Processed Foods & Weight Gain

August 3, 2019

Listen in as we share how to navigate the aisles of processed foods and all the healthier, and tastier, real food options that can have profound benefits on your health.

Recent research from the National Institute of Health found that when subjects ate ultra-processed foods they gained 1-2 pounds a week – which could really add up over a full year. While these findings confirm what we at Nutritional Weight & Wellness have been sharing with clients, but is still news to many Americans. Listen in as we share how to navigate the aisles of processed foods and all the healthier, and tastier, real food options that can have profound benefits on your health.

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KARA: Good morning everybody. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Kara Carper. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist. I have a master's degree in holistic health and I'm also a Certified Nutrition Specialist. This morning I'm hosting Dishing Up Nutrition and it's a live show and also will be a podcast. And I'm here with Shelby Hummel, who recently had a name change so I'm going to tell you all what her new name is: Shelby Olson. So Shelby and Tyler recently got married over the 4th of July weekend. Shelby may have a new name, but she's still the same sought after nutritionist that many, many clients meet with individually. She also presents lunch and learns at local companies. She teaches our Nutrition for Weight Loss series at many of our twin cities locations. Shelby loves the topic of food and nutrition and it really comes across when she's working with her clients and her class members. And she works with people to make positive changes, so really excited to be here with Shelby today. And we have a great and interesting topic to share with you. So the title of our show today is “how processed foods are connected to weight gain”.

SHELBY: Well hey Kara! It's great to be back in the studio with you.

KARA: You as well.

SHELBY: I'm going to have to practice this: Shelby Olson.

KARA: It’s going to take me awhile.

SHELBY: Yeah, change is good sometimes though, right?

KARA: Congratulations.

SHELBY: Thank you. Thank you. It's great to be back. I don't think any of us at Nutritional Weight and Wellness were surprised when we saw the results with the National Institute of Health or the NIH when they found… they were studying this topic of processed foods and their connection to weight gain. Basically, the NIH study found that heavily processed foods caused over-eating and weight gain. No surprise for those of us at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. But this study found that people eating ultra processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate minimally processed foods. Now we're going to be talking a little bit more about what that ultra processed food would be: give you guys some specific examples so you can follow along with us this morning.

KARA: We are, we're going to dive actually pretty deep into this study because it was so interesting. You might be wondering: “How did they set the study up so that each test group had the same amount of calories, therefore making it possible to compare things, you know, apples to apples”. So the National Institute of Health Study, it was a highly controlled experiment. So that part is really important. It was carefully constructed with each and every meal that was provided to the participants and it was a smaller study, but it was, you know, their money spent on it and the fact that it was so highly controlled is what makes the outcome so interesting.

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: So the study included 10 males and 10 females. All 20 participants were housed right there at the NIH clinical center for one month. The first two weeks, their diet consisted of meals of ultra processed foods, and then the following two weeks, their diet was comprised of meals that were minimally processed foods.

SHELBY: Right. So really what you're saying here is the foods considered ultra processed or the foods considered minimally processed…

KARA: …more real foods.

SHELBY: Exactly. The people who were participating, the 10 men and the 10 women, they were actually exposed to both diets.

KARA: Correct.

SHELBY: Yeah. Okay. So the foods considered ultra processed had ingredients found in factory foods. So we're talking about the hydrogenated vegetable oils, maybe like a soybean oil or a corn oil or even cottonseed oil; canola oil. These foods also contained high fructose corn syrup: that sweetener. It had flavoring agents and even emulsifiers. So to give you an example, listeners, an ultra processed breakfast that they would've served might have consisted of say like a bagel with cream cheese, whereas a minimally processed breakfast would have had some sort of vegetable; maybe spinach, some protein maybe coming from eggs, and of course real fruit, like a fruit cup or something like that.

KARA: And some listeners might be a little bit confused at this point, thinking, “Well, isn't a bagel and cream cheese healthy?” And I mean, we'll talk more about that too, but that would be considered a processed food: the bagel with the cream cheese versus the real food with eggs, vegetables, and fruit. So the ultra processed and the minimally processed meals: they actually had the same amount of calories, the same amount of sugar, fiber, fat and carbohydrates. And the participants could eat as much or as little as they wanted.

SHELBY: Right. So I think that's important to highlight again. People were given the foods while they were in house. They were offered the same foods. They had the same amount of calories, the same amount of sugar, fiber, all of those kind of macronutrients that we're talking about. But they could eat as much or as little as they wanted. So that's one thing that we're going to be talking about a little bit more as it relates to the results. So you may be asking, “Well, what were the results of the study?” On the ultra processed diet the participants ate about 500 more calories each day on those processed foods compared to the real foods: the minimally processed diet. They ate faster on the ultra processed diet and they also gained weight. So those are two I think important takeaways for, for those of you listening. Not only were people eating faster on the ultra processed diet, they were also gaining weight, whereas when people were eating the minimally processed diet or for you know, simplicity, we'll just call them real foods. The participants were actually averaging a weight loss of two pounds. So that would be about a pound a week because they were eating these things for two weeks.

KARA: So it was actually kind of the opposite effect. So the people that were eating more, we're going to talk more about that, but they gain on average a pound a week. The people that were eating real food lost about on average a pound per week.

SHELBY: Right. And I want to just really want to drive this home Kara, for our listeners. People were eating the same grams of protein. They were eating the same grams of carbohydrates, the same grams of fat on the ultra processed diet versus the real food diet. So when it comes to comparing their diets for the two different weeks it is the same.

KARA: Right.

SHELBY: That's one of the things that we want to make sure we're, we're pinpointing today because it does make a difference when you start to look at metabolism, but then also other health concerns.

KARA: Right, right. And like you said, they were eating faster. So there were a lot of things that were different with the processed food group.

SHELBY: Exactly. And I don't think any of us in the field of nutrition would recommend that people eat processed foods. But you know, with a study like this, with these findings, now there's actual research that shows, yes, people gain more weight when their diet is made up mostly of these highly processed, sometimes we call them factory made foods.

SHELBY: Right, right. And I just want to go over those results one more time to make sure our listeners… research is not easy to understand even for people who have exposure to research. But one of the things that Kara and I were really hoping to do this morning is to help you guys understand these results, because it is a landmark study, and how this could potentially help you be looking at your nutrition: your nutrition plan. So the test study subjects consumed 500 calories more daily eating the ultra processed diet compared to those on the minimally processed diet. So they went from an average of like 2,500 calories a day on the minimally processed diet to about 3000 calories on the ultra processed; those factory foods. So in two weeks of eating processed foods they gained two pounds or an average of a pound a week. Now, if you eat processed foods every week for 52 weeks, that means that you can very likely gain 50 or more pounds. Now that's one thing that we would consider a serious problem, especially here in the United States where we're seeing these rises in obesity and heart disease and type two diabetes.

KARA: Yeah, a pound a week. A pound here and there doesn't sound like a lot, but when we're talking about an average of gaining a pound a week and 50 pounds a year, that can lead to a lot of serious chronic health issues. So let's talk about what did the ultra processed diet look like? So this might come as a surprise to many of you, but the ultra processed diet, you know, wasn't a bunch of chips and cookies and soda. You know, that's, that's kind of what I thought before I actually read the details. Oh, it's a bunch of fast food and junk food. It was more like convenience foods. So think about things like canned soup, rice in a pouch. So unfortunately, you know, a lot of people might perceive those types of foods as being healthy: canned soup or rice in a pouch or Hamburger Helper in a box.

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: But those are ultra processed.

SHELBY: And so one of the things that we've talked a lot about here on Dishing Up Nutrition is sugar sweetened beverages. Now sugar sweetened beverages would be something that I think of as ultra processed. You know, we're talking about soda, energy drinks, fruit juices: those kind of smoothie juices. Like, I think of like the Odwalla or like the Naked juices. Those I think of as being very processed, high sugar. But what you're saying here is that, you know, a lot of the ultra processed foods that they were researching weren't what we consider junk food.

KARA: Yeah. They weren't maybe as obvious like the juice or the soda, the chips, the candy, the desserts. It was just more you know, boxed foods, canned foods, things like that.

SHELBY: More the convenience options.

KARA: Right. But they do have a lot of chemicals and bad fats.

SHELBY: Which is something that I think we should, Kara, we should talk a little bit more on the other side of break.

KARA: That sounds great.

SHELBY: To give our listeners a little bit more about this research and what that means. So if you're just tuning in, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today's show and podcast are brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We are discussing the recent research findings from the National Institutes of Health, which revealed when people eat ultra processed foods, they eat faster, they eat more food, they eat more calories and they gain more.


KARA: Welcome back. You’re listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. We have a lot of classes to help you make the switch from eating processed foods to real, natural foods. We also help to connect certain health conditions with food, like when health conditions are made worse by eating processed foods or when your health improves when you're eating real natural foods. So farm foods versus factory chemical-laden foods. One of these upcoming classes is The Food Connection to ADHD. If you or your child has a focus, attention or behavioral concern, consider an individual appointment with one of our nutritionists or you know you can attend the Food Connection to ADHD at our Maple Grove location. That's going to be held Saturday, September 28th. You can check out our website: for more details. And both of these teachers will tell you that they wished that they had known this information when their kids were younger, because they both had children with ADHD and did eventually learn this information. But their kids were older and it's great to have this information, especially if you have younger kids dealing with this.

SHELBY: Right. That is actually interesting because one of the things that I hear time and time again when I am going out to the corporate setting or I'm teaching a community education class or even working one on one with clients is they say to me, it's like, “Well, I shouldn't have to have a master's degree in nutrition to be able to feed my family healthy food, right?” And I say, “Well, no you shouldn't.” But unfortunately that message is not getting out there. And so, if you guys are listening this morning and you know someone who maybe does have young children or maybe middle school children.

KARA: Yeah, it doesn't have to be young children. I mean, it could be an adult that needs this information.

SHELBY: Part of what we encourage you to do is share this message. I mean, I think the two biggest obstacles for people taking hold of their nutrition and having a good nutrition plan is I hear people say, well, they don't know what to eat and they don't have the time to cook. And so we can't really help you, I mean, Kara and I, we can't come into your kitchen and cook for you or do that sort of thing. But we can empower you with nutrition information and help you with that hurdle of, well, what do I eat? What can I feed my children? And so that seminar would be a great offering for people as well. You know, share that message with someone who maybe needs to hear that.

KARA: So Shelby, before break, we were just, we were obviously talking about the NIH study. So for those, if you're just tuning in, you know, our topic today is how processed foods lead to weight gain.

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: And we're really just diving into a study that was done by the National Institutes of Health in May of 2019.

SHELBY: Yeah. And we know we can't always believe research findings because unfortunately some research studies have been funded by those large food corporations. And of course they don't want their food products to have poor reviews. So however, in this particular case, the National Institutes of Health or the NIH, that is our nation's medical research agency. So by conducting this particular study, you know, we are taking their information and looking at that through a different lens. We know that the NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting not only clinical but that basic translational medical research. And they're looking at cures for common and rare diseases, so kind of a unique situation to have these participants working with the NIH but then also living in-house, right?

KARA: Right; for a month.

SHELBY: Exactly. Yeah.

KARA: The NIH research team was led by Kevin Hall, and he's really become a global obesity expert in the past 10 years. So Kevin Hall is known for his really precise research methods. He doesn't believe in simple solutions, magic foods, the magic cure or magic pill.

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: He's not into whatever this week's top selling diet book is. So weight loss and health are complex and, but we, you know, we're trying to make a little bit more simple and breaking this down. And our message at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is… it's a pretty simple message, you know, good quality protein. Maybe an example would be grass fed meat; vegetables and fruit as your main carbohydrate sources, and natural real healthy fats. We want to stay clear of some of the foods that we talked about before break that were used in the study: the ultra processed foods, like the canned soup. Things like that.

SHELBY: Yeah. Now, as nutritionists, we recognize that when you're eating processed foods, no doubt we're going to gain weight. Maybe it's not 50 pounds in a year. Maybe it's not a pound a week, but you could easily gain 20 pounds and you may be asking, “Well, why does this happen?

KARA: Well, the NIH researchers found that when the subjects eat ultra processed foods, this is really interesting. They ate 50% faster than when they ate the real foods.

SHELBY: Kara, why does that make a difference though? Why does eating faster actually influence our waistline?

KARA: So processed foods, they just tend to be softer. They're easier to chew and swallow and you know it's going to take longer for, well; it takes about 20 minutes for our intestinal track to release a hormone that tells us that we're getting full.

SHELBY: Okay. So if you're eating too fast, you may be eating and eating and eating before your brain gets the message, “Oh yeah, I’ve had enough.

KARA: That you’re full and satisfied; exactly.

SHELBY: Listeners, can you relate to that? Think about the last time that you were so ravenous, so hungry, and you just kind of shoveled food in and then you sat back and a few, you know, 20, 30 minutes later you're like, “Oh, I ate too much. I'm so uncomfortable.”

KARA: Yeah. So just to kind of sum that up is we often tend to overeat because our stomach has not released the hormone to tell our brain, “Hey, you're full. You're done. You're satisfied. You've had enough.”

SHELBY: Interesting. Well, Kara, that brings me, I want to share a little bit more information from Kevin Hall, the researcher that you had mentioned. He said this new study wasn't actually designed to see exactly the mechanism that contributed to weight gain. They really just wanted to see what the difference between ultra processed foods and more real foods, you know, how that comparison changes the metabolism. But one of the things that Hall said is that the hormones… they're estimating, they're looking and hopefully doing more research on this down the road, but looking to see what hormones are involved in that appetite suppression.

KARA: Sure.

SHELBY: And so there are two hormones. The participants who are eating the unprocessed diet, they actually had higher levels of our appetite suppressing hormone called PYY. That's secreted by the gut. So we have to remember that we need that intestinal track to have enough time to secrete those hormones. But these participants who are eating more of the real foods also had lower levels of ghrelin, our hunger hormone. So that may actually explain why they ate fewer calories. Now for those of you who are, who are taking good notes, remember that's 500 calories less for the people who are eating the real foods.

KARA: 500 calories per day.

SHELBY: Now on the flip side, the people who are on the ultra processed diet, those hormone changes were flipped, really; so you know, participants were hungry. They didn't get that message to the brain that they had had enough. And, and those are some estimations based on the findings here that Hall had recommended; need to be studied down the road to take this, this research to the next level.

KARA: So interesting. One thing I want to add on too is that the study participants, we've said this already, but they were allowed to eat as much or as little as they wanted, but when they were given these ultra processed meals, they didn't necessarily rate those meals as tasting any better. So you'd think that maybe that's why they ate the extra 500 calories because things tasted so great. That wasn't the case.

SHELBY: They were able to control for that.

KARA: Yeah. So they, they rated the meals as not tasting better, but they still ate 500 more calories. So you and I were talking about that before this show. Their bodies were not satiated.

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: Because when you're, when you're eating all this processed food, your body's like, “Hey, I'm not getting what I need.”

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: I'm not full. Those hormones were in play as well.

SHELBY: Well, and I have another thing that I want to share with the listeners when we come back from, from our second break. If you just are tuning in, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Large food companies often fund research: one of the things I had mentioned: trying to get people to believe that their processed food product is actually a health food or something that they should buy for their family. For instance, do any of you listening this morning believe that chocolate, maybe dark chocolate even, is a health food? Well, Mars Inc., the candy company tried for years to have research results that said their chocolate is heart-healthy. Now you know in the end Mars finally said that chocolate should not be considered a health food. I know a few of you were really wishing that we are going to tell you chocolate is a is a heart healthy food, but if you want to know more about the research studies conducted and their results check out Marion Nestle's book Unsavory Truth.


KARA: Welcome back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. As our August special, we're offering six of our most well attended 90-minute classes for only $10 a piece. You may need to take Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation or perhaps Prevent Osteoporosis with Bone-Building Foods or maybe Getting a Good Night's Sleep sounds interesting to you. You might want to take all six of the classes. They're only $10 a piece during the entire month of August; great classes, wonderful instructors. Space is limited and those do fill up quickly each summer, don't they? So you want to sign up as soon as possible. You can sign up online at you can also call our office at (651) 699-3438. And tell your friends and family as well about these classes. And I just want to give a plug for next Saturday's show. It's going to be Carolyn and Joann discussing eating to maintain a strong body and mind as we age. So that's going to be a great topic. You don't want to miss that either.

SHELBY: Definitely. Before we went to break we were talking a little bit more about the mechanism of action, kind of what, what we presume is going on; why people are eating 500 more calories when they're eating processed foods, those ultra processed foods. But we're really highlighting this research from the National Institutes of Health that found when people are eating ultra processed foods, they're gaining weight. So one of the other nutritional factors to consider when we're looking at real food versus processed food is the fiber content of that food. Now, one of the reasons why we encourage our clients and our listeners to be eating lots of vegetables is because we know vegetables contain insoluble fiber. And as they move through the stomach and the intestinal tract, they're not being broken down and absorbed by the body. So fiber is one of those things, listeners, that helps make you, you know, satiated. It, it helps with that fullness factor. But I also want to, you know, give you an example. So if we were to compare fruit, like a real piece of fruit to fruit snacks for example.

KARA: Like a yeah, fruit strip, fruit leather, all that stuff.

SHELBY: Right? You may see on the package, oh well, look at the vitamin C that it has in it or you know, look, it says it has antioxidants in there.

KARA: Or the ingredients are apples and berries. However…

SHELBY: One of the things that you're missing in that fruit leather or fruit snacks or things like that is the fiber. Part of that chewing, the berries, the apples; the apple skins in particular: you're getting that fiber. And so people will say to me, you know, well what's the biggest difference between, you know, maybe a potato chip and a sweet potato chip, right? I'm getting more vegetables if I'm having a sweet potato chip. And it's like, well…

KARA: Or maybe a healthier vegetable or…

SHELBY: Exactly; exactly. So you know, remember fiber is coming from our fruits and our vegetables. So here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we encourage you to be eating real vegetables, not the veggie straws or the veggie chips.

KARA: I think those are great examples because if you go to the grocery store, you know, you're just inundated with all of these marketing gimmicks, you know, and it's going to have the word veggie on it. But if it's puffed and it's in a bag, you know it's not going to have the fiber. It's not going to have nearly the same nutrients as the actual vegetables.

SHELBY: And actually one of the things that I like to help people think about is if you were to put a piece of food on your tongue, let's just say like a puffed brussels sprout. Hey, if you haven't seen those before, they are in the market these days. And it is so interesting that someone would buy a puffed brussels sprout. It's just beyond me. But if you were to put a puffed brussels sprout or even popcorn on your tongue, you could let that melt on your tongue without having to chew that. Now compare that to an actual brussels sprout or compare that to you know, a raspberry or a strawberry. Those real fruits; the fiber in those fruits and vegetables prevent those from melting on your tongue; essentially prevent them or slow them from turning into sugar really quickly in the body. So that's one of the other benefits that we're talking about when it comes to vegetables.

KARA: It’s so important to have that real fiber and the real vegetable, real fruit.

SHELBY: Exactly; so perhaps when you're eating those unprocessed foods like vegetables, the insoluble fiber can lead to fewer calories being consumed and absorbed.

KARA: Now we're armed with the research that specifically points out that when we eat processed foods, we are very likely to gain weight. And based on this study and the knowledge that we have already, there are a lot of factors for this. It could be the lack of insoluble fiber, particularly from not eating enough vegetables. That really is what one of the things; a good take-away from that study. So that could really be a key for weight control, weight loss, weight maintenance is just making sure to get that real insoluble fiber from the real vegetables; the real fruits.

SHELBY: Exactly. Now for those participants that I have in Nutrition for Weight Loss, they say to me, “I'm eating more vegetables than I ever have in my whole life.” And I think that's great because in our Weight and Wellness eating plan, we encourage eating lots of vegetables, not only for the high nutrient content, but for that fiber. Some vegetables that are high in insoluble fiber are things like greens. Maybe you're talking spinach or kale or those brussels sprouts, or even watercress. Now, apple skins are a good source of fiber as well. If you're looking for sweet potatoes or cruciferous vegetables, those are wonderful ways to get fiber; tasty ways too, if you're cooking them correctly, right? Roasted cauliflower, roasted broccoli; other cruciferous vegetables would be things like bok choy or cabbage or even brussels sprouts. Keep it simple, you know, eating a variety of vegetables. Most people like cooked cruciferous vegetables better, you know, those kind of, broccoli, brussel sprouts. So maybe try roasting them this weekend or you know, sauté them up in a stir fry.

KARA: We have a lot of great recipes at our website as well: weightandwellnesscom. You know, there's a recipes tab and lots of different ways to prepare vegetables. Two studies published in the British Medical Journal found a lower risk of heart disease and longer life for those who were eating less processed foods.

SHELBY: Wow. So we do, we have a lot of research now to back up what we've been saying here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness for decades. If you want better health and you want to be able to lose weight but also maintain that weight loss you need to give up eating the processed foods. It does, it really saddens me when I hear, you know, seniors; some of our more sensitive population, you know, maybe they're having canned soup for lunch. Maybe they're having cereal for breakfast, but you know, they think that those things are healthy. But especially after learning that the NIH calls canned soup an ultra processed food that clearly identifies that we have a genuine need for more basic food education. Or what about this Kara? I can't tell you how many times I hear clients say that they run out the door with, you know, a bagel and maybe cream cheese for breakfast. That would be an example of an ultra processed food. And you had mentioned this before, but in the past we were told that a bagel with low-fat cream cheese was healthy because it didn't have fat in it. It wasn't going to make us gain weight.

KARA: It’s that whole misconception about avoiding fat, so low-fat cream cheese is healthy.

SHELBY: And we started to eat more processed carbohydrates in the meantime. So perhaps it is time to take a long, hard look at what you're really eating. If you're someone who's eating frozen meals, you know, diet beverages, those fruit juices or pastries or grabbing, you know, the veggie straws or the chips, boxed foods and even canned foods: those are the ultra processed foods that they researched in this study. The highly processed foods: unfortunately our main source of calories for many Americans. Now some research shows that 60% of the calories that Americans are eating are actually coming from processed foods. Could that be why we're seeing such an increase in chronic disease? Now, that being said, we have to lay that foundation of nutrition education. So that's what we're, we're hoping to do today. But it also does take firm resolve and that mindset to make the switch. I just want to give listeners a quote from Dr. Mark Hyman. He is a medical doctor out of the Cleveland Clinic, but he said it's been found that the more people prepare their own meals at home, the healthier their diet is and the less likely they are to have obesity and type two diabetes.

KARA: Which are two things that Americans are, I mean, that's so prevalent in our country especially is type two diabetes and obesity. So just what you're saying, what Dr. Hyman is saying, preparing food at home reduces the risk.

SHELBY: Exactly.

KARA: I really like what Dr. Mark Hyman said about ultra processed foods. Also in his New York Times bestselling book, it's called Eat Fat, Get Thin. I love the title: “Eat Fat, Get Thin. I find this so interesting. Dr. Hyman wrote, “All industrial foods contain all the same processed ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, flour, salt, hydrogenated fats or oils, MSG, which is monosodium glutamate, color, additives and preservatives. Actually, he, his quote goes on a little bit longer. Should we finish that on the other side of break?

SHELBY: Yeah, yeah. Maybe we'll, we'll give them something to think about over break. Yeah, so you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Once again, as you've heard this morning, we're talking about the recent research done by the NIH that clearly tells us when people eat processed foods, they will gain more weight because they eat more to become satisfied. It would seem that Americans have been fed a lot of misinformation from the research sponsored by food companies. So for example, Coca-Cola stated “Physical activity is more effective than diet in weight control.” They went on to say that sugar and soft drinks were harmless. Of course, we now know that this is simply misinformation. Sadly, these beverages are very addictive and over time they can wreak havoc on your health. I personally know a woman who drank 10 cans of Coca-Cola daily throughout college and then the decades following, she has; she had and actually still has various health conditions. So if you'd like to know more about how the food industry has used sponsored research to influence our eating and buying behaviors, again, I would encourage you to check out…


KARA: Welcome back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Kara Carper and I'm here with Shelby Olson. And our topic today is processed foods and weight gain and we're diving into this study conducted by the National Institutes of Health. So now we know that research has found that most people gain weight when eating a processed food diet, but eating a processed food diet also raises the risk of developing heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. How do you switch from grabbing processed foods to eating real, natural foods? Before I discovered Nutritional Weight and Wellness, which was, oh my gosh, I think it was 2004. I can't even remember now. But I had, my diet was okay. But I was definitely still eating too many processed foods because it was just easy. You know, I was, I was in my twenties. I thought they tasted good. I just couldn't get enough of them sometimes. You know, I actually was eating bagels and cream cheese at the time. So I admit that. I now eat real food to maintain good health. I want energy. I want good moods. I want to sleep well. I have a seven year-old and feeding her and my family is really important to me. Feeding, you know, real healthy foods. At Nutritional Weight and Wellness we have a variety of classes to teach you how to incorporate real food into your diet. And we all get excited about the great selections offered at the farmer's market, especially in the summer in Minnesota: our short-lived summer. From the fresh organic fruits and veggies to the grass fed meat; the wild-caught salmon. It's really rewarding to know that what my family eats is what they need to be as healthy and happy as possible. So let Nutritional Weight and Wellness educate you to help you make food choices that you and your family will be proud of. And eating real food is really the best self-care habit that you can establish. It all starts with real food. Call 651-699-3438. You can set up an appointment with one of our nutritionists or dietitians. You can also do this online if you prefer that. And it's

SHELBY: Right, right. So for those that are maybe just tuning in before break, Kara was talking, she was quoting actually, Dr. Mark Hyman from his book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, which I just think is so great. But he says all industrial foods contain the same ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, flour, salt, hydrogenated fats, MSG, color, additives and preservatives. And I think, Kara, you were going to finish sharing that message from Dr. Mark Hyman.

KARA: So if you covered the front of the package of these factory made foods and you just looked at the label, you didn't know what it was, you were just looking at the ingredients, you wouldn't be able to tell if it were Pop Tarts or Pizza Rolls. There is a Nutritional Weight and Wellness teacher, I was sitting in on a class one time and she actually did that experiment. She brought in labels of a variety of processed foods and covered up what they were and passed around to the class members.

SHELBY: Just the ingredients.

KARA: Just the ingredients. Nobody, it was kind of a guessing game. Nobody could even guess what it was, what they were.

SHELBY: Cause they probably all had.

KARA: They all had the same thing: high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, MSG. It was really interesting. And actually, I find that to be shocking. So I hope that kind of makes you stop and think listeners.

SHELBY: Exactly. Now sorting out the real nutrition truths from those large companies trying to sell you a product, that can seem like a full-time job. So I just want to give you listeners another example. Now, Coca-Cola wanted the FDA to let them add vitamins to their drinks so they could advertise their drinks as healthier. Now their ads would likely show healthy looking people having fun, being really active; and with that image in our brain, we would think, oh well their vitamin-infused drinks must be healthy, right?

KARA: Based on the advertising; the commercials. In the past, the FDA was discouraging makers of candy and other junk foods from adding vitamins just so that they could be marketed as healthy. Now, this was now, and I actually didn't know about this until researching for the show. This was known as the “Jelly Bean rule”.

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: Vitamins could not be added to jelly beans or Coca-Cola and they couldn't be advertised as healthy.

SHELBY: So what did they do instead? There have been some exceptions, however. Vitamins can be added to gummy bears and are actually sold as a supplement, so not being sold as a food or a candy product. They're actually adding vitamins to gummy bears or other confections and selling them as a supplement. Now I have to laugh because this actually happened this week. I was working with a new client and she brought in her multivitamin. You know, she wrote on her health questionnaire: multivitamins. She brought in this container that she had gotten from, you know, a big box store and it, it was like a women's multivitamin in like a peanut butter chocolate candy bite; like it had peanut butter. It had peanuts and stuff, but it was considered a multivitamin. Now if that isn't just so deceiving, I don't know what is. You know, so as you're looking at these food products, these supplements, some of these vitamin waters can even contain, you know, high amounts of sugar. Some of these vitamin waters contain as much sugar as, you know, a soda, like a Coke.

KARA: A lot of beverages actually have as much sugar as a fully loaded sugar Coca-Cola.

SHELBY: Exactly.

KARA: A lot of those energy drinks.

SHELBY: Right. And even the, you know, some of the protein drinks that are, you know, kind of shake-and-go protein drinks. I think of like a Muscle Milk or something like that. So listeners, how do you sort through all of this, this misinformation to protect your own health and of course the health of your family? Marion Nestle: she has a PhD. She's also authored a number of books. Two of them are very pertinent to our conversation today. So just remember it's not just Kara and I, it's not just Nutritional Weight and Wellness that are looking more specifically at processed foods. Here's another resource if you want to learn more. Dr. Marion Nestle wrote the book Food Politics and her latest book, Unsavory Truth was published in 2018 so those would be some great resources for you.

KARA: And I have Food Politics from way back. That's a great one. I have not read Unsavory Truth, so that's definitely going to be on my list.

SHELBY: Right, right.

KARA: Or you can do what Shelby and I do. Instead of eating processed foods, just, you know, be very conscious about your food choices. Eat lots of vegetables, organic if possible, grass-fed meat, wild-caught salmon. And really most importantly, the quality of the fats cannot be emphasized enough.

SHELBY: That is actually one thing that I think trips people up time and time again, Kara, is “How do I know which fats are good fats and which fats are bad fats.” And so here's what I try to help people think about: If you're looking at the raw ingredient of an oil and you can picture what that raw ingredient is, and if it's actually a beneficial fat. So an example would be olive oil. Where does olive oil come from? It comes from all olives.

KARA: It comes from olives being pressed.

SHELBY: Exactly. Olives are a good fat. Now compare that to like a corn oil or a soybean oil. Well, corn and soybeans, those are actually carbohydrates. We grow those and they don't actually have fat in them.

KARA: Picture a soybean. Picture a kernel of corn. Can you take that in your fingers and squeeze it and get oil?

SHELBY: Right.

KARA: I mean, it's very, very different than pressing an olive to retrieve that oil.

SHELBY: So looking at those natural fats like olives, olive oil, real butter, not the margarine spreads. I think a lot of people are hip on avocados recently. You know, so choosing those natural fats.

KARA: Avocados, avocado oil, guacamole, coconut products are wonderful; coconut oil. There's, I really like the full-fat coconut cream or coconut milk in the can.

SHELBY: I have to tell you about the dinner that Tyler and I had last night. We call it our burger bowls. And so we make up a grass-fed burger patty. We skip the bun. I actually made up a few slices of bacon to put on top and some pickles. We had some fresh tomatoes, some sautéed brussels sprouts. We even roast some fingerling potatoes to get a good starch. And then the healthy fat that I use is, is our special sauce. I use a tablespoon of mayo with a little bit of ketchup and a little bit of mustard. And then I stir that up and that's what I put on top of my burger.

KARA: That sounds delicious. I might have to copy that.

SHELBY: Yeah, but a burger bowl. I mean it's still tasty food, but it, it comes together really quickly. So that's an example: a real food example where you could get those nutrients.

KARA: Thank you for sharing that.

SHELBY: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Kara, it's been just delightful talking about nutrition education with you this morning and I hope all of our listeners have some takeaways. Just remember: our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing.

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