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Processed Food, The Definition And How To Avoid Buying And Consuming It

06.07.2013

Our real food is our real fuel and will help to keep us well. However, real food and processed food has become confused. Here we have our definition of processed foods to help you understand what is healthy food and what is not.

 

 

Definition

You can determine whether a food is processed by looking at the ingredient list. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed a food is likely to be. Processed foods are usually found in the centre aisles of the grocery store and are more likely to contain ingredients that you are not able to recognise or ingredients that you wouldn't have in your kitchen. Avoid foods that you wouldn't be able to produce or make yourself at home. Stick to unprocessed, natural foods, mostly found on the periphery of the grocery store, such as vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and other single-ingredient foods.

Vegetable Oils

Processed foods often have long ingredient lists that usually include some type of vegetable oils, such as corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil or safflower oil. Unlike olive oil, avocado oil and nut oil, which can be simply obtained with a cold-press, other vegetable oils need to go through many processing steps, including chemical extraction, bleaching and deodorising. These oils, and foods containing them, are highly processed. Trans fat, which is the result of the hydrogenation of vegetable oils, is also a processed food. Avoid these foods since their fats are almost always damaged and can negatively impact your health. Apart from olive oil, avocado oil and nut oil, butter, ghee, lard and extra-virgin coconut oil are considered better fat options because they go through minimal processing that you can even do yourself at home without special equipment.

Low-Fat Products

Food manufacturers are now offering a variety of low-fat products, from low-fat breakfast cereals and low-fat cookies to low-fat ice cream and low-fat frozen entrees. Many of these foods contain chemical ingredients to simulate the flavour and texture of fat. Low-fat cheese, yoghurt and milk also go through extensive processing to remove natural fat. The rich flavour of real, unprocessed food is more satisfying.

Sugars

Sugars like honey and maple syrup have been used in small amounts for centuries in the human diet. Table sugar, brown sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, on the other hand, are the results of modern food manufacturing practices and are considered processed ingredients. If you are trying to eat a clean diet by avoiding processed foods, eliminate soft drinks, candies, sweets, desserts and all other foods and beverages containing sugar. Sugar substitutes, such as aspartame, sorbitol and sucralose, are also processed ingredients, which means that you should even avoid sugar-free or diet products if you want to stay away from processed foods.

Grains

Although many people believe that grains are natural and healthy, most grain products have to go through extensive processing before they end up on your plate. Humans are not able to digest grains harvested right out of the field, which is why they were not part of the human diet in such large amounts as they are now before the recent advances in food manufacturing. Bread, pasta and other flour-based foods found at the grocery store also contain a lot of extra processed ingredients that qualify them as processed foods. Get your carbohydrates from fruits, tubers and vegetables if you want to avoid processed foods.

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