What is “Processed Food”?

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We often hear the phrase “Processed Food”. What exactly does this mean? Food that has undergone processes that alter it from its natural state and include other ingredients such as preservatives, artificial flavors, nutrients and other food additives or substances approved for use in food products such as salt, sugar and fats is processed food.

You can determine whether a food is processed by looking at the ingredient list. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is likely to be. Processed foods are typically loaded with excess sugar, salt, unhealthy fats, preservatives and other additives.

 

 

Food manufacturers are now offering a variety of low-fat products, from low-fat breakfast cereals and low-fat cookies to low-fat ice cream and low-fat frozen entrees. Many of these foods contain chemical ingredients to simulate the flavor and texture of fat.

When food is processed most of the essential nutrients and fibers are taken away. For example while processing brown rice to make white rice, many nutrients and fibers essential for properly digesting the grains are lost. When you eat such processed white rice, blood sugar spikes more rapidly because the fibers that slow down the release of sugar into the blood stream have been removed and the majority of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals present in the outer portion of brown rice are lost. Similar transformations happen to most processed food.

 

 

Unlike whole foods, which contain a mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber and water to help you feel satisfied, processed foods stimulate dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter, making you feel good even though the food lacks nutrients and fiber. This artificial dopamine stimulation only lasts so long and eventually leads to intense food cravings and, ultimately, food addiction.

Avoid processed foods and base your diet on whole food to get the most nutrition and maximize your health benefits. In short, though they may taste good and be easy to prepare, when you eat processed foods you are exchanging convenience for your health.

Remember, processed foods lead to a long shelf life, not a long healthy human life.

 

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