Processed foods are often high in sodium, saturated fat, and sugar, and are lacking in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can contribute to weight gain, heart disease, and other health problems. To improve your nutrition and wellbeing, limit your intake of processed foods and added sugars, and opt for whole, minimally processed foods instead. Eating a diet rich in fresh, whole foods instead of processed foods can help you to maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for chronic disease, and improve your overall health.
When it comes to added sugars, the American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Added sugars can be found in many processed foods, such as baked goods, sodas, and candy. Eating too much sugar can increase your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of your intake of added sugars.
If you are finding it difficult to limit processed foods and added sugars in your diet, there are a few simple steps you can take. First, try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where you’ll find the fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Second, read food labels carefully to identify hidden sources of added sugars. Third, when you are dining out, ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side, and opt for grilled or steamed proteins instead of fried. Finally, try to find healthier alternatives to your favorite processed foods.