When you think of processed food, what do you think of? Are processed foods bad for your health? Do they make you fat? These are just a few questions that come up in the nutrition world today.
What is processed food?
According to foodinsight.org, “Food processing is any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it’s available for us to eat. It can be as simple as freezing or drying food to preserve nutrients and freshness, or as complex as formulating a frozen meal with the right balance of nutrients and ingredients.”
So, if you really think about it, every food you eat involves some sort of process. For example, an apple is picked from a tree, delivered to the grocery store, purchased by you and washed before eaten. This is an example of a minimally processed food. There are plenty of other foods that require a lot more processing. Like a frozen TV dinner you buy. Foods like these requires a long process through manufacturing factories.
Are all processed foods unhealthy?
If all food is processed in some way or form, then not all processed food is unhealthy. Therefore, it is best to stick with minimally processed whole food sources that are packed with nutrients, like fruits and vegetables. Processing food is necessary for some foods to be edible. For example, you probably do not want to eat raw meat. Whereas, eating the burger and fries from your favorite fast food restaurant is not the best choice. You have no idea where that food comes from or how it is prepared. So when buying food, I recommend sticking to minimally processed whole foods. I would rather spend a little extra time preparing a nutrient dense meal myself, than depending on something in a box or fast food restaurant.