You are probably thinking of eating “clean” and reducing your consumption of processed foods. By choosing to consume food in its most natural state and eliminating processed products, especially highly processed ones Like the potato chips, cookies, cold cuts or cold cuts and sodas in your diet, your body will undergo some adjustments.
But, before continuing, what exactly is a processed food? “Foods that have been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or modified in their nutritional composition with fortification, preservation or preparation in different ways,” says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
There are different levels of processing, from minimally processed to highly processed, the latter being the least healthy.
What happens to your body when you stop eating highly processed foods?
1. You could be irritable or have headaches (only at first)
By leaving processed foods, for the first few days you may experience symptoms such as anxiety, bloating, cravings, and headaches. it usually happens mainly due to the withdrawal of sugar. This will depend on how much you were consuming processed foods and your addiction to sugar. The symptoms will disappear, the body will get used to the lack of added sugar, salt and other ingredients.
2. You can lose weight
Processed foods have a lot of extra “empty” calories, high amounts of added sugar and sodium. They generally lack fiber and nutrients to help you feel full, which can also cause you to overeat. Eliminating the consumption of highly processed foods with their refined flours, fats and sugars, can help you lose weight.
3. It will improve your digestive health
Eating more whole foods instead of processed ones can help your digestive health. Highly processed foods are high in unwanted food additives and preservatives that disrupt healthy bacteria in the gut. When the balance between good and bad bacteria is disrupted, disease can occur, shares Harvard Health.
At the beginning, the consumption of fiber encourages a healthy intestinal microbiota. Fiber also helps food move through the digestive system, promoting regularity and preventing constipation.
4. Some foods will seem too sweet or too salty.
If you cut down on foods high in sodium and sugar, over time, your taste buds will adapt. Foods with added sugar or salt may actually taste too sweet or salty.
Cutting back on processed foods could change the intensity with which you taste certain flavors, according to Harvard Medical School. People on low sodium diets may prefer the taste of foods without salt.
5. You will be able to sleep better
Consuming more added sugars affects sleep quality and leads to shorter sleep times, more nighttime awakenings. Eating a healthy and balanced diet low in refined sugar, salt, and saturated fat can increase energy levels during the day and help you sleep better at night, según la National Sleep Foundation.
6. You will be less bloated
Highly processed foods are often high in sodium, which can cause bloating. The reason is that your kidneys retain extra water to make up for the extra sodium that was ingested. This swelling may be most noticeable in the hands and feet. So stopping processed foods can mean less bloating.
The World Health Organization recommends consuming less than 2 grams of sodium a day, which is equivalent to 5 grams of salt (a little less than a teaspoon).
7. You will reduce the risk of diseases
In the long term, cutting back on processed foods could lower cholesterol, the risk of cancer, as well as decrease inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
Processed meats increase the risk of colon cancer.
High sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and inflammation in the body according to the American Heart Association. But it also slows down the cells of the immune system that attack bacteria, explains the medical journal WebMD.
Consuming sodium in excess is associated with hypertension, an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you want to minimize your intake of processed foods, try preparing and cooking more food at home. Basing meals on whole foods, including vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.