A new study out of The Ohio State University has found that a diet heavy in highly processed foods (or “ultra-processed”) may be linked to memory loss issues, which can eventually progress to an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Of course, a diet full of highly processed foods has also been linked to other health issues, specifically obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.
What’s most concerning is that 70% of the average American diet is highly processed foods and almost all of the added sugar that Americans eat comes from those foods. Remember: we recently discussed on this blog how much of a problem sugar is becoming, and how it’s hurting our mental health.
But what are highly processed foods? According to Harvard Medical School, they are “made mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats. They may also contain additives like artificial colors and flavors or stabilizers. Examples of these foods are frozen meals, soft drinks, hot dogs and cold cuts, fast food, packaged cookies, cakes, and salty snacks.”
3 Tips to Limit Highly Processed Food Intake
So how do we cut back on highly processed food? Most of us know just how bad it is for our health, but if it was easy to simply cut out of the equation, the consumption rate wouldn’t be as high as it is; we’d all cut back immediately. Here are some tips to help:
- Buy Less Highly Processed Food – It’s a lot easier to stay away from highly processed foods if you don’t have them readily available in the pantry. Instead, buy fresh fruits and vegetables as well as nuts to snack on when you get that late-night craving.
- Read The Nutrition Labels – This is where you can really learn a lot about what you’re putting into your body, and it may surprise you that some foods aren’t what you think they are. For example, did you know that most popular pancake syrups aren’t actually maple syrup at all? Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup is basically just high fructose corn syrup, more corn syrup, water, and coloring.
- Follow The 50% Rule – Strive for half of your plate consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables each time you sit down to eat. These “real” foods have vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, while also being great sources of fiber.
If you’re one of those people that relies heavily on highly processed foods throughout the day, it’s in the best interest of your health to start limiting those as soon as possible. Additionally, with the nutritional levels of those foods essentially depleted, it’s a great idea to add a vitamin, mineral, and amino acid supplement such as EMPowerPlus Advanced to your regimen as well. EMPowerPlus Advanced is the most studied micronutrient formula in the world and provides a broad spectrum, highly absorbable range of nutrients that are essential to brain function.