What is processed food?
In this context, process foods are those that are not only mechanically processed but also chemically processed. Most items at the store that are packaged in boxes, cans, bags, or bottles are processed. They need to be processed to be edible and to lengthen shelf life.
Chips, crackers, cereals, breads, canned vegetables, frozen pre-made items like pizzas and microwave meals are just a few examples of processed foods.
Vegetable oils such as corn, cottonseed, soybean, canola or safflower are commonly used in processed foods and can include chemical extraction, bleaching, and deodorizing.
Why should you avoid them?
If you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you need to cut back, or better, eliminate processed foods. Many processed foods contain relatively large amounts of sugar. High sugar intake has been linked to cardiovascular disease mortality.
They also contain vegetable oils and unnatural transfats (hydrogenated oils) which are linked to heart disease. Trans fats and sugar consumption lead to an increase in inflammation affecting the body’s immune response leading to disease.
Trans fats are cheap and have a long shelf life which is why they are used in processed foods. One U.S. study that analyzed store-bought soybean and canola oils found that 0.56% to 4.2% of the fats were trans fats, without any indication on the packaging. If a food contains up to 0.49 gram of trans fats per serving, it will read as zero grams of trans fats on the label.
Training and processed foods
With the body’s immunity burdened, it will hinder recovery after training. This is a response you cannot out exercise. To prevent this type of inflammation, diet must be altered. You want to get the most out of your training and a good diet will help you maximize results from your gym time. In order to avoid trans fats and excess sugar, the best thing you can do is eliminate processed foods from your diet.
In following posts I will explore in more detail fats, inflammation, nutrition, and training.