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Is it Aging or Is It Processed Foods?

By Joan Ifland August 09, 2023 Health and Fitness

I’m past 70, and I don’t feel like I’m aging. I’m just as active as I’ve been for the last 25 years. My recent annual physical showed perfect blood work and no ailments.

Why? Because I know the difference between aging and processed foods.

Whaaat? I’ve been in the field of addiction to processed foods since 1996. That’s over 25 years of feeling younger and younger.

How did I do this? I discovered one of the greatest deceptions ever.

Processed Foods Mimic Aging

Processed foods are associated with over 100 diseases of all kinds. Many physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral distresses can be traced back to processed foods.

However, the food and pharmaceutical industries don’t want you to know this. They’re making extraordinary profits from selling addictive processed foods and then selling the pharmaceuticals to mask the consequences of processed foods.

How do Big Food and Big Pharma do this?

Well, the consequences of processed foods get worse over time. Processed foods have been shown to diminish cell function. Over time, cells get weaker and weaker until they’re so weak that a disease symptom appears. Processed foods continue to weaken cell functions and so the symptoms get worse and worse over time.

The Confusion Is About How Time Passes

This is happening over time. Aging also happens over time. (Duh!) So the food/pharma industries have neatly persuaded us that it’s aging not processed foods that are the cause of the many illnesses that appear in old age.

Is that diabolical or what?

I don’t want to get you too excited. It’s a bit of work to get processed foods out of your life but with patience, determination, and eyes-wide-open, you can do it.

Is It Really Worth It?

Of course, you’re asking yourself, “Would it really be worth it to give up processed foods? I loooove processed foods.” I know you’re thinking about sweets and breads but here’s an idea. Why not just try it for one week, or one month? If you don’t like the results, you can go back to eating processed foods. Is that a deal?

Here’s what you can expect. After 4-8 days of withdrawal, you may notice that cravings are gone. Yes! You get to think about what you want to think about and not what the food/pharma industries want you to think about.

Brain fog lifts. This is a reliable result that I’ve seen consistently over 25 years of watching people come out of the haze of processed foods.

Bloating eases off. Energy improves. Anxiety and depression are reduced.

At the end of three weeks, people generally notice that their mood has improved. Blood pressure and blood glucose are heading toward normal. Allergies are better. Sinuses are draining. Joint pain is diminished. And on and on.

Why Do So Many Different Health Problems Start Resolving So Quickly?

In addition to attacking cells, processed foods are inflammatory. A lot of ‘old age’ aches and pains could actually be the result of consuming inflammatory processed foods. Is this amazing, or what?

Inflammation interferes with respiration, heart function, and mobility. New evidence shows that it also inflames the brain which may explain brain fog.

Also, processed foods are addictive, so they pull blood flow from the frontal lobe to addicted brain cells in the reward centers. Depriving the frontal lobe of blood flow is a reason for loss of executive function in old age. This includes attention, learning, decision-making, memory, and impulse control. People are really surprised that these functions improve when processed foods are eliminated regardless of age.

Processed foods inflame our hormone regulating system which means that moods related to hormones can improve when processed foods are removed from our diet.

Processed foods also feed nasty organisms in our gut. These leak out into the bloodstream and cause physical and mental pain.

The list goes on. It’s fun to get off of processed foods and wake up every day wondering which symptoms of ‘old age’ will be gone.

Where to Start?

I know you want to do this. Be patient with yourself. Eliminating processed foods is a long, slow process. It takes time to build the skills needed to live in a culture where 67% of foods consumed by Americans are processed.

Where to start? Just observe. Start noticing which foods still look like they did at the time of harvest, and which no longer look like the plants and animals they came from. (We’ll talk more about this in future blogs.)

And start educating yourself. Check out the Self-Quiz for signs of processed food addiction. Sign up to get access to free information. Both can be done at www.processedfoodaddiction.com.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How often do you buy and eat processed food? Is it a habit or an addiction? Have you tried getting off of processed foods? How did you rate on the quiz? Please share your thoughts!

Please take the Sixty and Me 2023 Community Survey

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Excellent, excellent article! Another “hook”, in my opinion, about processed food is that it is less expensive than fresh food. It’s cheaper to buy boxed mac and cheese than to buy fresh salad ingredients. Buying processed food keeps your grocery bill down. Another deception. Thank you for being honest!


Processed food is what’s killing the baby boom generation. If ppl would just give themselves 4wks with no processed food, they would be able to identify their skin clearer, their waist thinner, their overall health much better and all bloat is alleviated. Processed food is big business designed to make money.

The Author

Dr. Ifland wrote/edited the textbook Processed Food Addiction: Foundations, Assessment, and Recovery. Her PhD is from Union Institute and her MBA is from Stanford. She is the food addiction specialist selected by the Oprah Winfrey Network. She founded www.processedfoodaddiction.com which provides online recovery services and training in recovery from processed food addiction.

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