- There are many types of processed food, and some can be unhealthy, especially when made with high amounts of sugar, salt, or fats.
- Chemically processed foods are much more harmful than mechanically processed food items.
- One should be watchful of sodium, sugar and trans-fat quantity and quality in their food.
Generally, foods that are ready-to-eat, frozen and have been altered from their original state in some ways are considered unhealthy.
Processed food can be divided into two types- mechanically processed, such as heated vegetables, pasteurized foods, or ground beef. The second type is chemically processed, like food enhanced with artificial substances or ingredients that increase a product’s shelf life. Chemically processed foods are much more harmful than mechanically processed food items.
When chemicals or artificial substances are added to a food item, it reduces the item’ nutritional value. These chemicals generally include flavouring agents, colours, sweeteners, and preservatives.
Is every processed food bad for our health?
Undoubtedly, processed food items are a boon to the modern diet and are essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At times, however, it can be tricky to distinguish whether a specific processed food is healthy for you or not.
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For instance, milk pasteurization is a healthy and nutritious form of food processing as it removes bacteria like e-coli. However, any type of processing beyond that can be detrimental to human health. This includes fortifying milk with additional vitamins and minerals that are not present in the natural milk.
Food items like frozen meals, breakfast cereals, chips, candy, ice cream, instant noodles, sodas, and other packaged items are considered highly processed, with little to no nutritional value.
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How does processed food affect our bodies?
Many experts believe that most of the modern-day chronic diseases are the result of processed food items that have become a part of our diets over the previous few decades.
These engineered products may also disturb the naturally existing microorganisms found in our gut. This can lead to long-term stomach issues that are hard to treat. Additionally, a large intake of processed foods in the diet can make it harder for you to burn calories. It is also the welcome door to lifestyle disorders like thyroid.
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Be watchful of these ingredients in your diet!
- Sodium- Commonly found in salt, sodium is often used to keep food items fresh. It is included in almost every food item we consume. However, a moderate intake of sodium should be maintained.
- Sugars- It is a good practice to read labels and keep a tab on your sugar intake. As with salt, sugar is present in almost every food item.
- Trans Fat- Mostly found in baked items, trans fat can affect cholesterol levels and lead to heart diseases.
The above-mentioned processing items are present in almost everything we consume. Eliminating them from your diet may not be possible. But being cautious and aware of what you consume can be an excellent way to start your journey towards a healthier self.