Hidden Dangers of Processed Foods

Chances are you have heard that processed foods are not good for you, but what foods are really considered processed foods, and are they really that bad?

We dive deeper into this in the video and text below!


First off, what do we mean by processed foods? Well, there are different degrees of processed foods…

There are minimally processed foods like nut butter or frozen broccoli, when they basically take a food, cut it or grind it up and put it in a package.

Then, there are moderately processed foods that are made in a factory, but have pretty decent ingredients, which we sometimes refer to as healthy convenience foods. (RX bars or Siete tortillas)

Then, there are ultra processed foods, which is what we are addressing today. 

These are foods that have been compromised by the addition of hormones, pesticides, additives, artificial colors and sweeteners, preservatives, or unnatural genetic material. These chemical and heat treatments alter or destroy the natural healthy enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals of whole fresh foods. These are the ones we discuss in this post. And while it is tough to sum up all the reasons to limit processed foods, we’re sharing 6 of them with you today.

The main goal of this type of food processing is to lengthen the shelf life of foods so that larger amounts can be sold over time. They also often use use the least expensive ingredients to increase the profit margin…and to get you to eat more of them! 

Are processed foods convenient? YES. We totally get it. It is so tempting with our busy lifestyles these days and these foods are so easy. But are they a problem for our health? Unfortunately, the answer to that is ALSO Yes! See our 6 reasons:

1. Health Issues.

Chemicals in processed foods may promote early insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In addition, processed foods can lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, which may contribute to joint problems, heart disease, digestive issues, cancer, and even mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. We can tell you that especially as a woman over 50, these are things we do not want to mess with. These two research articles discuss this below:



2. Weight.

Food companies have scientists whose main job is to create flavor combinations of salt, fat and sugar that have addictive qualities. Think about a bag of chips you just can’t stop eating!  Their goal is to get you to eat more (and buy more) of their food.

Processed foods can also interfere with your body’s energy-burning process and make it more difficult to lose weight. Studies have shown that mice that have had sustained exposure to chemical preservatives develop significant abdominal weight gain, early insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. 

Plus, so many processed foods have added sugar, often in several different forms. This is also not going to help you support a healthy weight.

3. Hormones.

And what about our hormones? Hormones are powerful but delicate! They dictate how our body utilizes the energy we give it. We have so many hormones, including reproductive, thyroid, growth, blood sugar, and those related to appetite and hunger (you may have heard of leptin and ghrelin). Our bodies have to perform a delicate balancing act to keep us lean, energized and functioning well on all levels.  Eating foods with chemicals, pesticides and artificial ingredients in other types of processed foods can interfere with our hormones and upset this balance.


Many ingredients in processed foods encourage the growth of pathogenic or bad bacteria which disrupts the balance of your microbiome.  There has been lots of research on chemicals such as artificial sweeteners that have been found to negatively affect the good bacteria in our gut. The health of our microbiome is directly related to how our body  processes and stores nutrients, our immune system, our heart and brain health, and overall metabolism. So, we want to nurture our microbiome to make sure it is as healthy as possible!


Vitamin and mineral quality is greatly diminished or absent in processed foods. Even when they add them to a product, it is often of poor quality and not well absorbed.

They are often lower in fiber – a lot of processing removes fiber, or they add fiber that isn’t as good for us.

We are all in favor of whole food carbs, but many of these processed foods contain ultra-processed carbs and this is a big problem. They cause blood sugar spikes – where we get a rush of blood sugar and then become hungry again soon after. Foods like cakes, muffins, cookies, white bread, white pasta cause this spike and it is vital to limit these.

6. Altering Taste Buds.

Over time our taste buds get more accustomed to the packed flavor and sweetness in many of these processed foods and it makes the taste of real, whole foods be more bland. Think about it – if you are used to eating peaches canned in sugar or Splenda, the taste of a real peach might not hold as much appeal. When we help clients remove processed foods like we do in our Mega Energy Breakthrough, they often notice their taste buds change and foods they used to eat regularly before start to taste too sweet. They come to appreciate the taste of whole foods much more. 

So what are some of these chemicals to watch out for? This isn’t an exhaustive list, but chemicals such as…

aspartame, acesulfame potassium, carrageenan, artificial flavoring and coloring (hint: yellow and blue are NOT foods), Splenda, sucralose, and common GMO foods such as canola, corn and soy oils, stabilizers, and gums.

You might be surprised to see where some of these chemicals are lurking! 

In a nutshell, anytime you see low calorie, low fat or low sugar you should have your radar up!

Bottom line: Processed foods are made for convenience and a long shelf life. Real nutrition not only gets short-changed in the methods used to create these foods, but it is often negatively affected by the chemicals added to them.

stephanie goodman and jane schwartz


Jane and Stephanie, creators of The Simply Nourished Solution™, are nutritionists who help women over 50 go from overweight, frustrated, and inflamed to lighter and healthier so they can be more active, feel good in their bodies, and live the second half of life with energy and confidence. Their 3-pronged approach, which can fit into any lifestyle, encompasses not only wholesome energizing foods but powerful habit and mindset shifts.


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If you’re struggling to nourish yourself after menopause, our Simply Nourished Solution™ Signature Weight Loss Program offers the tools, strategies and shifts you need to stop yo-yo dieting, permanently lose weight, and feel better than ever in your 50’s, 60’s and beyond.