This video demonstrates that it is difficult for our bodies to process processed food, ironically. Scientists asked two people to eat noodles, one ate top ramen and the other ate a home-cooked version. Then each of these people swallowed a camera in the form of a pill. After two hours, you could still see ramen noodles floating around in one stomach, while the other stomach was just full of mush that used to be the home-cooked noodles. These results are almost obvious considering that food is consistently being developed to extend its shelf life, which also hampers decomposition in our digestive system.
Many chemicals are used to treat food in order to keep its shape and color. Just as preservatives make it difficult for food to go bad, our digestive system has trouble breaking down such foods into the nutrients that we need. As a result, processed foods stay in our stomach as our body waits for them to decompose. Simultaneously, this prevents other food from being passed through our normal digestive cycle, clogging up our body. This also signals to our body that it is full and has excess food, which leads it to store fat and can cause to weight gain.
Worse yet, processed foods can contain chemicals that are harmful to our “gut flora.” Gut flora is composed of beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive system. It can break down potentially harmful, even carcinogenic, substances. But our bodies cannot produce gut flora, it comes from foods that we eat and then can flourish within our body. This is why “cheat days” are so bad for you; there’s a high chance you’re killing bacteria that proactively ward off diseases. Staying consistent with a diet full of fresh whole food choices is the key to providing probiotics with a friendly environment and maintaining good health for the long term.