what is processed food?

processed food

what is processed food?

.Welcome back to Sandtondiet and to this 3rd and final article in the series from National Nutrition week 2019, entitled “processed foods explained”. This is another great article describing what processed food actually is and why it has such a bad reputation.


Why are unprocessed foods good for you?


So let’s start off with unprocessed foods and why they are good for you… These foods have had very little done to them. They are by-and-large in their natural state. This means that they haven’t had anything added to them to change their composition. They haven’t had fat, sugar or salt added to them and there are no other additives that have been added to that particular food. This is generally the most nutrient dense form of the food and therefore the most nutritious form of the food.


What does processed mean?


So then what does processed mean? Processing is a method that is used to either enhance the flavour, taste or colour of a food. It may also be a process that is used to extend the shelf life of a particular food. There are various different methods of processing but for our purposes today we can assume that something has been added to the food. Some examples of these could be sugar, salt, or fat. All of these are used either to make the shelf life of the product longer or to make the food taste better. These products may also contain other additives such as preservatives or colourants. In this form of processing some of the original nutrients are still preserved but because so many other additives have been added to the food they now have certain properties that are far less than healthy.


What is ultra-processed food?


Ultra processed foods have had so much added to them or taken away from that they hardly have any nutrition left in them at all. Once your foods have been so tampered with they hardly resemble the original food at all. These foods tend to be very tasty and they often don’t need to be cooked. They also usually have a very long shelf life. They have very little in the way of nutrition and are unlikely to contain any essential nutrients such as fibre, vitamins or minerals. So not only do these foods offer very little in terms of nutrition but they are actually becoming harmful. Let me explain…



What is so wrong with processed food?


If sugar has been added to the food it increases the calorie content of the product. Therefore it increases your chances of getting dental carries and in may increase your weight. In addition to this, eating too much sugar can raise your triglycerides, increase your chances of getting a fatty liver and may you more prone to getting gout. Then there’s the added fat…  Depending on the type of fat added to your food it may increase your bad cholesterol, increase your weight or increase your triglycerides.  Certain types of fats also increase your risk for cancer, having a heart attack or stroke. And the finally, all that added salt has the potential to increase your blood pressure.


Are there benefits of eating unprocessed food?


Lets have a look at why unprocessed foods are good to eat. You mustn’t forget why vitamins and minerals are so important. Firstly, every single biochemical system in our bodies relies on a vitamin or mineral in one form or another. So if you don’t get enough in your diet you can’t expect your body to function optimally. I often find that people who don’t eat enough food with vitamins and minerals get sick more often. Studies have also shown that fruit and vegetables are important to protect you from some diseases such as cancer. The same holds true for fibre. Fibre also helps to protect against some of the cancers and helps to keep your bowel regular.

So I hope that you can see that it is ideal to eat whole unprocessed foods and why whole foods part of your daily diet is really important. I have lots of other articles on my site which explain how to eat well. There are also lots of tips and tricks on how to instil some good dietary habits. This article on how to make eating whole foods a way of life will give you a good idea of what healthy eating is. Part of the theme of National Nutrition week also discusses How to read food labels which I encourage you to read. If you need help with weight loss or lifestyle changes then have a read through the Ultimate Weight Loss Guide  for some extra information.

Here are the other two themes from the National Nutrition Week 2019 – . They have some outstanding nutrition information to share with you. If you would like to have a look at the original National Nutrition site for 2019 then feel free to go check out  (https://www.nutritionweek.co.za/NNW2019/


Until next time, Leanne




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