As you know, there are some foods that are scientifically proven to be harmful or simply not good for your health. We have the feeling that each year people become more conscious about the importance of paying close attention to what we eat, whether it’s healthy food or unhealthy food, both of them impact your body for the better or worse. Our goal in this article is to filter all the misinformation there is and show you the scientifically-proven truth about the worst food villains to help you and all of our readers to be more conscious when it comes to food choices.
Every year scientists discover new products or ingredients that are bad for our bodies and become the villains of the year, or until proven wrong, and today we want to talk about this year’s villains.
Inflammation is this year’s worst villain
Before we start, we must keep in mind that not all types of inflammation are bad. Acute inflammation is your body’s natural response to an injury or infection, it’s a defense mechanism that triggers your immune system to begin the healing process. However, several foods, such as processed foods, can also cause temporary inflammation. When these foods are continued to be eaten constantly, it may lead to a chronic inflammatory state.
Chronic inflammation (low-grade or high-grade) is behind nearly every known disease, especially autoimmune diseases. The number one factor that determines your inflammation levels is your diet. Sometimes we’re not aware of the long-term consequences that our diet and lifestyle can have on our minds and bodies and we focus on the short-term solutions.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart disease.
- Type 2 diabetes.
The first step to avoiding these diseases and recovering from chronic inflammation is cutting out of your diet inflammatory foods. Let’s quickly check out the main foods that cause inflammation.
1- Sugar (what a surprise)
At this point, we all know how dangerous sugar is. It’s extremely bad for your overall health and besides that, it’s very addictive. Sugar combined with fat and protein in the blood cause advanced glycation end products which lead to oxidative stress and inflammation. By itself, it hurts your gut bacteria by moving it out of the gut and into the bloodstream. Sugar increases LDL (bad) cholesterol and leads to excess weight as our bodies don’t need as many carbohydrates as most of the population consumes nowadays. This excess body fat comes from inflammation and insulin resistance.
Sugar can cause obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, mental illness, several types of cancer, arthritis, and other inflammation-related diseases. We’ll dive more into sugar later.
2- Refined grains
Refined grains include white bread, white rice, pasta, and high-carb breakfast cereals. These types of foods are no better than sugar, honestly. Refined refers to stripping the grain of its natural state and adding back only a few nutrients. This process removes the natural nutrients in the grains.
When eating refined grains not only do you get the same response in your blood sugar and brain as you do when you eat sugar, but refined grains act like an intestinal glue. They get caught up in the microvilli that line the GI tract and get stuck. This blocks the absorption of nutrients and the production of inflammation compounds since the inflammation alarms of your body are going off.
3- Vegetable oils
Most of the vegetable oils that are in the market are made from seeds but are produced in a very unnatural and highly processed way. These oils are usually rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which help create inflammatory compounds called eicosanoids.
In order to make them last longer, they have a lot of preservatives which only makes the inflammation worse. They’re also often stored in clear plastic bottles which affects their chemical structure, which makes them even worse for our health.
Scary facts about sugar - beware the sugar monster!
As we said earlier, sugar is your health’s number one enemy. Eating high-sugar foods on a regular basis contributes to a variety of health problems. It can increase the risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and even serious tooth problems. Besides that, it can also contribute to weight gain, drive sugar cravings up, and cause false hunger cues that make it much harder to stay fit and healthy.
In case you were wondering, here’s how your body processes sugar:
- Your stomach breaks down the carbs into glucose, and your small intestines shuttle glucose into your bloodstream
- Your blood sugar level spikes and you feel a “sugar high” so your pancreas releases insulin to absorb the sugar in your blood and distribute it to the pancreas, then the muscles, and then the fat storage.
- Your cells absorb the excess glucose and store it as body fat and after a while you’ll feel a sugar crash as sugar levels go down. And since sugar is addictive, you’ll get cravings for more sugar. So as you see this is a vicious circle and the best way to end it, is to directly cut off sugar from your diet. You should also avoid some sweeteners and sugar substitutes. The main ones you have to avoid are agave, brown rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners which we’ll see more in-depth now.
No more brains if you keep eating this
In previous articles, we’ve talked about how sweeteners affect our bodies, how artificial ones are not good for us, and which ones we recommend you consume whether you’re following a keto lifestyle or simply cutting our sugar from your life.
Artificial sweeteners are manufactured in a lab, so this means they don’t come from nature. Many people that consume or have consumed them report headaches, stomach aches, and a general ill feeling after using them. Natural sweeteners, however, come from many types of vegetables, fruits and plant. Erythritol, for example, can be produced artificially or naturally. The one we use at Funky Fat Foods is a natural type of erythritol that comes from corn.
The absolute worst sweeteners are sucralose, saccharin, and aspartame. You should also avoid Xylitol. This one is an alcohol sugar that is somewhere in between the best and worst artificial sweeteners. You might find it in some sugar-free products and it’s well tolerated by most people. However, if you’re sensitive to FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) it can bother you, trigger digestive issues, and cause you inflammation.
Artificial sweeteners can alter the good bacteria in your microbiome, destroying your entire gut health, which will directly lead to inflammation and other health issues.