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  • Larissa Spafford, NTP

Want to lose weight?

people eating burgers, fries and chips

A recent study found that eating processed foods caused people to gain weight and eating unprocessed foods resulted in weight loss.

During the study people were provided with their meals and were able to eat as much or as little as they wanted. The people who ate the processed diet tended to eat faster and eat more calories than the people eating the unprocessed diet. Have a look at the foods eaten in both diets below. It’s really sad, but the processed diet examples could be straight from a public school menu or even a home packed lunch.

The processed diet: Processed breakfasts included: honey nut cheerios, Otis Spunkmeyer blueberry muffins with margarine, Jenni-O turkey bacon, Sara Lee English muffins, Chef Pierre croissants, Lender’s plain bagels with Philadelphia cream cheese, Yoplait blueberry yogurt and Eggo pancakes with Smuckers syrup. Processed lunches included: Chef Boyardee beef ravioli, Crystal Light diet lemonade, Otis Spunkmeyer oatmeal raisin cookies, quesadillas made with Pasado tortillas, Old El Paso Refried beans, Glenview Farms sour cream and del Pasado salsa, Pierce tempura fried chicken nuggets with Heinz Ketchup, Patunxent Farms hotdog on a Hilltop Hearth bun with Heinz ketchup and Monarch mustard, and Yoplait blueberry yogurt. Processed dinners included: Tyson steak with McCormick Gravy, Giant canned corn, Nesquik low fat chocolate milk, Devault Foods turkey meatballs with Angelina Mia marinara sauce on an Ottenberg hoagie roll topped with Roseli provolone cheese, Tostito tortilla chips, Crystal Light diet lemonade and Hormel beef and bean chili. Processed snacks included: baked Lay’s potato chips, Pepperidge Farms goldfish crackers and Lucky Leaf applesauce.

The unprocessed diet: Unprocessed breakfasts included: Fage greek yogurt with fresh fruit, Diamond walnuts, salt and olive oil, scrambled eggs, Simply Organic hash brown potatoes, Quaker oatmeal with blueberries and raw almonds, sweet potato hash, Nature’s Earthly Choice Berry and walnut Quinoa breakfast cereal with cinnamon, salt berries and Diamond walnuts. Unprocessed lunches included: spinach salad with chicken breast, apple slices, Bob’s Red Mill Bulgur, Nature’s Promise sunflower seeds, and grapes topped with olive oil and lemon vinaigrette, Harbor Banks baked cod filet with lemon juice, baked russet potato with olive oil, steamed broccoli with olive oil and garlic and Natures Promise balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette, Tyson grille beef tender roast, Bob’s Red Mill barley with olive oil and garlic, Fage plain greek yogurt with Giant from frozen strawberries. Unprocessed dinners included: Tyson beef tender roast, rice pilaf, steamed broccoli, orange slices, Monarch pecans, Tyson stir fried beef tender roast with broccoli, onions, peppers, ginger, garlic and olive oil, Southwest salad with green lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, black beans (cooked from dried), corn (cooked from frozen), avocado, International Collection red wine and flax oil vinaigrette, grapes, and Excellent shrimp scampi with Barilla spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, Stonyfield cream and tomatoes. Unprocessed snacks included: fresh apples, oranges and Monarch raisins, Giant raw almonds, and Diamond chopped walnuts.

So, if you'd like to lose weight, ditching processed foods for whole foods is a great place to start.

Even though there’s continued confusion about which diet (keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, high protein, low-fat, Whole30, etc.) is best, it's gradually becoming clear that processed foods are contributing to our health problems. We need to wake up and realize what we’re doing isn’t working. We need to change. Mother Teresa said “Do not wait for leaders: do it alone, person to person.” We can’t wait for lawmakers, food manufactures and the current health care system to change. That’ll be a long wait. By the time things change as much as we need them to, it’s likely that no one reading this will be here. We each have a choice. We can change ourselves. We can change what we buy, what we feed ourselves, our families and friends. Whether your goal is to lose weight or improve other aspects of your health, if you eat better, you’ll likely feel better and have more energy. It’ll be contagious and spread. That’s how we’ll change things, one bite at a time. Here’s one thing you can do right now. Go to your pantry or fridge. Find a processed food snack with questionable, non-food ingredients. Use the above processed food examples for ideas. Now think of a whole food alternative. Use the above unprocessed food examples for ideas. Add this to your grocery list and buy it next time you shop. Then, when you’d normally reach for that processed snack, reach for the unprocessed one instead. Repeat. It’s each little thing that adds up to sustainable change over time. Keep going. Eventually the majority or even all of your food will be whole and unprocessed. Now, imagine if you weren’t the only one doing this. What if most people were? What if it was the new norm? (It used to be!) Growers and food producers would increase the healthy foods and food manufactures would make less unhealthy ones. They’d have to because they’re in it for profit. If we stop buying and eating processed crap, they’ll stop making it. What we vote for with our dollars will grow. If you’d like help transitioning your diet from processed foods to whole foods, I’d love to help you do it! You can schedule here or call for a free 15 minute consultation to learn more. (541)318-4757.

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