Processed food has got such a bad rep over the years. Whenever we think about it, our mind drifts straight away into something unhealthy.
While we’re not claiming that processed foods are healthy. But they’re not completely unsuitable for consumption either. In fact, it has been a crucial part of human existence for centuries.
What is Processed Food?
Processed foods are food items that have undergone several alterations during manufacturing. Food processing can also mean preserving, where edible items are preserved using various methods in order to maintain their quality.
Processing or preserving food simply means to freeze, can, dry, or bake the product. This helps in keeping them safer for a longer period of time.
However, processed food has gained a whole heap of negative attention. Especially after people have become more conscious about what they eat on a daily basis.
The History of Processed Food.
Processed food has been a part of human history for ages. From Egyptians preserving vegetables and fruits to Europeans baking bread for more than 12,000 years ago. It is a process that even exceeds agriculture.
A little later, people invented newer technology such as fermenting, freezing, and canning food products. These methods aided in cutting down harmful bacteria, extending shelf life, and maintaining the color and flavor of the food.
However, with a growing population and increased demand, manufacturers started adding artificial preservatives, sugar, trans fat, and sodium. This led to an increased number of health issues like obesity, hypertension, and heart diseases.
It ultimately gave processed food the bad reputation it has now. However, today, due to more conscious consumerism, producers are bound to take a better stance when it comes to processed food.
The Myths and The Facts.
Now, comes the important question, is every processed food bad for you? There is a fine line between processed and ultra-processed food. And many times, people tend to confuse between the two.
While both use the same method but ultra-processed food includes further incorporation of additives like fat, artificial color and flavor, sugar, and preservatives.
Fortunately, the idea that all types of processed food are bad is only a myth. There are a few that are actually good for your health.
Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, pasteurized milk, whole grain cereals, nut butter, etc. are actually healthier choices.
However, food that contains additives like sugar, sodium, fat, etc. is the one we should avoid.