Why do processed foods cause obesity?

Written by Dr. Veena Madhankumar and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team

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There can be several reasons for a person to become obese. Increased consumption of processed food can be a prominent one among them.

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1. Processed foods are loaded with sugar.

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The human body is, by nature equipped to handle sugar to an extent. But if consumed in excess it can cause severe weight gain and the onset of chronic diseases as well. Nine teaspoons(38 grams) for men Six teaspoons9(25 grams) for women is the recommended limit for added sugar a person can consume in a day.

A 12 ounce can of sugared soda has 39 grams of sugar, by itself. This is beyond the overall recommended amount of sugars for a day.

2. Processed foods are low in fiber.

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Highly processed food contains a lot of refined carbohydrates. Essential fiber and nutrients are stripped off from the food while following the processing technique. This makes the food very unhealthy.

The bottom line: Processed food with very less fiber can have a lot of adverse effects on your health. To maintain a healthy body mass index, an individual is required to consume adequate fiber on a daily basis. Apart from this, a deficiency of fiber can increase the possibility of an individual suffering from hemorrhoids or even colon cancer.

3. Processed foods are high in trans fats and oils.

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Fat is usually feared to play a major part in damaging your heart health. But the fact is that fat should be an essential part of your everyday food composition. Our consumption of trans fat is what should be monitored. Chips, pastries and fried food are usually rich in trans fats.

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4. Processed foods taste good.

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Each person might have their own taste and any form of food you take will activate different parts of your taste buds. But processed food is specifically designed to satisfy your taste buds and make you want more. This makes your brain believe the food is appetizing and keeps craving for such food.

But consuming processed food on a regular basis can increase your calorie intake and lead to obesity.

5. Processed foods are addictive.

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This might sound like an exaggeration but people might actually develop an addiction for processed food. Once you start getting addicted, your brain starts craving such food products on a regular basis. Your brain usually sees sugar as a reward and it can get highly addictive as well. Addiction for complex carbs is equally dangerous since they break down into simple sugar eventually.


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