On these steamy days, spending hours sweating over a hot stove is no one's idea of summer fun.
Not to mention all that time you have to spend shopping for the makings... chopping and prepping them... and then washing the dishes when it’s all over.
Sure, you could get back to enjoying your summer day or evening a lot sooner if you just “nuked” something in the microwave or hit the drive-thru line.
But whether that “convenience” comes from a bag, a box, a Styrofoam container, or a can, tearing into processed foods may open up a Pandora's box of problems.
According to a new study, the more of them that you eat, the greater your odds of developing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In the study, French researchers surveyed over 33,000 people about everything they ate and drank in a 24-hour period, categorized as either unprocessed (like fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish), minimally processed (like canned veggies), or "ultra-processed" (including fish sticks, chicken nuggets, and sweetened drinks).
After researchers linked the dietary data to participants' health records, they found that those who ate the most ultra-processed foods were MORE likely to have IBS than those who ate the least.
Now, we know that for your gut to run smoothly, you need to eat plenty of fiber, which feeds the "good" bugs in your belly and produces short-chain fatty acids that promote normal intestinal function.
And in the study, the fiber intake of those who ate the most ultra-processed foods was significantly LESS than that of those who ate the least.
That's likely because processed foods typically contain little fiber -- and if you’re eating THOSE instead of fresh foods, your gut simply can't get enough of the fiber it needs.
Not surprisingly, those who ate the most ultra-processed foods in the study also had a higher intake of simple carbs (a.k.a. sugars) than those who ate the least.
And, of course, we know that refined carbs and sugars feed the "bad" bugs in your gut that can trigger IBS.
Plus, those bagged and boxed meals can also contain high levels of trans fats... additives and preservatives... and even contaminants from packaging, all of which may play a role in setting off IBS.
So, if you want to avoid the misery of toilet troubles, try switching to the Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman") diet, which cuts out all processed junk in favor of only FRESH proteins and produce.
No time to cook? Throw together a creative salad with greens, veggies, nuts, berries, and leftover chicken or steak.
You'll beat the clock... AND the heat!