By STEVEN MILNER IIST
This is more about what not to do than it is a health tip.
If you want to eat healthy, you want to stay away from processed foods. But what are processed foods? Processed foods are foods that have been altered from their natural state. They are foods that have been compromised by the addition of hormones, additives, preservatives, unnatural genetic material or other chemical or heat treatments that alter or destroy the natural healthy enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, all for the sake of convenience. But convenience isn’t the only thing you get when you eat processed foods. There’s a whole list of ingredients that manufacturers add:
Colour – It gives your orange pop that neon glow
Stabilizers – So your gravy isn’t watery
Emulsifiers – Who says oil and water can’t mix?
Bleach – Let’s disinfect and deodorize
Texturisers – Nothing’s worse than soggy cereal…
Softeners – It’s as if the ice cream was churned twice
Preservatives – What if you want to eat the cake six months from now?
Sweeteners – Sugar is sweet but saccharin and aspartame are sweeter
Deodorisers – Do you really want to smell the fish paste in your insta-noodles?
Flavourings – Nothing like having the sweet taste of cherry all year round.
The main goal of food processing is to lengthen the shelf life of foods so that larger amounts can be sold over time. Other benefits include toxicity reduction, preservation, easing marketing and distribution tasks and increasing food consistency. In addition it increases the out of season availability of many foods and enables transportation of delicate perishable food over long distances. Processed foods are cheaper to mass produce than the individual production of meals from raw ingredients. They are quicker to prepare at home or on the go, fully prepared ready meals can be heated up in a microwave oven within minutes.
Even slight processing of food can have a huge effect on its nutritional composition. The food may be missing necessary vitamins and minerals the body needs for daily function. Food Additives are substances added to food to preserve flavour or enhance its taste and appearance. Food acids are added to make flavours “sharper”, and also act as preservatives and antioxidants. Some artificial food additives have been linked with cancer, digestive problems, neurological conditions, ADHD, heart disease or obesity. Natural additives may be similarly harmful or be the cause of allergic reactions in certain individuals. Ever notice that the sources of the ingredients in processed foods are shrouded in mystery? Food manufacturers even patent some of the processing methods they use. For example, the process for making Splenda, an artificial sweetener, is a big secret and patented with the USA.If you have to keep the process for how a food is made a big secret, it probably means that if people knew the process, most of them wouldn’t eat the food.
Here’s a not so short list (but by no means all) of some common processed foods most of which have very long shelf lives.
White wheat flour; especially bleached white flour.
Refined sugars; crystalline fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maple syrup, date sugar, cane sugar, brown rice syrup, corn sugar, beet sugar, agave syrup.
Margarine and other hydrogenated vegetable fats.
Refined vegetable oils.
Boxed foods such as meal mixes, cereal and pasta.
Soft drinks and sugary “fruit” drinks, which are loaded with white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colours, flavours and other food additives.
Fast food, which is a source of trans fats.
Cheese food, packaged cakes and cookies, chips, snack food crackers and other junk food.
Processed meat products (sausage, bologna, bacon, packaged ham, and salami) if they contain artificial colours and soy fillers.
Frozen foods such as TV dinner meals, fish sticks, pizza rolls and similar foods.
Soy products such as soy milk, soy cheese, soy protein isolate, and other processed soy foods. Natural soybeans taste horrible; it’s Nature’s way of warning about the dangers of soy. In order to make soy products edible, soy manufacturers have to add large amounts of sugar, MSG and other flavourings and spices.
Powdered milk and eggs: Commercial milk powders contain oxysterols (oxidized cholesterol) in high amounts. The oxysterol free radicals have been suspected of being initiators of atherosclerotic plaques. Powdered eggs contain even more oxysterols.
Methods used to process food include:
canning, jarring, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration, aseptic processing, boxed and bagged.
To help lift moods and help calm anxiety, keep away from processed foods and eat more natural products. Try and eat healthy, whole foods diet with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Try and include foods that are rich in B vitamins, such as whole grains, nuts, green vegetables, eggs and fish.
Pretty scary eh? I thought so.