Food processing is a term used to describe foods that are made using specialist food processing equipment. The aim is to create foods that are convenient to purchase and eat, without sacrificing nutritional value.
Of course, the world is focused more on healthy eating than ever before. This has led to an abundance of claims regarding processed foods and how they are detrimental to your health. Common claims include:
- High levels of salt, sugar, and fat
- Lack of nutritional value
- High in calories
- Digests to quickly
- Artificial ingredients
The problem is that in blanketing the entire processed food industry with these assertations we’re potentially being unjust to many reputable food manufacturers. The simple fact is that not all food is made in the same way.
You need to consider the manufacturer and what is in the processed food before you simply assume that it is bad for you. The bottom line, as in so many cases, is that moderation is the real key to a healthy balanced diet. There is little you can’t eat, providing you do so in moderation.
In fact, there are a number of advantages to food processing.
Addition of Nutrients
Many people focus on what is being added to the processed foods, criticizing the addition of preservatives and other chemicals to ensure it tastes good today or in several months. But, little attention is paid to one of the biggest advantages of the frozen food industry, the opportunity to add nutrients to food.
Companies can, and do, add valuable nutrients, such as iron, vitamins, and even fluoride to toothpaste. This increases the nutritional content of the food and helps to support your body.
In addition, when food is processed straight after being picked it provides the opportunity to lock nutrients into the food. For example, fresh fruit that is processed quickly and properly will retain all their health benefits, allowing you to enjoy seasonal fruit throughout the year.
The key is to read the labels. The longer the ingredient list the more processed the food is and the greater the potential for damaging additives. But, remember that processed food is anything that is pre-prepared, allowing you to eat it when you need to.
These foods can be made with completely natural ingredients and be as healthy as cooking at home. You need to check the labels to establish how many ingredients have been added, this will tell you whether the food is likely to be detrimental to your health, or not.
Processed food is safe. When you pick up a chunk of meat you are hoping that it is safe to eat but it is difficult to know the entire history of any animal. But, when you purchase processed food you’ll know that it has been created in line with strict quality standards.
Standards are set by the government and by individual companies. All you have to do is look at their reputation and track record, you’ll find many companies are dedicated to bringing high-quality foods to your table.
The fact that the food is processed to set standards means that it will be safe to consume. There is unlikely to be harmful bacteria contained in it, making it safe to cook and eat. This is because the bacteria will be sterilized during the preparation process, as the company seeks to extend the life of the processed food. Removing bacteria that could otherwise multiply is an essential part of this. Of course, you still need to pay attention to use-by dates.
There is little doubt that processed foods are convenient. It’s easy to grab processed foods and cook them. While this may not be the option promoted by the health experts, you live in the real world. After a hard day at work, you need to be able to unwind and not spend hours preparing a delicious meal. Processed foods give you the ability to make a nice meal without having to slave in the kitchen.
In addition, processed foods are generally a viable option when you have natural disasters and power outages. They are also a great option if you’re traveling or need to take something to work with you.
There are many times you’ll be grateful for the convenience of processed foods.
Yes, processed foods can be detrimental to your health. But, if you choose one that uses fresh ingredients and minimal or no additives, you’ll find it is just as healthy as cooking your own meal, and a lot easier, without having to resort to a takeaway.
That’s the secret to preparing processed foods and choosing them, make sure you choose a company that takes pride in supplying high-quality, nutritious, and freshly prepared foods.