Relying on packaged foods during the pandemic is the worst mistake I’ve ever made. Here’s why
By Emily Hagan | Published on Oct 17, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our lives, leaving no aspect untouched. Personally, as I navigated through the lockdown and grappled with the fear of allowing domestic help into my home, I found myself burdened with numerous household chores. In an attempt to save time and energy, I resorted to relying on packaged foods. Little did I know that this decision would turn out to be one of the worst mistakes I have ever made. Let me share with you the reasons why.
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The Allure of Addiction
At first, I convinced myself that these processed foods would be a temporary indulgence. With each packet of chips or instant pasta, I promised myself it would be the “last time.” Yet, I found myself unable to resist their allure. It turns out that the advertising claims were not baseless. According to a study conducted by The University of Michigan and Mount Sinai Hospital, processed foods can be as addictive as hard drugs. Their high content of sugar, fat, and salt triggers the same pleasure centers in our brains as addictive substances like cocaine and heroin. These foods release dopamine, the feel-good chemical, leaving us constantly craving more.
However, unlike drug addiction, food addiction can be overcome with awareness and self-control.
The Weighty Consequences
Unsurprisingly, my addiction to these packaged foods led to weight gain. A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism explains that packaged foods are often made with refined ingredients, which are quickly digested, resulting in fewer calories burned during digestion. Furthermore, the excess fat and carbohydrates in these foods contribute to additional weight gain.
The Perennial Bloating
Bloating became an unwelcome companion in my life alongside the consumption of packaged foods. Whether it’s the excessive salt or the preservatives at play, these foods seemed to trigger water retention and discomfort.
Unexpected Respiratory Woes
One might assume that food wouldn’t affect the respiratory system, but in my case, packaged foods exacerbated my bronchitis. It was only when I stumbled upon a study published in The International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research that I discovered the presence of artificial preservatives, such as nitrites, benzoates, sulfites, and sorbates, as the likely culprit.
Fatigue and Crankiness
Despite the high carbohydrate content in packaged foods (excluding chicken and meat), I found myself feeling perpetually exhausted and irritable. It turns out that preservatives, additives, sodium, trans fat, and artificial ingredients present in these foods can have a sluggish effect on our bodies.
Within a month of consuming packaged fast food daily, I noticed the appearance of dry, itchy patches on my skin that began to flake off. This was a severe consequence that served as a wake-up call. Research published in BMJ Journals revealed that junk food consumption is not only linked to acne but also to skin problems such as eczema and premature aging.
Finally, I reached a tipping point and decided to return to my normal pattern of clean and healthy eating. It took time to reverse the damage caused by packaged food consumption, but I managed to overcome it. If you are experiencing similar problems and struggling to identify the cause, I encourage you to analyze your consumption of junk and processed foods. You might just find the answer you’re looking for.