Diabetes, heart disease, even cancer—health experts say the growing increase of health concerns can be caused by what we eat. “When we have too much sugar, fat, and salt, it leads to excess calorie consumption, those foods, because of how they taste, they are hard to not overeat,” said Erika Graziani, an outpatient nutrition program coordinator with Lee Health.
Processed foods are often loaded with excess sugar, oils, salt, and added fats. “There are so many different additives and things for texture and flavor and colors, and it’s those ultra-processed foods that are associated with poor health,” she said.
She recommends limiting or avoiding foods like chips, cookies, and candy—all of which are highly processed. To determine if a food is processed, experts say look at the ingredients. “If most of those ingredients aren’t actually foods that you’re going to find in the store or in your kitchen, but yet, words that you’re not even sure how to pronounce and what they are, that’s the concern,” Graziani said.
Cooking at home can help you control how much-added ingredients are in each meal. “When you go out to eat, they are making that food to make you want more and have it taste good, so it tends to be higher in fat, sugar, salt, whatever. So again, even trying to cut back on the times that you eat out could be a step in the right direction,” she said.
Processed foods are stripped of their natural nutrition, so they don’t have a lot of vitamins, minerals or fiber—keeping foods as close to their natural state as possible can benefit your overall health.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.