What really is processed food and why avoid it

You most certainly have heard the term processed food and how bad it is for you, but do you really know which foods are processed and which aren’t? Many people think that anything in a box is processed, but the truth is that processed food is any food which is not in its original form due to technical processing.

Some processed foods can be healthy such as pre-chopped veggies for salad, roasted nuts or canned tuna. Others such as dairy products are pasteurized in order to be safe for consumption – which is OK. But the processed foods which everybody is talking about are the foods which have added chemicals to them. They most commonly have added sodium preservatives and artificial sweeteners.

Typically, this type of processed food is low in fiber as well as whole grains and at the same time with high saturated and Trans fat content.

Sure, eating such food will not kill you so there is nothing wrong in consuming a favorite type of food which has been processed, but when consumed in excess these types of food can actually pose a threat to your health and wellbeing.

If you are not quite sure which products in your local store are processed and which aren’t here are a few simple pointers which will help you identify the healthy from the unhealthy foods there:

  1. Read the labels. Look for chemicals and other ingredients which are hard to read or pronounce. Also look at the fat, sodium and sugar in each service which should be included in the nutrition labels.
  2. Skip the frozen foods. Of course, frozen fruits or veggies are fine to eat, but when it comes to frozen pizzas or dinners it is very likely that they have a lot of added sodium and fat in them.
  3. Pick natural snacks. Due to the fact that nearly all snack foods are processed, you should probably limit their consumption and try to replace them with some healthy snack instead. You can get some fruit, raw nuts, veggies or salsa to snack on instead. Check the labels of your nuts and other seemingly healthy snacks just in case too!

Finding a healthy balance and eating more natural foods which your body processes better will help you lead a much healthier lifestyle. You can allow yourself to indulge in a processed snack now and then but in general – non-processed food is what your body needs in order to function properly.

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