RSS Feed Print
Processed foods and health
Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:10 AM
Joined: 2/26/2016
Posts: 219

When I was in my early fifties, I started having problems with bloating and intestinal gas all the time. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I was told by doctors over the years to eliminate various foods, and I took various medicines short term (they didn't work). None of them mentioned eliminating processed foods. Nothing they recommended worked.


In 2009 when I retired at 62, I moved from Atlanta, GA to Ghana. Within two weeks, my IBS, with all the bloating, was gone, which was totally unexpected. Looking back, here are some of reasons for this change.


In the US, I was eating lots of processed foods like cereals, fast food, bread, cafeteria food, sacks, etc. In other words, I was getting all the added chemicals and added sugar of the typical American diet. Even the cafeteria at my work place used prepackaged food and ingredients which were full of added chemicals and sugar. Also the only food available when the cafeteria was closed was from vending machines and snack bars. At home I wasn't getting any home cooked food but just eating warmed up food made at a factory somewhere.


I don't know which of the hundreds of added chemicals in my food caused my IBS, and if all that added sugar was also a factor. Also we know that some of those chemicals in our food can cross the blood-brain-barrier and we don't know how they effect our brain health. Some of the older chemicals have never been tested on animals and are asumed to be safe. Newer food chemicals are tested not by the government but by the companies that apply for their approval by the FDA. I myself don't feel very confident about their safety. I think the EU does a much better job of protecting their populations from harmful chemicals added to the food than the US.


Now I feel a lot better living in a country where natural food is easy to get. I am also lucky that I have a lovely wife from Ghana who cooks from scratch and takes good care of me.



Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2019 2:32 PM
Joined: 7/23/2019
Posts: 4

I have been recently looking my closely at my husbands diet. He has vascular dementia from a stroke last year while undergoing surgery. What I realized was that his sugar intake was high (soda, cookies, ice cream etc.). We were eating out more often because he liked the socialization our Grille restaurant offers. He put on 25 pounds in the last six months. I have changed our habits to incorporate a more mediterranean diet-- more fruits, whole grains,vegetables in other words real food. I also added a muti-vitamin, vitamin D3 and a probiotic. I have read "gut health" relates to "brain health". I have seen some small changes in his memory recall. What I mean is if I tell him something and he asks the question again. Once I repeat he usually says "oh that right you told me that". I firmly believe we can rewire the pathways in the brain with the support of proper nutrition, supplements an medication.

Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2019 11:20 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16569

When I was in Senegal West Africa, the menu was fish or chicken with white rice and vegetables.  They cook with palm oil.  The beverage was water or tea or a small soft drink (7 oz)--no big gulps. There was no dessert as we know it--cakes, cookies or pies.  No candy or chips or other between-meal snacks.  Portions were small--no super-sizing.  After dinner the kitchen was closed--no night snacking.  I lost 25 lbs in 6 weeks without trying.  This type of African eating can be beneficial--small meals, no sweets, no between- meal or night snacking.


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 6:56 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 3407

Very interesting. 

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019 6:38 AM
Joined: 2/26/2016
Posts: 219

Iris, the same thing happened to me. I lost about 20 pounds in my first three months in Ghana without trying, going down to 125 pounds on my 5 feet 7 frame. I have kept that weight and it makes it a lot easier to jog everyday.