What Happens When We Stop Eating Processed Food?

We have talked (a lot) about how processed foods are chemical-laden, addictive wonders of scientific labs all over the world. Well paid scientists the world over have, and continue to, come up with processed foods that are highly addictive and make you want to eat them again and again.

These foods are well-known to cause weight gain and all the health issues that go with it as well causing our bodies to react to chemical additives resulting in migraines, brain fog and even some that can lead to organ failure and serious disease.

But what happens when we stop eating processed food? Aside from avoiding the negative consequences, what positive reactions can we expect from eating whole foods?

Here’s To Your Health

Eating more fruit can lower our risk of cancer of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Many phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes act as antioxidants, which protect cells from damage that can cause cancer.

The role of healthy food in avoiding, controlling and/or reversing diabetes is essential. The introduction of fiber, high quality protein and fats help to maintain a slow, steady level of glucose in our system, as opposed to the “sugar rush” that is the result of sugary, low fiber and low protein processed foods.

The fiber, high quality protein and healthy fats found in whole foods help to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in your body by helping you feel full faster and longer than processed foods.  

An interesting study showed that people who eat an ultra processed food diet tend to gain weight.
When those same people ate unprocessed whole foods, they lost weight. Intriguingly, the weight differences on the two diets occurred even though both kinds of foods had been carefully matched from a nutritional standpoint, including calorie density, fiber, fat, sugar and salt.

Stronger and Stronger

A diet with adequate calcium and magnesium is necessary for strong bones and teeth. Keeping the bones healthy is vital in preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis later in life.

High quality protein helps to build and maintain healthy muscle mass. When these proteins are paired with fiber rich carbohydrates (for energy) and healthy fats (for more energy!), they create the building blocks for strong muscles.

Water is also important when performing the exercise that builds up your core strength and muscle mass. Yes, it replaces the fluid that’s lost when you sweat but it also replenishes electrolytes, sodium and glucose. Not only that, a couple of glasses of water before exercising will lower your perceived effort while consuming water after exercise will ward off muscle cramps, remove toxins from your body and deliver the nutrients your body has burned.

Create Beauty From Within

Eating a whole foods diet can help cleanse toxins from your body while increasing nutrients which are essential for healthy skin. This is because the liver, kidneys, adrenals, thyroid as well as the intestines work together to make that happen. If your liver and kidneys are overtaxed trying to filter out an over consumption of toxins, it can cause skin breakouts. If your hormones are out of whack, your thyroid can’t function properly causing the skin to be dry and flaky. If the intestines are having trouble expelling waste, it can cause the skin to become thick, blemished and oily.

Whole grains such as brown rice and oats contain B vitamins, silica and zinc which can alleviate brittle and thinning hair. These B vitamins will also help to keep your lips hydrated, relieving cracking and chapping.

Vitamins K and C can be found in dark green and leafy vegetables can boost circulation and strengthen capillary walls in the skin, improving its strength and color. Potassium, such as is found in avocado, can reduce puffiness by reducing water retention. Since avocados also contain healthy fatty acids that help keep your skin soft, it sounds like a spinach/avocado smoothie is the perfect breakfast to keep you looking your best!

Tossing back a few nuts will supply your nails with some much-needed B7, zinc, iron and protein to keep them strong!

Happily Ever After

Antioxidants and phytochemicals found in plant based reduce inflammation and repair damage to brain cells while restoring balance to our neurotransmitters. Studies show this leads to reduced episodes of depression compared to those who consume more processed foods. There is even evidence that a whole foods diet can reverse depression without the aid of medication.

The proper amount of quality sleep is also important to regulate your mood. A low fiber and higher saturated fat diet has been shown to lead to a lighter and less restorative sleep, resulting in more awake time over the course of the night. Fatty foods can also be harder to digest, making it harder to fall asleep in the first place! On the other hand, eating foods rich in melatonin and magnesium, such as almonds, can improve sleep by regulating your inner clock and reducing stress hormone cortisol,


Magnesium will also help to reduce headaches.

Viva La Vida! (And Enjoy It More!)

So here’s the bottom line: Switching to a whole foods diet will help you lose weight faster, age slower, get fewer headaches and have better hair, skin and brain function. It will also lead to a better night’s sleep!

Think it’s hard to give up the junk? Maybe at first. That’s because many processed foods are made with “perfect” amounts of added sugar, salt, fat, and other chemicals designed to make us want more. Shockingly, studies have shown that this combination addicts us in a similar way as drugs.

But many people will testify that once they get away from processed foods, they no longer have any desire to eat them. It doesn’t mean you’ll never slip again…it just means that each time you do, you’ll enjoy it less and less, much like an ex-smoker becomes intolerant to the sight and smell of cigarettes over the course of time.

So go ahead. Climb on the bandwagon and begin to live your best life. You can do it! 

All my best

Cynthia

cynthia@cynthiaeats.com

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8 Replies to “What Happens When We Stop Eating Processed Food?”

  1. Hi Cynthia,
    Thanks for this informative article in which I learned a few new things.

    Many people really don’t realize the harm being done to their bodies by processed foods. You hit the nail firmly on the head when you stated that well paid scientists are responsible for the chemical engineering of processed foods so that they become extremely addictive making people tend to crave for them. This is actually a key sales strategy of the product owners – a case in point – fast foods. Their business depend on “repeat customers”.

    Another reason could also be that, in addition to being addictive, processed foods tend to be cheaper than whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Some are even ready for immediate consumption – just warm and eat!

    While your article certainly does justice to the damage caused by processed foods, you have also explained the benefits to be derived from shifting to a whole foods diet. I have forwarded it on to a few friends who need to hear this message directly from someone other than myself. Thanks
    Ceci

    1. Ceci, thank you for your comments. You have made a great point, one that I think is not discussed enough. Too many people have no choice but to consume highly processed food because they don’t have to money and/or facilities to make healthier choices. It’s a complex problem but one that needs to be addressed!

  2. Thanks for your post on processed foods and what they do to our bodies. I never believed that claim until I got older and had an eating disorder. I couldn’t stop bingeing on bread (white flour) and junk food. The more I ate, the more I craved. Then, one day I joined a program where we eliminated sugar, flour and wheat. We only at protein fruit and vegetables – and guess what? No more cravings, I lost 100 pounds and reversed diabetes! I am a true believer in getting rid of processed foods.

    1. Congratulations!  I love to hear about people changing their lives this way and I’m glad you found a method that works for you.

  3. Hi there,

    Great post on the many benefits of cutting processed foods out of our diets. I made a dramatic cut a couple years back and quickly noticed a huge improvement in my overall healthy and wellbeing from day to day. I am still not quite where I want to be but Im getting there. I had never heard that it can lead to organ failure before! Or is that just because it causes obesity like you said? Sorry, little confused!

    1. While there is evidence that the chemical additives in processed food can cause health complications, more research needs to be done.  What we do know is that the added sugars, salt and lack of fiber they contain pose known health risks such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension.  In addition, processed foods tend to be low in nutritional value but are often eaten in place of more nutrient-dense whole foods.  This leads to malnutrition as well as a lack of antioxidants to fight those disease-causing free radicals!  This combination can lead to serious illness and organ failure. I hope this answered your question. 

  4. Just read your article – ‘Change your diet – Change your life’. I like the way you write. It’s very down to earth and It feels like you are one of us. Not someone who is eating the perfect foods on a daily basis, lecturing us wrong doers.. I do get that feeling a lot when I read about healthy eating. So, thanks for that.

    Speaking of behalf of myself alone – I know the theory.. my problem is that sometimes I’m very busy and by the time I realize I’m hungry I need something to eat fast. Unfortunately the good food takes a while to make.

    Is there any chance you can add some ideas for healthy AND fast-to-make foods? That will be so great.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments!  I believe that all we can do is do our best and know that new habits will slowly take hold as time moves forward.  I fall into The Pit as much as anyone for various reasons, including the one you mention.  It’s important to be kind to ourselves and just try to get back on track.

      And I will put together something on fast and easy meals.  Thank you for the idea!

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