Can Processed Foods Make You Gain Weight?
What we eat can have a major impact on how we feel, both physically and mentally. Most experts agree that one of the keys to avoiding weight gain is to abstain from ultra-processed food, but why is that so? We’ll help demystify some of the confusion around processed foods and weight gain so you can make better decisions for your overall health.
What’s So Bad About Processed Foods?
A lot of processed foods taste great: cookies, chips, cereal, and the tons of snack options you’ll find on the shelves of your grocery store are all processed in some way. Let’s get one thing straight: not all processed foods are bad. Unfortunately, the majority of processed foods also contain highly processed ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavoring, preservatives, trans fat, and GMOs. These ingredients may make food taste great momentarily, but they probably won’t do any favors for your energy levels or your body as a whole.
Most processed foods also tend to be highly caloric, which could easily translate to weight gain. Even active people who try to compensate with high levels of physical activity may find that the processed foods they eat interfere with some of their normal bodily functions, including hormonal health and the gastrointestinal tract.
How Processed Foods Affect Weight Gain
Regularly consuming ultra-processed foods may be linked to weight gain in a number of ways. First and foremost, a lot of processed foods are high in carbohydrates, sugar, and fat, all of which are calorically dense. Calorie density pertains to the amount of calories related to the volume of food. More calorically dense food (i.e., candy bars) will have more calories per volume than lower calorically dense foods (i.e., broccoli). Calories are not a bad thing; we all need calories to give us energy! However, if you are watching your weight, opting to add in more low-calorie foods to your diet over high-calorie foods is something to consider.
Additionally, the additives typically found in a lot of processed foods could mess with your gut health, specifically as it relates to inflammation. Highly processed foods have also been linked to insulin resistance, depression, and low levels of physical activity.
Are there Healthier Alternatives to Processed Foods?
While we could recommend that all people eat straight fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds all the time, the reality is that that is not practical, especially for active, busy people like us. Processed foods are often a quick, easy way to satisfy hunger when bouncing around from one place to another. The key is to find healthier versions that won’t wreak havoc on your health.
Keto Nut & Seed Bars and Keto Granola Bar™ snacks pack a bunch of whole, plant-based, nutritious ingredients into delicious, convenient bars you can take with you on-the-go. Our better-for-you snacking alternatives are made with real, high-quality ingredients like almonds, coconut and peanut butter.
Healthier snack alternatives to processed foods could be things like celery and peanut butter, but they could also be pre-packaged foods made with wholesome ingredients. If you’re looking to avoid heavily processed foods to prevent weight gain, make sure you read the nutrition facts and list of ingredients on the back of the packaging. The amount of each ingredient will be listed from highest to lowest, so if you see hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup high up on that list, it’s probably an indication that the food is highly processed.
When it comes to your nutrition, the best thing you can do is keep yourself well-informed and educated. Make wiser snacking options and enjoy your favorite foods at the same time with Munk Pack. Subscribe and save 15% today!
Up Next: 5 Ways to Avoid GMO Foods