hard things need to be said and some times (often times, Hard things, just need to be done)

I believe ALL of us can make at least once of these changes... and then work towards making, another one, and then you'll have made two, and then another and if you mess up, That's okay, make another good choice instead.

One of the beautiful things about healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle is that is a progress, you always just try and be a little bit better, embrace that you'll never be perfect, because there is NO SUCH THING as nutritionally perfect. but there is almost always a way that something can be made a little bit better. So try that, make it a bit better.

I want to talk to you about making your life better by cutting out Ultra Processed Food. 

In my mind, this means that items and chemicals and "ingredients" that met in a factory and were changed and added and subtracted and altered and colored and messed with until they no longer ARE food - and then a picture of a food is put on the package, and they sell it in a food store, and they tell you it is going to taste like food, but DO Not Be Fooled - this item stopped being Food a long long time ago.

Americans are getting most of their calories and sugar from a specific type of food. According to a new study, almost 60 percent of all calories and 90 percent of all added sugar in a typical American diet come from ultra-processed foods.  ((WHAT?!? Do you need to read that again? 60 percent of calories and 90 percent of added sugar)) I might need to lay down with a cool rag on my forehead.

Researchers for the cross-sectional study used dietary data from more than 9,000 people from the 2009-10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Details are published in BMJ Open.

What does ultra-processed mean?

It means these foods contain ingredients you’d never use if you were doing the food prep.

"Ultra processed foods are by definition formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations,” Dr. Scott Schreiber, a certified nutrition specialist and licensed dietitian/nutritionist.

“In particular,” he continued, “flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product — these preparations are not even food. They have been altered and manipulated to become artery clogging, blood sugar raising, cancer causing substances that Americans are eating every day.”

** I am going to need to lay down Again with a cold rag on my head - They add chemicals to make the "food" seem like....  Food, and then they add chemicals to disguise gross things about that "food". 

In the study, added sugars accounted for 21.1 percent of calories in ultra-processed foods. That’s eight times higher than processed foods and five times higher than what you’ll find in unprocessed or minimally processed foods and processed culinary ingredients grouped together.

The researchers found a strong association between ultra-processed foods and overall dietary intake of added sugars. People who ate more ultra-processed foods tended to exceed the recommended upper limit of 10 percent of energy from added sugars. The only people whose sugar intake fell below the maximum recommended limit were those whose ultra-processed food consumption fell within the lowest 20 percent.

Ultra-processed foods laden with sugar contribute to weight gain and obesity, which can lead to a host of health problems, including tooth decay, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They also fill up our bellies so we’re less likely to eat the nutritious foods we need.

That was a lot of complicated and really scary talk. But I hope it made some type of connection with you.  So what do you need to know now?

Items considered to be ultra-processed include some:

soft drinks
breakfast cereals
packaged baked goods
frozen meals
sweet or savory packaged snacks
instant noodles and soup
chicken and fish nuggets and other reconstituted meat products

Be a label reader…and make a clean sweep

The most important thing a consumer can do is flip the box over and read the ingredient label.

Don't be afraid, it might be confusing the first 20 times, but at time 21... you are going to get it! and even if you only notice one this on that label that leads you to make a better choice - then you ARE doing it!  You're reading labels and making better choices on what you are reading!

Here is a list of things you want to keep your eyes out for. These are Not good for you - 

high fructose corn syrup
partially hydrogenated oils
artificial colors and flavors
artificial sweeteners
abbreviated chemical preservatives like TBHQ, BHT, BHA, BVO, and EDTA, among others
Foods containing these chemicals are truly ultra-processed and shouldn’t be eaten

Are you nervous to stand in the store and read a label....  Take a deep breath and stand in your kitchen. Read some labels. Don't be surprised when you find things that I am saying you shouldn't be eating ( I WOULD find some things that I am saying that I shouldn't be eating). 

But take some of this time to be aware of the good choices that you are making too.  Do you have some dried fruit in your pantry, perhaps raisins? Do you have some fresh veggies in your fridge, perhaps some carrots?  Look at some things that you feel like, "You know, I could make a better choice than that" and look as some other things and realize....  I don't need to be bringing that poison into my home anymore. I don't need it, my family doesn't need it, and I can't afford it! either in my wallet or my body.