scream it. Alarmists teach it. The default message: Processed
foods are bad for us. Is it true?
look at the definition. Any food that has been altered from
its original state is considered "processed,"
according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. That means a food
that has been washed, chopped, heated or cooked is processed.
So is food that has been preserved or has added nutrients or
other ingredients. Processed could mean a bag of salad mix,
tuna in a can or a slab of bacon.
we need to look at the whole spectrum before we denounce the
whole lot, states a recent article on this topic in the
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In reality,
many of the methods used to prepare or "process"
food in corporate facilities are similar to the techniques we
use in our own kitchens. Processed foods can be part of a
healthful diet if we carefully consider what we buy.
however, that foods are processed in varying degrees. Thereís
a big difference between a washed apple, a jar of applesauce
and an apple snack pie from your favorite gulp and go. In
general, more highly processed foods contain higher amounts of
saturated fat, salt and added sugars, according to the
International Food Information Council. A recent study found
that most of these not so favorable ingredients show up in
ready-to-eat "convenience" foods and meals we buy in
there is a positive side to food processing. Much of the food
used to feed those in need around the world would not be
edible or safe if it were not processed in some way. Essential
nutrients can also be added to foods during processing, such
as the addition of calcium and vitamin D to orange
might expect, food that is minimally processed and consumed
close to its natural state tends to be lower in calories. Yet
it might be lower in certain nutrients as well, according to
this report. One surprising recent finding was that processed
foods in our usual diet contribute more calcium, iron and
folate (a vitamin needed to produce and maintain new cells)
than foods that are minimally processed.
is to say that all processed food is not the devil. Some foods
are processed to make them safer to eat. Others provide
valuable nutrients. It still behooves us, however, to seek a
bag of washed and peeled carrots over a frozen pepperoni
pizza. And to eat an apple more often than apple pie. I think
I can process that.