BLOG 289 PROCESSED FOODS
We live in a world that has turned fast-paced, favoring convenience and time efficiency into priorities. We have learned to compromise nutrition for what is easier, and have created an entire new realm in grocery stores with an abundance of processed foods. And these products have quite the shelf life once you get home. Not exactly “fresh” by any means, but readily available and assessable for sure. So let’s take a look at how processed foods have bombarded our eating habits.
Let’s always start with the definition. Here it is: “ ‘The term processed food includes any food that has been purposely changed in some way prior to consumption,’ says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It includes food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways” (http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods). Think about how much of these types of food are part of your daily regime or have been before. How many frozen pizzas have you had in your lifetime?? For example, I never even considered all the sodium canned corn or kidney beans contain in order to preserve their shelf life. Pretty disgusting and they need to be rinsed off to help. Which then made me think about all the salad bars or restaurants where I have salad and thought I was eating totally clean and making a great choice, when in fact, most of the vegetables probably came out of can. More bang for your buck I get that part on the business side, but our bodies can only take so much of this and the growing obesity rate is a reflection.
Not all are as bad as others and I found a good reference to consider. Here it is:
Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:
• Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — often are simply pre-prepped for convenience.
• Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
• Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
• Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
• The most heavily processed foods often are pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.
It seems as though the concept of eating food to nourish our bodies is lost. We have to look out for added sugars and sodium that’s for sure. It is odd that we are eating “altered” food. Food has become industrialized. Bottom line it’s about money: “First, most of the processed food created is not food in its conventional meaning. Food is our source of energy and nutrition, without it we can’t survive. However not all of the modern foods are created for that purpose. They are created to allure you, excite you and addict you to become a consumer of their product. The food companies’ goal, just like any other company, is to make more money” (http://www.myfoodandhappiness.com/processed-food-and-why-is-it-the-main-cause-of-obesity/).
The truth is that it is hard to avoid processed foods at some point in your eating be it beverages or condiments. Looking back, I ate plenty of foods out of a box, especially cereal. The more informed we are, the better choices we can make (purpose of my Blogs). Fresh is best and hey it might take a little time, but treat your body like a temple because you only get one and you have to live in it for the rest of your life.