An astounding 73% of the U.S. food supply is composed of ultra-processed foods (UPFs). And fully 57% of Americans' daily calories come from these nutritionally deprived concoctions.
We know UPFs are linked to obesity and diabetes, and associated with other health woes, from sexual dysfunction to dementia. But there's more.
According to a study out of Australia, UPFs also affect mental health. It turns out that people who get 30% of their calories from UPFs have a 27% higher risk of depression.
Why do we eat so much of these nutritionally stripped foods?
Another study found that UPFs seduce you and cause weight gain because they are easier to chew, and make your taste buds happy (they're what researchers call hyper-palatable). And they’re calorie dense.
The study, which appeared in the journal Cell Metabolism, reveals that people eat about 500 more calories daily when their food is mostly ultra-processed — maybe because UPFs make folks eat faster.
Why? You can swallow ultra-processed foods quickly because they offer little resistance to being broken down, as comes with high-fiber vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fruits.
Another trap is that UPFs contain specific combinations of fat, sugar, and carbs (think potato chips) that our taste buds love, making them hard to resist (hyper-palatable).
If you want to feel and look better, and reduce your risk for chronic diseases, it's time to cultivate a love for whole foods that love you back.
You can do that with recipes available in my "What to Eat When Cookbook."