Food processing dates back to prehistoric times. According to New World Encyclopedia, “is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry.”
It has then evolved into two major types of processing: mechanical and chemical. Heating, grinding, and pasteurizing are examples of mechanical processing; adding chemicals and artificial ingredients are examples of chemical processing (e.g. instant noodles, breakfast cereals, and ready meals.
While both processes result in edible products, the latter has negative health effects in the long run.
3 Reasons Chemically Processed Foods are Bad for Us
They are high in trans fats that are nothing but unhealthful and cheap ones.
What do trans fats do to our bodies? They increase
- inflammation in the body
- levels of bad cholesterol
- risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and stroke among others.
They are loaded with artificial ingredients.
Artificial ingredients such as preservatives, coloring, and chemical flavoring are usually added to make the food more enticing to the eyes and mouth. Preservatives extend the shelf life.
These ingredients can
- cause problems in the nervous and immune system
- increase the risk of obesity and cancer
- lead to problems with the thyroid
- increase symptoms of ADHD
They are a major source of added sugar.
Ultra-processed foods such as instant noodles, baked goods, packaged bread, and reconstituted meats are the major sources of added sugar.
This added sugar can lead to
- type 2 diabetes
- inflammatory diseases (e.g. asthma and allergy)
- and metabolic syndrome (i.e. the risk factors that raise your risk for heart diseases).
If you carefully check many brightly packaged dairy products, you’ll be surprised at their ingredients list: looooong on extenders, additives, preservatives, unhealthy sugars – even flavoring and coloring – and short on farm fresh milk, the main ingredient of any self-respecting dairy product.
That supposedly “healthy” food in your cart has been highly processed to squeeze more product out of milk (most are made from not-the-most-healthy-or- wholesome milk powders) and to extend its shelf life, in the process killing off any natural nutrients living in “whole” foods. By choosing products with only a few, familiar ingredients – and ideally, as fresh as possible – you’re assured you’re nourishing your body with real food, not “frankenfood.”
McCarthy, C. (2018). “Common food additives and chemicals harmful to children.” Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/common-food-additives-and-chemicals-harmful-to-children-2018072414326
New World Encyclopedia. (n.d.). “Food Processing. Retrieved from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Food_processing
Smith, A. (2020). “How do processed foods affect your health?” Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318630