Processed foods involve salt, sugars, preservatives, thickening agents, anti-caking agents, colourants, essences, and flavours. While they may be non-toxic, their prolonged use can cause digestive system damage.
Scientists in Israel and Germany set out to study the effects of various food additives in processed foods on the digestive system. They found at least seven common food additives that weaken the inner lining of the intestines (if you are not from the food industry, don’t worry about the specifics):
- Glucose (sugars);
- Sodium (salt);
- Fat solvents (emulsifiers);
- Organic acids;
- Microbial transglutaminase (a special enzyme that is used as a glue for food protein); and
- Nanometric particles.
Do you spot anything familiar? That means, your gut has been battered for years.
This damage to the gut lining is thought to be due to alteration to healthy gut bacteria.
What are the implications of such impaired intestines?
- The inner lining of the intestines controls what gets absorbed from the gut into the blood.
- In normal individuals, it allows only food nutrients and stops microbes and foreign toxic chemicals from entering the bloodstream.
- When its inner lining is damaged, the intestine becomes leaky, permitting harmful substances to enter the blood. There is a name for it—Leaky Gut.
- Your immune system correctly detects, attacks and destroys those enemies.
- But if you keep eating processed foods for years, the immune system is triggered repeatedly.
- Eventually, the overactive immune system misfires and mistakenly attacks and destroys some of your body parts. This causes conditions called autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis, vitiligo, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are a ready-to-eat food junkie, better beware. Autoimmune conditions are some of the most difficult diseases to treat, partly because the aggressor and the victim both belong to your body.
Many busy people, especially young working couples, rely entirely on processed foods. While it takes a few years to notice the damage, the consequences are dire.
- For a week, consciously track what readymade and junk foods you consume.
- If possible, keep a diary and note the ingredients mentioned on the labels. While some will be cryptic entries such as ‘Preservative INS 202’, you will get a feel for what you consume. What gets observed, improves!
In the last few decades, the incidence of autoimmune diseases has increased multifold, along with the availability of processed foods. Don’t become their next victim!
- If you regularly consume processed foods, you have an increased risk of developing autoimmune conditions.
- If you already have an autoimmune condition or have a family history of one, reduce processed foods intake to a minimum.
To Read More
- ‘Current Allergy and Asthma Reports’ Journal: Role of “Western Diet” in Inflammatory Autoimmune Diseases
- ‘Nutrients’ Journal: How to Tackle the Relationship between Autoimmune Diseases and Diet: Well Begun Is Half-Done
- On this Website: Supplements for autoimmune disorders
First Published on: 13th August 2022
Image Credit: Image by Freepik
Last Updated on: 1st June 2023