(AscendHealthy.com) – Processed food is everywhere, and most people include it in their diets. But could it be aging you? New research is out, and you may want to cut back on ultra-processed foods in favor of whole food alternatives. Read on to find out more about how processed foods might be making you age before your time.
Telomeres are structures found on the ends of our chromosomes, and they preserve the integrity of those chromosomes by stopping the ends from becoming frayed. Over time, telomeres shorten and become less effective, which is a marker of the aging process. Processed food can speed up the telomere-shortening process. What does that mean for your health? Read on to find out!
See How Processed Food Affects Telomeres, A Marker of Aging.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the consumption of ultra-processed food could be speeding up the aging of the body’s cells. Researchers say telomeres get shorter when the body is exposed to a lot of processed food.
The chemicals in those foods can damage telomeres and prematurely age the cells. As part of the natural aging process, telomeres get shorter on their own over time. When processed foods are added to the mix, it speeds up the process of telomere shortening, and the body may age faster than it otherwise would.
What Kinds of Chemicals Are in Processed Food?
Consumption of ultra-processed foods are on the rise. Although these foods contain the naturally-occurring building blocks of food, like fats, oils, sugars, and protein isolates, they actually contain very little in the way of whole food within them.
Instead, processed foods are mostly comprised of chemicals. Manufacturers add emulsifiers and flavorings for texture and taste and cosmetic additives like colorings to make the food look better. The result is that ultra-processed foods are nutritionally poor and unbalanced.
Processed Foods Mean Big Profit for Producers
Companies can produce ultra-processed foods inexpensively and market them easily because they look pretty and taste good. Research shows that many big food producers are focused mostly on profit, and not on food quality or value.
Consumers like these foods because they don’t spoil easily and they’re extremely convenient. With so many selling points for processed foods, why would anyone turn them down? The risk of premature or accelerated aging could be a good reason for consumers to say no to processed food consumption.
What Has Past Research Said About Processed Foods?
Telomere length and the consumption of processed food as a nutritional niche hasn’t been linked in past research. Researchers have noted that the length of telomeres can be affected by alcohol, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and foods that have a lot of sugar and saturated fat.
Additional research has shown that conditions, such as hypertension, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, can be affected by processed foods. Certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes have also been linked in some cases. These conditions are also common in older people, so it’s not always easy to specifically associate them with processed food consumption.
The bottom line is that even though processed foods are convenient and tasty, most consumers may not realize processed foods could be speeding up the aging process or other unhealthy aspects. Armed with knowledge about the effects of processed food, more consumers may choose whole food alternatives without chemicals that are harmful to their telomeres. Different dietary choices that include whole foods and exclude ultra-processed foods might benefit consumers with slowed aging and better health.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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