by Debra Wyatt
(last updated November 28, 2014)
While people normally tend to think that processed foods are bad for us some even go as for as calling processed foods "junk food." It seems that the common way of thinking about processed foods is that they are full of artificial ingredients so they must be bad.
To understand if processed food is really bad you must first understand what processed food is. Basically, processed food is food that has been altered from its natural state for reasons of safety or convenience. There are different methods that are used for processing food some of these include canning, freezing, refrigeration, and even dehydration.
In reality there are a lot of foods that are processed that really aren't unhealthy. A good example is pasteurized milk. When milk is pasteurized the process kills the bacteria. It is then homogenized so that the fats don't separate. There are those who do drink raw milk, but most of us prefer to drink the milk from the store that is processed. There are many other examples of processed foods that are considered to be healthy, such as frozen fruits and vegetables. While we know that fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy for us there are times that it is not feasible for us to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when they are out of season. The next best choice is to use frozen food. Freezing fruits and vegetables preserves vitamins and minerals, which we can then choose to have any time of the year.
Canned foods usually have a high content of sodium and have lost some of their nutritional value by being processed at high temperatures. You can buy foods that are low in sodium, but you usually pay a little higher price for them.
There are still some processed foods that are not as healthy as what the fresh food would be. These are the foods that are generally referred to as "junk food." It really isn't hard to find the foods that are generally processed with high amounts of sugar and sodium as well as trans fats and saturated fats. These types of food are usually made in factories and are loaded with calories and a lot of artificial ingredients.
Beware of some of the processed foods. One of the worst processed foods would be processed meats, which includes packaged lunch meats, sausage, bacon, ham, bologna, and hot dogs.
If you are going to eat some of the processed foods, read the labels so that you are choosing the ones with the least amount of calories and are low in sodium.
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