Aside from all the other health risks, processed foods also affect your ability to concentrate. And the effects can be even worse if you already suffer from a leaky gut.
There was an average 11 percent drop in ability to focus after eating the equivalent of a Big Mac or Burger King Double Whopper, researchers at Ohio State University discovered. They gave 51 women a processed meal or a healthier alternative and tested their ability to focus before and after eating.
The desire to eat processed food can be higher during times of stress, such as the Covid-19 lockdown, but it's a false friend. Aside from affecting our ability to focus, it can also increase the chances of depression and anxiety and increase gut dysfunction.
"When people are more anxious, a good subset of us will find high-saturated-fat food more enticing than broccoli," said researcher Janice Kiecolt-Glaser.
The research also shows the connection between our gut and brain, and people with gut problems could feel the bad effects of unhealthy food choices even more acutely.
The researchers aren't sure how these effects would play out in the world outside the laboratory, but it could impact on the way we drive or interact with others.