Chemical processing – altering the foods through additives and other artificial substances can indeed be harmful to our health.
Artificial substances include sweeteners, preservatives and other elements. The inherent risk of such substances is a public safety concern in many countries and for legitimate reasons.
Processed foods aren’t just microwave meals and other ready meals. The term ‘processed food’ applies to any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience. This means you may be eating more processed food than you realize.
Processed foods aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but anything that’s been processed may contain added salt, sugar and fat.
One advantage of cooking food from scratch at home is that you know exactly what is going into it, including the amount of added salt or sugar.
However, even homemade food sometimes uses processed ingredients.
Processed Foods And Artificial Ingredients
Many ingredients listed on the labels of processed foods cannot be properly read. This is because these ingredients are chemicals, and most chemicals have unpronounceable names. Many additives and preservatives contribute to potentially harmful physical effects, from common fatigue to heart disease.
Sugar Or Corn Syrup In Processed Foods
Foods that contain sugar essentially contain empty calories. In other words, these calories provide no nutritional value and you just gain weight and lower your immune system. Studies have shown that those empty calories affects body metabolic processes and your cardiovascular system.
The diabetes epidemic strongly correlates with sugar consumption. Corn syrup, particularly of the high fructose variety, has been found to increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, dementia and liver failure.
High In Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are sugars and starches that have been modified (refined). The problem is that this refinement process empties the food of its nutritional value, including its fiber content. Of course, many sugars and starches contribute to a number of adverse health conditions.
Harm To Metabolic Function
Because of the chemical makeup of processed foods like absence of fiber, nutrition, satiety and sustenance,our digestive system and metabolism operate poorly. The cumulative effects result in more food consumed and less food energy expended. In other words, we eat more stuff and burn less fat and calories as a result of eating processed foods.
Low In Fiber Content
Fiber has many different roles to play in the development and maintenance of a healthy body. Primarily known to aid digestion, fiber also helps to: produce healthy bacteria, slow the absorption of carbohydrates, and create feelings of satiety.
Lack Of Nutrients
Processing food often empties the food of its nutritional value. Even though many of these foods are infused with synthetic nutrients, the quality of nutrition derived from such is far superior compared to whole, unprocessed foods.
Processed Foods Cause Inflammation
Various studies have shown that artificial ingredients such as processed flours, vegetable oils and refined sugars can cause or worsen cases of inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to a variety of maladies including dementia, respiratory problems and neurological disorders.
High Level Of Pesticides
To grow and harvest GMO products, farmers must use pesticides and herbicides to preserve the area where they are grown. Often, these pesticides and herbicides will penetrate both the soil and the crop itself. Needless to say, chemicals designed to eradicate insects and vegetation are not well-received by the human body. These chemicals have been linked to an assortment of functional and developmental problems, including cancer.
High In Trans-fat Or Vegetable Oil
Hydrogenated oils such as vegetable oil, often contain an excessive amount of Omega-6 fatty acids, which has been linked to inflammation and oxidation issues. Studies have demonstrated that these substances carry and increased risk of heart disease.
Processed Foods As Part Of A Healthy Diet
Examples of common processed foods include:
- breakfast cereals
- tinned vegetables
- savory snacks, such as crisps
- meat products, such as bacon
- “convenience foods”, such as microwave meals or ready meals
- drinks, such as milk or soft drinks
Food processing techniques include freezing, canning, baking, drying and pasteurizing products.
Not all processed food is a bad choice. Some foods need processing to make them safe, such as milk, which needs to be pasteurized to remove harmful bacteria. Other foods need processing to make them suitable for use, such as pressing seeds to make oil.
Freezing fruit and veggies, preserves most vitamins, while tinned produce (choose those without added sugar and salt) can mean convenient storage, cooking and choice to eat all year round, with less waste and cost than fresh.
Reading nutrition labels can help you choose between processed products and keep a check on the amount of processed foods you’re eating that are high in fat, salt and added sugars.
What to say? We are surrounded by tons of processed foods,but it is left on us to choose whether we want to have a healthy life,or to fight so many diseases caused by this.
The choice is ours!