The Food-Mood Connection Part 2, feat. Processed Foods--You Are What You Eat


Nutrients from food provide the foundation for the structure and function of the cells in our body. Our bodies are constantly building, repairing, healing, and rebuilding. The cells that make up our bodies are always regenerating and replacing old ones, and how healthy these cells are are determined by how healthy we eat. 

Our bodies also contain similar nutrients to the foods we eat, so depending on the kind of foods we are eating and it’s contents, we can be affecting our nutrient levels and overall health more than we think we are—all the way down to the cellular level. 

Here’s a rough breakdown (varies by individual). Our bodies are:

  • 6% minerals, carbs, and other nutrients
  • 16% fat
  • 16% protein
  • 62% water

Processed foods:

They contain many unneeded chemicals and calories that our bodies don’t need. They are biggest sources of added sugar, which is essentially empty calories. This amount of sugar can have an impact on metabolism over time, and can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, and high levels of harmful cholesterol. All of this can lead to fat accumulation throughout the body.

They are engineered for overconsumption. A great deal of money is spent on making food as desirable as possible and rewarding on the brain. This is a deadly combination in that it can be addicting to the brain and therefore, lead to overconsumption.

They are high in refined carbs, which can cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Over time, this leads to negative health effects. 

They are low in nutrients. The best nutrients are found in whole foods. The more processed foods we eat the less nutrients we are getting 

They are low in fiber. Fiber has many important health benefits, like aiding in digestion. Fiber is often lost or removed during processing. 

They take less time and energy to digest. When digesting processed foods, we only burn about half as many calories digesting and metabolizing them. 

They are high in trans-fat (unhealthy fats). The more trans-fat we eat, the higher our risk is for heart disease. 

Connection to mood:

  • Poor diet can lead to depression
  • Stress causes us to seek out sugar--why we eat sugar when stressed!
  • Food can be addicting

The takeaway:

  • Eat less processed food
  • Eat whole, nutrient dense foods
  • Make sure your diet incorporates the right amount of fiber, healthy fats, complex carbs, and water!