For researchers at the College of Connecticut, there’s no question about it: Junk food is addictive. Most addictive are heavily processed snacks that have high levels of sugar and fat, like Oreo cookies. In fact, a recent study indicates that Oreo cookies are just as addictive as cocaine or morphine. This is a startling discovery for parents and children alike, as Oreos are one of America’s favorite sandwich cookies. Nevertheless, the discovery underscores and important fact: The American diet is rich in high-fat and high-sugar snacks that wreak havoc on the teeth, gums, and total body health.
Processed foods are those that are prepared with the intention of being easy to consume. They are more convenient, longer lasting, and sometimes better tasting than 100% natural foods. However, a team of Dutch scientists recently produced a study indicating that processed foods may double your risk of developing colon cancer. At Harvard Medical School, another team demonstrated that processed foods that are rich in high-fructose corn syrup might also cause cancer, as well as obesity and type II diabetes. As the study of processed food and well-being continues, health professionals worldwide are beginning to warn consumers to pay close attention to the ingredients in the foods they eat.
According to the National Cancer Institute, colon cancer has the second highest mortality rate among all cancerous conditions (i). Each year, an estimated 140,000 or more Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer, making the condition the 4th most common type of cancer diagnosis. Alarmingly, the rates of obesity and processed food consumption have also risen alongside colon cancer rates. In light of these recent trends, health experts are asking a very important question: Are processed foods contributing to the spread of obesity and cancer?