It’s no secret that here in North America, consumers’ anti-aging diets have become overpowered by three particular ingredients, no matter what type of food they’re consuming for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These three food groups are responsible for triggering pleasure centers in the brain and have been the focus of some impressively complex research into the nature of addiction. When we eat these foods, we can’t help but want more—while this has proven to be a boon to the food industry, it’s been a huge obstacle for our anti-aging diets.
The three food groups in question are fat, sugar, and salt. Put just the right amount of any one of these ingredients in a food and you’ll have a very successful product as far as sales go. All three ingredients are found in excess in most processed foods; everything from cheese, to sandwich meats, to cookies are full of fat, sugar, and salt. No matter what processed food you buy for your anti-aging diet, you’ll find these ingredients near the top of the list. Because fat, sugar, and salt interact with our brains by triggering feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, they can cause us to slip into food addictions—exactly what food companies want! But the results can ultimately be detrimental to your anti-aging diet.
The Risk of Fat, Sugar, and Salt in Your Anti-Aging Diet
Unfortunately, being addicted to junk food that’s high in fat, sugar, and salt is likely to lead to weight problems. Obesity is a national health problem affecting millions of Americans. Along with obesity comes an increased risk for chronic health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and digestive disorders. It’s not hard to connect the dots at this point and see that constantly eating foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt could accelerate the aging process as well. A body under siege from these three ingredients is going to age a lot faster than it would if it were fed an anti-aging diet packed with whole foods like fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, fish, and lean proteins. Unlike whole foods, processed foods contain little in the way of antioxidants, which are the main defense in your anti-aging diet against the cellular damage that leads to accelerated aging.
Why do we become so addicted to the fatty, sugary and salty processed foods in our anti-aging diet when we know they aren’t healthy for us? It all has to do with brain chemistry. Here’s a breakdown of how each ingredient works against your anti-aging diet, ultimately putting you at risk:
Too Much Salt in Your Anti-Aging Diet:
When you eat a particular food that contains salt, it usually includes a number of qualities that will help to give it a burst of flavor, such as making something sweet taste even richer and making crunchy snacks even more delectable. Salt also lengthens the amount of time a product can sit on store shelves—something the food processing industry values. However, too much salt in your anti-aging diet increases your blood pressure, so an excess could ultimately damage your heart.
Too Much Sugar in Your Anti-Aging Diet:
On the other hand, too much sugar in your anti-aging diet dampens the immune system. If you want to slow down the aging process, you definitely need to keep your immune system functioning at optimal levels, as it’s your immune system that fights off foreign invaders and keeps your cells and other bodily components healthy and free from disease. The right anti-aging diet can actually work to strengthen your immune system, rather than harm it.
Too Much Fat in Your Anti-Aging Diet:
As for fat, researchers believe it is even more addictive than sugar for your anti-aging diet. Fat gives an immediate energy boost when you eat it, which can be very satisfying, especially when you’re feeling fatigued. This is why you often find yourself reaching for something that’s high in fat mid-morning or mid-afternoon, when blood sugar levels tend to naturally dip a bit. Fats, especially the unhealthy kind, in your anti-aging diet usher in many of the negative changes associated with getting older, such as inflammation, weight gain, and cognitive decline.
In a nutshell, food addictions not only damage your anti-aging diet, but they also accelerate the natural aging process, because the foods most likely to cause addictions are the ones that are the unhealthiest for your body as you get older. To help slow down the natural process of aging, you need to keep your anti-aging diet in check by monitoring the foods you’re eating. Avoid buying ready-made and processed foods all the time; instead, do a little cooking at home using fresh, whole ingredients. Monitor the amount of fat, sugar, and salt in your anti-aging diet by including only the bare minimum in meals.
“Salt, Sugar and Fat: Could You Be Addicted?” The Dr. Oz Show web site, February 25, 2013; http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/salt-sugar-and-fat-could-you-be-addicted.
Sifferlin, A., “Salt Sugar Fat: Q&A with Author Michael Moss,” TIME Health & Family web site, February 26, 2013; http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/26/salt-sugar-fat-qa-with-author-michael-moss/.