Why You Need To Avoid These 10 Processed Foods

Have you ever wondered what’s wrong with the society?

I mean, why are so many people morbidly obese, even children? We live in a country where even poor people are orca-fat. Don’t you think that’s somehow strange?

For example, approximately 20 percent of Americans die from obesity-related diseases, including cardiovascular problems, various cancers, depression, dementia and Type 2 diabetes, to name just a few. And here processed foods come into play. If you’re old enough, you probably remember how “back in the day”, not so long ago, most of our daily diets consisted of fresh and locally grown foods.

Nowadays, everybody eats “out”, whether they order “Chinese food” or pizza or whatever at home, or in restaurants, in the school cafeteria or at work. The problem is that this type of “diet” consists of mostly junk food, also known as processed food, a food filled with chemical preservatives and additives, sugars and all sorts of highly processed vegetable fats.

What is processed food?

Basically, processed food is the opposite of fresh, whole foods, which incidentally is what our ancestors used to eat for thousands of years. I understand, there’s nothing more satisfying than eating junk food while binge-watching the latest season of Game of Thrones on Netflix. However, overeating processed foods will put a significant dent in your life span, and you can take this to the bank.

In the “current year”, more than half of our “western diet” calories comes from processed foods, also known as fake foods. And the demand for crap-food is increasing year over year actually, hence the industry of packaged foods is thriving. Nestle, McDonalds and other crap-food industry giants are expanding aggressively all over the world, and people get hooked on their “drugs” even in places like China, India or even Ghana. Why? Because junk processed foods are cheap and they provide you with tons of empty calories in a matter of seconds.

Low price and convenience, that’s the secret of processed foods, and the end result is a costly yet increasingly common health issue. I am talking obviously about obesity. Almost 20 percent of American children are now obese, and the figure is raising fast. More than 40 percent of adults are in the same situation. I mean, not overweight, but obese. Just 20 years ago, the respective figures were 14 percent for children and 30 percent for adults, which means the problem is only getting worse by the day.

According to various scientific studies, the obesity epidemic is closely related to the American public’s love/hate affair with processed foods, high-carb diets, sodas and a sedentary life-style. Obesity is on the path of overtaking smoking as the main cause of cancer deaths in North America, and according to recent statistics, millenials are already more prone to develop obesity related cancers than previous generations. Speaking of cancer, half a million people die of obesity related cancers worldwide, and the number is growing slowly but surely.

Belly fat in adults is associated with various health risks, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. According to a recent study published in Lancet by the American Cancer Society, obesity related cancers are on the rise among millenials at a much higher rate compared to baby boomers, and the vast majority is obesity related, including kidney, endometrial, pancreatic, gallbladder and multiple myeloma. Here’s from the study:

“The obesity epidemic over the past 40 years has led to younger generations experiencing an earlier and longer lasting exposure to excess adiposity over their lifetime than previous generations. Excess body weight is a known carcinogen, associated with more than a dozen cancers and suspected in several more … Investigators led by Hyuna Sung, Ph.D., analyzed 20 years of incidence data (1995-2014) for 30 cancers … covering 67 percent of the population of the U.S…Incidence increased for 6 of the 12 obesity-related cancers … in young adults and in successively younger birth cohorts in a stepwise manner. For example, the risk of colorectal, uterine corpus [endometrial], pancreas and gallbladder cancers in millennials is about double the rate baby boomers had at the same age …”

It goes without saying that the obesity epidemic is a real health crisis which is definitely fueled by the dramatic changes in our daily diets from the past 30-40 years. When people switch their diet from traditional whole/fresh foods to processed/fake foods (including processed sugar, white flour and bad vegetable oils), systemic health issues are inevitable, and today’s society is living proof of that.

What’s wrong with the modern diet?

That’s an easy one: over the last 2 centuries, we’ve upped our sugar intake from 2 pounds per year to a whopping 152 pounds. Ideally speaking, we should get ten percent tops of our daily calorie intake from sugar, but the real figure is 30+ percent, everything based on a 2000 calorie diet.  The ten percent goal is quasi-impossible to achieve if you’re eating processed foods on a daily basis. A mere 7.5 percent of the US population meets the 10 percent max recommendation by the way. Just to give you an idea about what’s going on, you’d have to walk briskly for half an hour to burn off the calories contained in a 12 ounce soda. How often do you do that?

To make things even more interesting, you’d be looking at a 75 minute walk for a piece of apple pie, and you’d probably have to run circles around the globe after a trip at Burger King, KFC or McDonalds. I am only exaggerating for dramatic effect, but high diet carbs, with an emphasis on junk food and soda consumption, are particularly harmful for children, and just as risky as smoking in terms of increased cancer risk. America saw a 20 percent calorie increase between 1970 and 2009, which means 425 calories per day on average. And yes, sugar in junk foods is the main culprit, along with shamelessly advertising crap food to children. Junk food giants like McDonalds and Burger King often add dangerous chemicals, salt and sugar to their foods in order to attract more customers, as these substances are known for triggering people’s appetites, with the end result being our health getting destroyed, as these substances kill beneficial gut bacteria while making us fat and miserable.

As processed food has become the new normal, so has obesity, diabetes in children and other chronic illness. Sixty percent of the food we eat is actually “ultra-processed”, and if you’re wondering about what that means, think along the lines of  “food” you can buy at a gas station.

If you’re insulin resistant and overweight, struggling with chronic disease, the first thing on your “to-do” list should be to drop processed foods altogether, along with cutting down hard on your refined sugar consumption.  As an interesting factoid, the US health system spends over $1 trillion (that’s 1000 billion) on treating junk food/sugar related diseases annually.

Basically, everything that doesn’t come directly from the ground, vine, tree or bush is a processed food. Not all processed foods are equal, as some are minimally processed, such as frozen fruit for example, and some are significantly processed, like chips, soda, pizza or microwave meals, which are the definition of “ultra-processed” foods. There’s also a dramatic difference in the amount of added sugar between ultra-processed foods and minimally processed foods. Unprocessed foods like eggs, fruit, raw meats and vegetables contain zero refined/added sugar. Processed foods are usually dried, baked, canned, frozen or pasteurized.

Here are the top ten processed foods to avoid

They contain the most chemicals/preservatives to increase shelf life, along with toxic ingredients such as hydrogenated oils, trans fats, maltose, dextrose, refined sugar and various other “additives”.

First, there’s bacon, which is delicious, I know,  but modern “commercially available“ bacon is pumped-up with high levels of salt, saturated fat and carcinogenic preservatives, including nitrates.

Second, we have the famous so-called healthy granola bars, which are bursting with added sugar, and despite the aggressive marketing, they are not healthier than a Snickers or Mars bar. Just take a look at the impossible to pronounce words on the ingredients list and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Flavored nuts are also a no-no, as they contain massive amounts of salt and sugar; the same goes for microwave pop-corn, as you’ll get more than you bargained for in the shape and form of Perfluoroalkyls, a common food additive which is highly toxic, along with massive doses of saturated fat and salt. Dried fruit and fruit snacks are also marketed as the “healthy option” to candy and cookies, but the truth is, they’re inaccurately named food, as they are filled to the brim with artificial sweeteners. If you want to eat healthy sweets, go for real fruit instead, like bananas, mangos, kiwis, grapes etc.

Margarine is yet another improperly named food, and the funny thing is that margarine was marketed as the safe alternative to butter, which is kind of hilarious. Margarine is basically a highly processed fake food, and contains massive amounts of the unhealthiest fats of all, trans fats respectively, which are linked to heart disease and stroke. Ketchup is one of America’s favorite “condiments”, yet it spells bad news, as modern ketchup is basically devoid of any nutritional value; instead of “food”, you’ll get a strange goo composed mostly of sugar and dubious chemicals marketed as tomatoes. Frozen dinners and instant ramen are also to be avoided like the plague; just check out the ingredient list, it sounds like gibberish if you don’t have a PhD in biochemistry.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t eat something you don’t understand, that’s a good rule for life, to quote that strange Jordan Peterson character. You should avoid at all costs artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, vegetable oils, trans fats, monosodium glutamate or MSG, artificial colors/food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, food preservatives which are found in instant noodles, chewing gum, breakfast cereals, soft drinks, deli meats, baked goods etc, and genetically engineered ingredients/foods. I know, it sounds like a lot, but every 1000 miles journey starts with the first step.

The general rule of thumb is: don’t eat it if you cannot pronounce it. Make a habit from reading food labels and always choose fresh meat/veggies/fruit instead of canned/frozen ones. Processed foods are basically engineered to make you overeat, as the chemical substances inside are designed to trigger a powerful reward response in your brain, i.e. it’s very easy to overeat processed foods. Have you ever “overdosed” on freshly cooked meat, fruit or veggies?

Also, processed foods are designed to be addictive, as they stimulate the brain release of dopamine, which makes you feel good even if you ingest nothing more than empty calories. For example, Oreo cookies were found to be as addictive as morphine or cocaine.

Bottom line

if you want to live a long and happy life, eat real food, and you’ll see your health improving, as diet is the key factor in regard to one’s longevity and health. I hope the article helped. If you have suggestions or comments, let us know your thoughts in the dedicated section below.

Written by

Chris Black is a born and bred survivalist. He used to work as a contractor for an intelligence service but now he is retired and living off the grid, as humanly possible. An internet addict and a gun enthusiast, a libertarian with a soft spot for the bill of rights and the Constitution, a free market idealist, he doesn't seem very well adjusted for the modern world. You can send Chris a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.

Latest comments
  • I can’t disagree with anything you say. Yet I do eat some of the “bad” foods. Not much, and not often, but sometimes a sausage egg McMuffin just hits the spot. On the other hand, I rarely watch TV and spend most of my time out of doors. I go to the gym three days a week and enjoy hiking. So, I think it has to be a balance. To challenge people with those ten no-nos pretty much defeats them at the start. Get out doors. Do something physical that you enjoy. Eat something genuinely healthy when you can. Drink water and try hard to limit your sweet drinks. You’ll start to find the less healthy options are becoming less appealing without actually denying yourself anything. Above all else, get off your ass and do something!

  • We are presently living longer, aren’t we? And within a hundred years all of us will die of something, won’t we? And being well-fed, or well-nourished, or eating to contentment, none of that will eventually mean anything, correct?. One or two Okinawan, let’s say, live to over a hundred or so. What quality of live do you suppose is enjoyed come that number of years? Stimulating days and nights. rewarding creativity? Great sex? Fabulous travels – physically or mentally? Or just being an oddity and conversation piece for the curious? No kidding ourselves; none of us will be made immortal by our diet. We keep on going, then we’re gone, all of us, within a hundred years, or less. But we should make the best of the good times and be good to ourselves and to each other. Here, a glass of good wine to your life and mine – however long.

    • So very true, Les. I like your reply. The reality of it, gets lost on most people, sadly.

    • No, les, I think your attitude is misinformed. Just because we’re all going to die eventually is no reason to eat food that makes you sickly sooner. If I eat poorly, I feel bad within hours, maybe even minutes. I don’t worry about lifespan, I just want to feel better for as long as possible starting today. And by the way, there is no good wine, it all has alcohol in it, don’t waste your time, money, & health on that snob appeal booze or any other booze. But yes, of course do be kind to yourself and every one you meet, especially children. Your food attitude is just a way of excusing self-indulgence. Eating healthy food in moderate amounts does make a difference to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Many people use food to salve their emotions, it is the most common addiction. Over-eating, and eating addictive foods is substitute for healing your childhood wounds, or easing loneliness, anxiety, or other pain, it is very much like drug addiction. But hey, if it keeps you from killing yourself, I guess it’s better than sudden suicide.

  • I haven’t turned on my TV in almost a month. That being said, I have lost over 6 lbs and think it’s because I’m not bombarded with Junk Food commercials and I’m not sitting in front of the idiot box. I get out more and have more energy, not to mention, I’m getting a heck of a lot more done and not eating as much.

    Unfortunately, our society, as a whole, is LAZY! They don’t know how to go grocery shopping and if they do most don’t buy anything you have to cook. Just add water is the norm or just open a can, go through the drive-thru. It’s sad really.

    Life in the fast lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m a cancer survivor and the #1 reason I ended up with cancer was diet & lifestyle. Sucks but that’s the truth. Eating a better diet and getting more exercise is a LOT less expensive, both on the wallet as well as your body.

  • Pretty good article and oh how I loved my double cheeseburgers with extra pickles and onions, some weird Ben and Jerry’s flavored ice cream creations etc. But as I went off grid after leaving the Army (15 years) and moving from Las Vegas already pretty fit, I have changed my diet quiet a bit. More fish more fresh veggies way less fake food. Age and generation seems to have something of an effect besides diet, so being 50 I have been fortunate and blessed so far as to not having cancer or any health effects personally. Which surprises me because friends and family of mine have had cancers heart attacks and children born with certain abnormalities maybe from food, cell phones or just unfit habits. All I know is my wife children and I do live a more old fashion way remote from the city and its influence and I do look and feel better for it but I have to agree exercise and diet and a religious attitude has to be a part why we so far remain in good shape.

  • Your BIGGEST Enemy Still is (By Far)) – GMO Grains and Glyphosate (Round-Up) – Worst and More Prevalent than ALL of those mentioned.

    • I think I saw an article that grains coming from California are almost all contaminated by Monsanto (Bayer now), It messes with gut bacteria in a destructive way.

      • Mary J – SO TRUE – BUT the Real Problem is : 1.) Glyphosate (Roundup) is seriously Poisonous and stays in the Soil where applied for as long as 10 years – and your Cereal Grains are All Saturated with it ! – 2.) GMO Grains are Seriously Depleted as far as Plant Proteins and digestible carbohydrates are concerned – GMO Wheat cereal grain has MAYBE 4% Protein inside – Organically grown wheat grain will contain from 12 – 15% Actual digestible Protein. Very serious stuff !

  • Undergoing chemo or toting around oxygen from 50 or so on doth not an exciting life make. My sister was extremely overweight, multiple health problems, on 24 hour oxygen for ten or more years and died at 70. I’m over 80 and people say I look 60 or so, for which I’m thankful, and it’s not entirely my doing, but God’s unmerited blessing. However, for many years I’ve gone various routes of incorporating real food into my lifestyle, vegetarian for a while until I realized it wasn’t the way for me to go. A soda, love Dr. Pepper, maybe once or twice a year. Rarely eat out. But the biggest change resulted in losing 30 pounds I had needed to lose for fifteen years. That change was purposing to chew my food to as liquid a state as possible, and Intermittent fasting. I quickly learned I’d better eat real food that satisfied or I could not go the 15-17 hours between late afternoon 2nd meal and breakfast. This long in-between fast allows my body to do repair work that does not get done when it must continually work at digestion because of constant eating. I firmly believe good, or at least better, health is in our own hands.

  • Everyone should read this….a lot of people don’t really realize how much bad food there is out there! Have you written any books? I have saved so many of your e-mails and I would love to have then all in a book for easy reference!

    • Alex

      Hello, Patrick. Thank you for your kind words. You can click on the banner at the end of the article and you’ll discover The Forgotten Lessons Of Yesterday.

      Alex from Survivopedia 🙂

  • While there were some good points made in this article I have to point out that the idea of M.S.G. being harmful to your health is a myth.

    Also, I tend to agree with Les Eaton, no matter our choices in this life one day each one of us will die and all of our life’s choices are ultimately pointless.

  • I must heartily agree with you on this subject. I have adopted a rule in which if it has more than about 5 or 6 ingredients, I won’t buy it. The exception to that rule is that I buy a bag or two of chips each month or longer. I don’t usually even go in the ‘canned foods’ aisle now. Canned food is an oxymoron.
    Can someone please explain how Rye bread can even be called Rye bread when the primary ingredient is wheat? Bleah!

    Cheers,
    ~/Lee

  • Good article. While I agree with the notion of eating fresh food and avoiding processed foods at much as possible, it is very difficult to find food products that don’t contain sugar and added salt.
    A good example is try making homemade chili using canned chili beans, kidney beans, tomato juice, stewed tomatos. Each canned product contains added sugar. So with that being said, making” fresh” homemade meals can sometimes be loaded with added salt and sugar. Most people in this day and age lack the time and energy to use absolute unfettered ingredients.to make daily meals.
    I also wondered why in your list of approved foods, you left out many of the dried beans, potatos, and other common vegetables you will find on the America dinner table?

  • We are unfortunately all being slowly poisoned by the producers of the food we eat. It’s simply a matter of us picking our poison. It is principally why we are all at some point needing to access the healthcare system for one reason or another much earlier in life than we should to help us recover from a physical failing we wouldn’t have if our bodies could get what they need from the food we eat. There are multiple cultures outside the U.S. who do not eat what we do and who as a result live longer, healthier lives without the augmentation of the Supplement or Healthcare Industry. And don’t even get me started on the Healthcare Industry which has evolved into just another way that those for-profit corporations we used to call hospitals, exist principally to make money off of our illnesses rather than cure them,; many of which we got as a result of consuming the junk we have been given to eat as food. I personally know multiple persons who have what is regarded as “good insurance” who were nearly bankrupted after spending just one week in the hospital.

    Commercial over-farming has stripped the soil of nearly all the vitamins and nutrients that used to be absorbed by the fruits and vegetables that were grown in it. A domestically grown potato for example, doesn’t even contain vitamin A any more. There are only a few brands of big naval oranges grown in this country that are actually juicy and good enough to eat. The rest of them are so pulpy, after you’ve swallowed the juice from the slice you’ve put in your mouth, you’re left chewing a mouth full of pulp that you can’t even swallow and have to spit out. So we are left to consume copious quantities of supplements to augment the nutritional value lost in the food we eat which isn’t good for our livers at all.

    I don’t know how we efficiently overcome this as a nation. Not all of us are wealthy people or have enough land to grow our food if we were so inclined. According to a majority of financial analysts, 45% (and growing) of us merely live paycheck to paycheck. Organically grown food is so expensive that it is barely affordable and that’s assuming you can believe that it is actually organically grown.. Growing your own food is certainly an option but the time and effort involved in planting, cultivating, watering, picking and canning is so labor intensive and time consuming it is difficult to accomplish on your own. And that’s just the fruit and vegetable part of our diet. Growing and processing your own beef as a completely different and essential source of protein needed in our diet which would be yet another inefficient, time-consuming, non-cost effective way to obtain protein unless you’re going to try to obtain your body’s need for protein from plants, in which case the known options are already listed in this paragraph.

    With the demands of many of our employers taxing both our time and effort from longer days at work and presuming you also want something of a social life with family and friends, it is no wonder that many of us have chosen the cheapest, simplest and easiest way to nourish our bodies which unfortunately for most of us is the junk we are eating that is being referred to as food..

    So unless there’s a cost effective, time efficient way of obtaining wholesome food alternatives to the processed junk that is being sold to us in grocery stores and fast food restaurants (which is all that’s available to us unless you can afford $30 to $40 a pop for a meal for 2 in a sit down restaurant) that I’ve missed, it seems to me that all that is left to us is a choice between the lesser of the bad options available. I’d be interested in the serious suggestions for a cost effective, time efficient, better way forward from any of the readers of this article or from the author himself.

    Thanks in advance,
    JD

  • What is the best way to obtain and consume flower products, which type of flower is available, that is good for you and not harmful

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