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We already know that a poor diet contributes to diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. But currently we’re finding that a diet of ultra-processed foods (UPF’s) lead to cognitive decline. In a current article in the NY Times it states that 60% of Americans have a diet primarily of ultra-processed foods.

I took a class a few years ago on the perils of the Standard American Diet (SAD). The speaker discussed what is considered the “best diet”.  There’s always confusion and controversy on what we should or shouldn’t eat. He told us that we need to be on the “DEG” diet that stands for “Don’t Eat Garbage. In other words avoid junk food that is processed. The ingredients that are in ultra-processed foods include: high fructose corn syrup hydrogenated oils, protein isolates, artificial colors, artificial flavors, emulsifiers and preservatives. 70% of packaged foods in the US can be considered ultra-processed.

A 2022 study done in Brazil found a correlation between ultra- processed food and depression and cognitive decline. These and other chemicals found to negatively affect the gut microbiome.  Now we know that junk food is not only making us sick but also making us dumber. I always like the expression, “If you can’t pick it, pluck it, pull it or kill it, don’t eat it”. To reach our maximal potential physically, emotionally and academically, eat healthy. 

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