Food provides live nutrients that feed your cells, optimize your health, and sustain life. But since the advent of “TV dinners” in the 1950s, the concept of “food” has expanded from farm grown produce and meat to artificially flavored, preserved, brightly colored, and highly processed chemical creations from manufacturing plants.
Is fast food and processed food still considered real food?
Take a look at what’s inside a McDonald’s hamburger bun:
“Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.”
Looking at the many unnatural ingredients, the answer would have to be “No,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Do you need more proof that processing transforms food into something unhealthy?
Manhattan artist Sally Davies bought a McDonald’s Happy Meal and took photographs of the burger and fries for six months. She was shocked because as the weeks turned to months, the burger and fries shriveled slightly but showed no signs of decomposition.
Why You Should Avoid Processed Food
Aside from being loaded with chemicals and deficient in nutrients, fast food and processed foods contain additives, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup (linked to higher obesity rates), trans fat, and MSG. Some also contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which may increase your risk of allergies.
A 15-year study showed that eating fast food twice a week can make you gain 10 pounds and double your risk of developing insulin resistance.
The fast food documentary Super Size Me also demonstrated the effects of eating a fast food diet. Producer Morgan Spurlock ate three McDonald’s meals daily for a month. He gained 25 pounds, suffered from liver problems, sexual dysfunction, and experienced depression.
This comes as no surprise because meals at most fast food restaurants give you a grossly disproportionate share of the recommended daily intake of cholesterol, fat, salt, and sugar.
Dr. Mercola’s Eight Criteria for Real Food
Don’t settle for fast food or processed food just because they’re cheaper and more “convenient.” If you’re concerned about your family’s health, take time to prepare nutritious meals for them. Know what you’re feeding your body. Dr. Mercola shares eight things you should look for when shopping for real food:
1. Freshness – if you have to, choose wilted organic produce over fresh conventional produce
2. Grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides – organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods
3. Non-genetically modified
4. Free from antibiotics, drugs, or growth hormones
5. Does not contain artificial ingredients, including chemical preservatives
6. Did not come from a factory farm
7. Raised with the laws of nature in mind – animals are fed their native diets (like grass-fed cows), not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free access to the outdoors
8. Grown in a sustainable way – using minimal amounts of water to protect the soil from burnout, and turns animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of using environmental pollutants