Most Americans are addicted to ultra-processed food or those foods full of preservatives. Unfortunately, it comes with a lot of health risks that are slowly killing them. This pandemic, being obese has never been more dangerous as they are more susceptible to getting infected with a severe type, and added with comorbidities, like cardiovascular diseases, they have an increased risk of dying.
Diet-Related Complications Worsening Pandemic Situation in the US
According to an article in Newsweek, the high numbers of diet-related diseases in the US had caused an alarm to the government with some of them even calling upon regulators to rein in food companies. The government is trying to push for measures that will curb the influence of food, especially on young children, and actively discourage the consumption of sugar.
Neuroscientists believed that ultra-processed food is often designed to target the parts of the brain responsible for pleasure to exploit pleasurable sensations and deliver a signal to the reward center, making it addictive like opioids or nicotine.
These types of foods are modified to maximize flavor, color, texture, and speed at which they are digested. Ultra-processed food is made by deconstructing the natural food into its chemical form and modifying them by combining new forms that bear little resemblance to the original food found in nature.
Some of this ultra-processed food are chips, hotdogs, enriched bagels, and American cheese, which are all American breakfast staples since the 1980s. As the years goes by, it even multiplied to fast food chains that account for the 57% of calories an average American consumes based on a study conducted in 21 to 2002.
How to Stop Eating Ultra-Processed Food?
Food processing is the process of converting any natural food into a new form, such as canned, cooked, frozen, pasteurized, or packaged foods. Although many processed food can be enjoyed at healthy portions, ultra-processed food may cause obesity or lead to more serious health concerns.
Reducing intake of ultra-processed food is highly recommended to maintain good health and achieve longer life. Here’s a list of the things to accomplish that according to Healthline:
- Stack kitchens with nutritious snacks, like fresh fruits or mixed nuts
- Eat whole grains instead of refined grains
- Recreate healthy foods
- Avoid sugary beverages, and drink water instead
- Prepare your meals instead of hitting the drive-thru
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- When grocery shopping, fill up the cart with healthy and minimally processed foods
- Try healthy food swaps
- Cut back on processed meat
- Slowly make minor lifestyle changes