It may look delicious, bright colourful, and appealing in every way but it can be one of the worst things for us to consume. It also happens to be just about everywhere. Have you guessed it yet?
Processed food is the epitome of false advertising, and is unhealthy for so many reasons. They may be convenient in the moment, delicious, tempting, and downright addictive. They can also have many dietary consequences and often result in many physical ailments and discomfort and even long-term consequences for the average consumer.
What is Processed Food?
Processed food is essentially any human interference in the food we eat. The umbrella of processed foods can include any food that has been frozen, canned, boxed, packaged or preserved. It can range from being minimally processed, such as a bag of chopped broccoli, all the way to heavily processed frozen pizzas, deli meats, and snacks. Many of these processed foods are shipped to restaurants to use as takeout as well.
Why is Processed Food so unhealthy?
Processed foods are mainly designed for convenience and longevity. Unlike fresh produce, which has a short lifespan, canned soups or frozen lasagnas are designed to last much longer and be more convenient to eat while living a busy lifestyle. In order to achieve this longevity, extra help is needed in the form of preservatives, sugar, and salt.
Salt and sodium are the most common methods of preserving processed foods. Many processed foods are absolutely loaded with sodium, particularly in canned soups, vegetables, and sauces. While some sodium is needed to maintain a healthy diet, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is the main contributor to heart disease. Looking at the label, you may think that you’re buying a hearty soup with beans or vegetables. The next time that you reach for a processed food item, have a look at the sodium content. You may change your mind about eating it!
Added sugar can be found in just about any processed food if you look closely enough. Cereal, condiments, salad dressings, canned fruits, and even some processed meats are just some of the long list of places that added sugars can be found. Even processed foods and snacks labelled as “diet”, “healthy” and “low fat” may have added sugars in there to make the contents more palatable. Check out our blog post for more about the dangers of added sugars. Consuming too much processed sugar can lead to bloating, poor skin, and even blood sugar and heart complications.
Other preservatives are hidden in processed foods that can have long-term consequences when consumed in high volumes. Preservatives like Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Benzoate and artificial food colouring are just some of the common preservatives found in processed foods. These preservatives will give the food a salty taste and brightly coloured appearance that may appeal to your eyes, nose and taste buds, but each of these preservatives can cause a range from immediate mild sensitivities all the way to long-term carcinogenic effects.
How to Avoid Processed Food?
Saying no to processed food is simpler than you think! Stick to whole, fresh foods with simple ingredients that will provide your body with the nutrients that it needs to thrive, while staying satiated. It may be difficult to kick the habit of grabbing those convenient and flashy fast foods, we totally understand. If this all sounds overwhelming, we have great news! You can have the convenience of having fresh, healthy meals delivered right to your door, with none of the downfalls of processed foods. We’ll do the planning and prepping, all you have to do is enjoy! Check out our weekly meal plan and our menu lineup of delicious, fresh meals.