About processed food

What you need to know about processed food

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You have probably heard about the dangers of processed food. Everyone is telling you to eat more vegetables and fruits, and avoid “manufactured foods”. But what exactly is processed food? Just about anyone can look at a chicken nugget and realize that whatever chicken might be present has gone through an extreme alteration.

Some foods which qualify for the definition of processed are actually improved. Some milk, juices and other beverages have vitamins added to them to make them healthier. But for the most part, processed foods should be avoided. Because a lot of the process that gets them from nature to your table includes packing them with preservatives, sugar and trans fats.

By definition, processed food is food that has been altered from its natural state. So a package of chopped lettuce is actually processed. It has been made more convenient, and then bagged. Those types of processed foods are usually good for you. The types of manufactured foods you want to avoid are those that involve combining raw ingredients and chemicals into food-like items.

Pesticides can also be a part of the process. When foods are being grown, they are often treated with chemicals to ward off hungry bugs and insects. That is why eating clean or organic foods can cut down on the amount of toxins a human being consumes every day by as much as 80%, according to the Environmental Working Group.

When ingredients such as sugar, fat and salt are added to food to enhance flavor or make it last longer, this type of processed product can end up getting more than the recommended amounts of those items into your body. Health hazards and addictions to salt and sugar are often the result.

Those types of items are also usually higher in calories, which means packing on the pounds. And if you eat a lot of red meat that has been processed, you run a much higher risk of contracting certain forms of cancer. So you want to avoid products that have lost nutrients and gained unhealthy and unneeded chemicals and alternatives.

Just how can you spot which food is good for you and which is unhealthy? You need to learn how to spot “clean” foods, which we cover in our next section.

 

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