This Study Might Have You Swearing Off Processed Foods Forever

Processed foods are well known to be incredibly tempting, and few people can resist their charms. Whether you like to satisfy your cravings with something salty like crispy potato chips, a meat-lovers pizza, and cheeseburgers with French fries, or you prefer the charms of sweet treats like candy, ice cream sundaes, peanut butter cookies, and double-layer chocolate fudge cake, everybody has their favorites when it comes to processed foods.

It seems as if fast food options and ready-made meals are always offering up something quick and delicious that is waiting to be devoured. It is easier than ever to give into temptation and indulge in junk food — even though deep down inside we know it's probably not that good for overall health. Well, now there's a new scientific study that will not only confirm those suspicions but actually make you think twice before putting any more processed foods in your body.

The harmful effects of processed foods

Besides the well-known harm processed food can do to the waistline, there is new evidence to suggest that there is a correlation between highly processed foods and certain types of serious health conditions. According to Ohio State News, these include type 2 diabetes and memory loss. Ruth Barrientos an investigator on the study said, "These findings indicate that consumption of a processed diet can produce significant and abrupt memory deficits – and in the aging population, rapid memory decline has a greater likelihood of progressing into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. By being aware of this, maybe we can limit processed foods in our diets and increase consumption of foods that are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA to either prevent or slow that progression."

This information is startling enough, yet it takes on even more meaning when combined with the results of another study from BMJ, which positively linked the intake of ultra-processed foods with a risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). With all this new information at hand, it's easy to see why one would swear off processed foods in lieu of an all-natural diet.

Less is more when it comes to processed foods

Despite the warnings, the outlook may not be as dire as it seems at first glance. There is no need to go to extremes and empty out all of your cupboards, throw away all the goodies in the refrigerator and freezer, or swear off fast food forever. There is a simple solution and it's called moderation. According to Ruth Barrientos, via Ohio State News, focusing on the quality of your overall diet can be quite helpful. "Folks who are used to looking at nutritional information need to pay attention to the fiber and quality of carbohydrates. This study really shows those things are important," she shared.

Other good ideas include limiting portions, adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet, and reducing salt intake. This sentiment is echoed by CNN Health, which suggests going on a processed food detox by making meals at home and substituting processed food and drinks for fresh food and water whenever possible. This way we can still enjoy the occasional deep-dish pizza, or ice cream sundae with a heaping side order of moderation to ensure future health.