If you’ve been trying to eat healthier, you may have heard that it’s best to stay away from processed foods. But what does that really mean? And what happens to your body when you stop eating highly processed food? Learn more below.
Let me explain a little about processed foods. When we say a food is processed, it means that it has been changed in some way during preparation. Almost all the food you find in the grocery store has been processed in some way. However, when we talk about processed foods, we usually mean packaged items in the freezer aisle, deli products, or junk foods that can stay on the shelves for a long time.
When food is heavily processed, it may lose some of its nutrients or have unhealthy ingredients added, like extra sugar or salt. So, just because a food is processed doesn’t automatically mean it’s unhealthy. It depends on the ingredients and how it’s processed. It also depends on how much of it you eat. If you really enjoy a certain food and completely avoid it, you might end up overeating it later on.
That’s why it’s not necessary to cut out entire food groups or all processed foods. Instead, try to have a balanced diet with fewer processed foods. But it’s also important to listen to your body’s hunger signals and allow yourself to have a snack when you’re hungry.
But what happens if you start eating less of these processed foods? There are some important changes that occur when you reduce your intake of highly processed foods. One of the first things you might notice is feeling a bit irritated or tired. This isn’t necessarily a health benefit, but it can happen when you eat fewer foods with added sugars and salt.
After getting through the initial adjustment period, you may start to notice a change in your preferences. When you cut out high-sugar and high-salt foods, it takes some time for your taste buds to adapt. It can take up to fifteen days for your body to adjust to your new diet, according to experts. Your stomach also needs time to adjust because you’re consuming more fiber-rich foods. This might lead to feeling bloated and experiencing stomach cramps.
However, after going through these uncomfortable changes, you’ll start to see more positive effects. You’ll feel more energized and have better attention span. You may also experience improvements in your mood, weight maintenance, and even sleep quality. According to experts, these benefits might actually outweigh the challenges you faced during the adjustment period.
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