3 Ultra-Processed Foods Experts Say You Should Cut Out Immediately For Gut Health, Inflammation And Mood – SheFinds
When it comes to unhealthy foods, it doesn’t get much worse than ultra-processed varieties. Ultra-processed foods are those that are made mostly from processed ingredients that have been stripped of their nutrients such as refined sugar, carbs, fats, and more. Not only do these foods tend to pack in the calories, but they also provide practically no nutritional value, making them a terrible addition to your diet. In addition to the fact that they can lead to blood sugar spikes, overeating, and weight gain and disease over time, they can also lead to inflammation and take a serious toll on your gut, which effects practically every aspect of your health, including your mood.
“Ultra-processed foods contribute to the chronic inflammation that can lead to or exacerbate gut health issues, mood, and overall health,” Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet confirms. To learn more, we asked Richards and dietitian Trista Best of Balance One Supplements about some of the worst ultra-processed foods out there and why they should be avoided. They told us all about the effects of inflammatory, processed foods like breakfast cereal, sugar pastries, and prepackaged oatmeal. Find their expert insight below!
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1. Sugary cereals
Although sweetened cereal may be a quick, convenient, and tasty breakfast, Richards warns that it also comes with a range of health consequences—especially when it comes to gut health. For this reason, she recommends cutting out sugary, processed breakfast cereals and replacing them with varieties that don’t contain sugar, artificial dyes, or refined carbohydrates. You may be surprised by how good you feel when you cut out these ingredients—not only in your breakfast cereal, but also in your overall diet. “Making this change will not only cut down on inflammatory ingredients in your diet, but will also change how you start your day,” Richards says. “What we feed ourselves first thing in the morning tends to direct the rest of our dietary habits throughout the day, for good or bad.” Noted!
2. Breakfast pastries
Unfortunately for those of us who love a trip to the bakery or enjoy a sweet brunch, Best says sugary, processed breakfast pastries are another major culprit of gut issues and inflammation. This is largely due to the high refined sugar content of these deviously delicious treats. “This food is hard on the gut primarily due to the added and refined sugars used to create them,” she explains. “A diet high in this type of sugar promotes gut dysbiosis and imbalance of gut bacteria.” She goes on to say that these added sugars, which are those that have been added in the manufacturing process, “are a source of food for bad gut bacteria which causes an imbalance and overgrowth of this bacteria and potentially Candida.” And as we’ve stated before, when your gut bacteria gets thrown out of whack, your overall health can take a serious downturn; you may run into issues like inflammation and lower mood.
3. Prepackaged oatmeal
Although homemade oatmeal topped with healthy ingredients makes for a fantastic, fiber-filled breakfast, Richards says that prepackaged, processed varieties are often loaded with sugar and other artificial ingredients, which we all know is terrible for your gut, mood, and overall health. “Unfortunately, these are full of bloat and gas-inducing ingredients,” she tells us. “The added sugar, refined carbs, and potential lactose/fructose in some flavors will cause a host of negative gastrointestinal side effects.” Yikes! As noted before, sugar, especially, can exacerbate digestive issues because it’s “a food source for bad bacteria and an irritant to the gut.” High fructose corn syrup is another common ingredient in prepackaged oatmeal which Richards says “produces gas by feeding the bad and often gas-producing bacteria in the gut.”
All in all, processed foods in general can be detrimental 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.
Author: Faith Geiger
Faith Geiger is a New York-based writer and editor. When she’s not covering the latest in health and wellness for SheFinds, she spends her time watching reality TV with her roommates, browsing used bookstores, and enjoying live music. You can reach Faith at [email protected]