This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Eating Processed Food

Updated 02/15/17

We all know that eating healthy is "good for you." But beyond aesthetics, what we put into our bodies has an instrumental effect on our mental, physical, and emotional health. As Mindbodygreen points out, the foods we choose to eat can manipulate our gut health, our hormones, and even our brain function. What's more, the benefits of a healthy diet begin seeping into our bodies in as little as 20 minutes after that first bite of kale salad. According to the experts, here's what to expect after adopting a clean, healthy diet sans processed foods:

In 20 Minutes: Your Gut Starts Healing

"The bacteria living in your bowels, on average, divide every 20 minutes," explains Terry Wahls, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Iowa. "That means what you eat is continuously either fertilizing the health-promoting bacteria or the disease-promoting bacteria, minute by minute." Opting for a clean diet fosters the former. 

In 4 Hours: You'll Experience Healthier Brain Function

"Because of the gut-brain connection, the food you eat impacts your brain within hours," continues Wahls. More sugar equals more inflammation, whereas more vegetables equal less inflammation, a sharpened intellect, and more energy.

In 3 Days: Your Hormones Will Stabilize

Just 72 hours after starting a clean diet with balanced carbs, tons of plants, and without processed foods, your "insulin and cortisol levels will normalize," says Sara Gottfried, MD. "This results in far more energy and your belly fat beginning to melt away."

For more, read up on what happens to your body when you stop eating meat.

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