More research like Hall’s needs to be done to gain a better understanding of the relationship between processed foods and overall health. Until then, researchers continue to speculate where the problems stem from. One theory is that highly processed foods often contain empty calories or lower levels of the kinds of nutrients that are beneficial. White flour, for example, has been stripped of the natural fiber and nutrients found in whole wheat. Fiber is important for regulating gut health, and foods high in fiber (like vegetables and whole grain products) have been linked to better heart health and a lower risk of early death. Most Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diets, according to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Packaged food items are also often exceptionally high in sodium. Americans get more than 70% of their sodium from processed foods, not from a salt shaker, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and excess salt has been linked to