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The Dangers of Processed Food

By Alyssa Krafsur What if I told you that what you are eating can kill you! According to Consumer Health Reports, new processing techni ues are taking the nutrients out of foods! In a research study, conducted "y Ann Ar"or #ni$ersity, a test was done with rats and how cereal affected them! In one group the rats that were gi$en all the $itamins, water, and puffed up wheat they wanted, they died within a mere two weeks! %hese rats died "efore another control group that recei$ed no food at all, only water! &cientists theori'ed that this cereal had this effect on the mice "ecause e$ery grain was treated with such intensity of high heat and pressure that many of the nutrients in the grains were destroyed! %his process actually made the cereal to(ic to the mice! If the cereal is to(ic to mice, what are the potential health risks for humans) *ood processing techni ues do not +ust take the nutrients out of food, rather they also add e(tra ingredients that can "e harmful a person-s health! %hese ingredients include refined grains, salt, corn syrup, and trans.fats! Refined grains, such as white "read, "ecome pure sugar when digested in the "ody! White "read can change insulin le$els and lead to dia"etes, raise "lood pressure, and it can e$en cause a heart attack! &alt raises "lood pressure which can cause corrosion in the walls of arteries, allowing for pla ue to "uild up, e$entually causing a heart attack! High fructose corn syrup encourages o$ereating due to its chemical structure, leading to o"esity! *oods with trans.fats cause "uildup of these fats in the arteries of the heart, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack! An additional reason why processed foods are dangerous is "ecause most contain poor uality ingredients that are harmful to the "ody! /ils, flours, sweeteners, starches and fats are common su"stances that are found in processed foods, and are usually used as added fla$oring to mask the original taste of the ingredients, meaning that manufacturers can get away with lessening the uality of the foods! *urthermore, if you eat canned meats or e$en a "urger that has "een processed you won0t "e getting good cuts of meat, rather you will most likely "e eating the lefto$ers from a poor piece of meat! /ils, flours, sweeteners, starches and fats, all of which are used as fla$or enhancers, hide the true taste of poor uality food! 1any times the taste of the poor uality food is masked so well, that some consumers cannot tell it is of poor uality, they may o$ereat that processed product and not recei$e needed nutrition! 2rocessed meats also increase your risk of kidney, colorectal and stomach cancer! &ome e(amples of common processed meats are deli meats, "acon, ham, and hot dogs! A recent article created "y the American Cancer Institute states that research now shows that any amount of processed meat is linked to increased risk of cancer "ecause the preser$ati$es in the food may change into cancer.causing compounds in the "ody, howe$er, cancer is not the only pro"lem!

1any other food "orne illnesses ha$e also "een shown to originate from processed meats, such as Campylo"acter, 3! coli, &almonella, and 4isteria! In many cow raising factories, the cows stand knee deep in their own feces which can cause deadly 3! coli "acteria to easily spread from cow to cow! &ince the cows are raised in piles of fecal matter, the 3! coli is caked onto the cows- hides, and if slaughtered improperly the infected fecal matter on the hide can "e transferred into the meat! 3! coli poisoning can also come from people consuming $egeta"les and fruits that ha$e come into contact with tainted water or meat, and if people eat these foods, they can fall seriously ill and die! %he most common food "orne illness is salmonella infection, a "acterial disease of the intestinal tract that mostly comes from contaminated foods, especially from meat, poultry and eggs! %his infection can cause food poisoning, typhoid fe$er, gastroenteritis, and other illnesses! According to the Centers for 5isease Control and 2re$ention, o$er one million Americans are infected with salmonellosis each year, of which a"out fi$e. hundred die! 3$en with new processing techni ues salmonella poisoning still e(ists and is in the food supply! /n the graph it can "e seen that food poisoning was at an all.time high in 6778! %his is the most recent estimate on the graph, showing that processing foods does not always lead to safer food preparation! 2olicies should "e put in place that educates the American people on how dangerous their food really can "e! 2eople deser$e to know risk factors associated with their meal! If not, there can "e dire health conse uences in their future! /ne policy that should go into effect, that would "e "eneficial to the populous, is a list of risks or side effects associated with the food we recei$e as consumers! 9ust like with any medication, we should ha$e a policy that forces corporations to list the potential risks associated with the food product they are gi$ing us! %his would help the populous make smarter food decisions, which could lead to lower o"esity and heart pro"lems! Another policy that should go into effect is to educate the youth in schools on the potential risks of eating certain foods! 3ach child should know the risks of eating uestiona"le foods and they should "e taught good eating ha"its! We can sol$e the pro"lem of sickness and disease "y spreading awareness! If more people know a"out the risks of eating processed foods, there would "e more smart food decision making! %hus, there would "e less sickness and cancers in the world!


AICR! :67;<=! American institute for cancer research :AICR= . Red and processed meats> the cancer connection! Retrie$ed /cto"er 6?, 67;<, from http>@@pre$entcancer!aicr!org@site@2age&er$er)pagenameAelementsBredBprocessedBmeat C5C :67;<=! Centers for disease control and pre$ention! Retrie$ed /cto"er 6?, 67;<, from http>@@www!cdc!go$@salmonella@out"reaks!htm 5igest! :67;<=! 8 1ost harmful ingredients in packaged foods C Reader0s 5igest! Health tips, *ood and recipes,C Reader-s 5igest! Retrie$ed /cto"er D, 67;<, from http>@@www!rd!com@health@diet. packaged.foods@ *allon :677;=! Consumer health articles! Consumer Health! Retrie$ed /cto"er ;7, 67;<, from http>@@www!consumerhealth!org@articles@display!cfm)I5A677;;77E666F8D

1edical Gews! :677?=! What is salmonella! 1edical Gews %oday! Retrie$ed /cto"er 6?, 67;<, from http>@@www!medicalnewstoday!com@articles@;F7?86!php