3 Ultra-Processed Food Experts Say You Should Cut Them Right Now For Gut Health, Inflammation, and Mood
When it comes to junk food, it doesn’t get any worse than that ultra-processed varieties. Ultra-processed foods are those made mostly of processed ingredients that have been stripped of nutrients such as refined sugar, carbohydrates, fats, and more. Not only do these foods tend to pack in calories, but they also have virtually no nutritional value, making them a terrible addition to your diet. Besides the fact that they can lead to spikes in blood sugar, overeating, weight gain and disease over time, they can also lead to inflammation and seriously affect your hosewhich affects almost every aspect of your health, including your mood.
“Ultra-processed foods contribute to chronic inflammation that can lead to or worsen gut health, mood and overall health.” Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of the Candida Diet confirms. To find out more, we asked Richards and a dietitian Trista Best Balance One Supplements on some of the worst ultra-processed foods out there and why you should avoid them. They told us all about the effects of inflammatory, processed foods like breakfast cereals, sugary pastries and prepackaged oatmeal. Find their expert insight below!
1. Sweet cereals
Although sweetened cereals can be a quick, convenient and delicious breakfast, Richards warns that it also comes with a number of health consequences – especially when it comes to gut health. For this reason, she recommends ditching sugary, processed breakfast cereals and replacing them with varieties that don’t contain sugar, artificial colors or refined carbohydrates. You might be surprised how good you feel when you cut out these ingredients—not just in your breakfast cereal, but in your entire diet. “This change will not only reduce the inflammatory ingredients in your diet, but it will also change the way you start your day,” says Richards. “What we eat first thing in the morning tends to guide other eating habits throughout the day, whether good or bad.” Got it!
2. Pastries for breakfast
Unfortunately, for those of us who love a trip to the bakery or enjoy a sweet breakfast, Best says sweetly, processed breakfast pastry are another major cause of intestinal problems and inflammation. This is mainly due to the high content of refined sugar in these incredibly tasty treats. “These foods are hard on the gut primarily because of the added and refined sugars used to make them,” she explains. “A diet high in this type of sugar promotes gut dysbiosis and an imbalance of gut bacteria.” She goes on to say that these added sugars, which are added in the manufacturing process, “are a food source for bad gut bacteria that cause an imbalance and overgrowth of these bacteria and potentially Candida.” And as we’ve said before, when your gut bacteria gets thrown out of whack, your overall health can take a serious nosedive; you may encounter problems such as inflammation and bad mood.
3. Prepackaged oatmeal
Although homemade oatmeal topped with healthy ingredients makes for a fantastic fiber-filled breakfast, Richards says yes prepackaged, processed varieties they’re often full of sugar and other artificial ingredients, which we all know are terrible for your gut, mood, and overall health. “Unfortunately, they’re full of ingredients that cause bloating and gas,” she tells us. “The added sugar, refined carbohydrates and potential lactose/fructose in some flavors will cause a host of negative gastrointestinal side effects.” Alas! As mentioned above, sugar in particular can make digestive problems worse because it is “a food source for bad bacteria and an irritant to the gut.” High fructose corn syrup is another common ingredient in prepackaged oatmeal that Richards says “produces gas by feeding the bad bacteria in the gut that often creates gas.”
All in all, processed foods in general can be harmful to your overall health. The highly processed, artificial ingredients found in these foods can wreak havoc on your gut, cause inflammation and even ultimately affect your mood. And while it’s best to cut out all processed foods as much as possible, the ones on this list are a great place to start.