Can Processing Cause Diabetes?
Food is any material consumed to supply nutrition to an organism. The word ‘food’ actually refers to the products derived from plants that are consumed to promote life. Food is generally of animal, plant or fungus origin, and often contains vital nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals or trace elements. In recent years, people have turned to food as a way to avoid the rising amounts of fat, sugar, salt and other additives that increasingly make up daily meals. In this world of high-calorie, high-fat foods, many people have turned away from the traditional food sources – at least for the moment – and towards organic, free-range, more natural food.
Today’s ‘organic’ foods offer much more variety than in years gone by. They’re grown without the harmful chemicals and pesticides that were used so heavily in the past, and without the depleted soil nutrients that are so common in today’s ‘farming’ of food crops. While they cost more for the buyer, they offer greater nutritional value, especially for people who are trying to boost their immune systems and reduce their dependence on synthetic chemicals. Some varieties of organic produce have been grown with sprays of toxins as part of a study to test the impact of exposure to toxins on the immune system – and, in some cases, the effects were shown to be quite drastic.
A person needs a varied amount of food depending on his or her activity level and physical condition. Those with a high energy consumption need more food and energy-containing drinks, while those who burn through their energy quicker find that they need less food and beverages with fewer calories. Different types of food provide different amounts of nutrient value. For example, leafy greens, beans, whole grains and lentils all contain important nutrients that are important to a balanced diet and a strong immune system.
Oily foods like tuna, nuts and avocados are loaded with good fats and acids that help protect the body against the harmful effects of free radicals. In addition to this, these foods help reduce LDL cholesterol (bad) and promote heart health, although it is not clear how much dieting depends on these nutrients. Many studies show that consuming real foods may reduce the risk of heart disease. The research is particularly encouraging because of the role that fat plays in preventing heart disease.
Fibre is also an important ingredient in many plant-based diets, particularly the type of diet recommended for those at risk of heart disease, since it helps prevent cardiovascular disease. It is thought that fibre makes food taste better, since the digestive system slows down when food passes slowly through the small, intestine-like tubes called villi in order to process it into nutrients. However, fibre may also have other health benefits, including reducing the risk of colon cancer, gallstones and stroke. Researchers have also found that fibre may help prevent the development of diseases related to the immune system such as allergies and asthma. Some researchers believe that increasing the amount of soluble fibre in the diet could help prevent cardiovascular disease.
All of these nutrients can be found in whole foods, although many people prefer their diet to be 80% natural food. The problem for those who prefer a diet rich in processed food is that they often do not get enough of the antioxidants found in real food to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol. One study showed that a group given a high-fiber diet had a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes. Another study showed that those who ate a lot of nuts and seeds, but not a lot of processed food, were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.