Today, a lot of people are consuming processed food without knowing the disadvantages.
The best way to approach a healthy, balanced diet is as simple as swapping processed foods for whole foods. The body runs most efficiently on food that is in its natural form, or very close to it.
Statistics shows that there is a reduction in the consumption of whole organic foods. Scientific data has shown links between processed foods and health problems such as Obesity, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Diabetes to name a few.
They are made for our convenience and long shelf life, and real nutrition gets short-changed in the methods used to create these foods.
The relationship between processed food and health is not a beneficial one.
On top of the loss of nutrition during the manufacturing process, most convenience foods recommend using a microwave oven to prepare them, which further deteriorates the nutritional values. Processed foods have ingredients that are high in salt, sugar; fructose syrup and fat. These ingredients are added to processed foods to make their flavour more appealing and to prolong their shelf life, or in some cases to contribute to the food’s structure.
Food processing techniques include freezing, canning, baking, drying and pasteurizing products. In addition to going through many complex processing steps, processed foods often contain additives, artificial flavourings and other chemical ingredients.
They are also higher in calories due to the high amounts of added sugar or fat in them. Sugar is empty calories; it has no essential nutrients, but produces a large amount of energy. By nature, our appetite gravitates toward foods that are sweet, salty and fatty because these are the foods we need for survival, however, this results in people consuming more than the recommended amounts, because they are unaware of how much has been added to the foods.
Processed foods are extremely low in nutrients compared to whole foods. In many cases, synthetic vitamins and minerals are added to the foods to compensate for what was lost during processing. These synthetic nutrients are not to be compared to those found in whole foods.
Processed foods are high in trans-fat, which raises the level of cholesterol in the blood. Elevated levels of cholesterol increase the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. In addition, processed foods tend to be low in fibre and require less time and energy to digest.