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Is There Any Harm In Eating Processed Foods?

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Processed Foods

REACTION 1

Not all processed foods are unhealthy. Unless you’re getting it right off the hoof, everything is processed in some way prior to it getting to your kitchen. The real issues arise when you start relying on some company to look after your health. The additives in most of the foods you’re referring to are for taste, shelf life, potability, texture, and other aspects to make the item attractive. Notice that none of those have anything to do with how healthy they are and most food companies don’t care. They want your money. Leaders of these companies are on record stating that they want to make food so tasty that you can’t stop eating it. That’s great for the bottom line, but not so great for some nations working with an obesity epidemic (along with the attendant metabolic disorders).

How To Make Easy Coleslaw Recipe

How To Make Easy Coleslaw Recipe

There’s also a misunderstanding what is and isn’t “food”. It’s not a black and white designation. It’s a spectrum, with some things easier to process in the digestive system and others not so much. Wood. Is wood “food”? Frosting makers think so. What about beaver anal gland secretions? Some ice cream manufacturers think that’s cool.

The bottom line is that for many of the foods on the shelves, we don’t know how some of these additives are going to affect us. There are so many confounders out there, that it’s nigh impossible to say how healthy or unhealthy a substance is. We do know that people are healthier when they don’t eat these foods, though.

REACTION2

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Yes. You may not feel it initially, or if you’re young, in your twenties etc. But over time, or if you are older, it can wreak havoc with your body.

I’m 38, and a breastfeeding mother of two. It takes on average maybe 1 week of poor eating (this means a couple of take-away or ready meals, a few wheat-based meals, and a sweet treat each day for a few days), and I start to feel it in a number of ways: my sleep becomes disrupted (cycle and quality – and sleep affects EVERYTHING), my blood sugar levels go haywire (I get hangry quickly, and crave even more sweet stuff), my energy levels plummet, my mood suffers (become teary or irritable or both, and easily stressed out). I may also get inflamed gums, allergy symptoms to food or the sun, become more susceptible to bruising, heal badly if I get a cut, feel more muscle aches/ tightness/ tiredness, come down with a cold or other infection.

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ORANGE FRUIT SALAD

ORANGE FRUIT SALAD

Sometimes it can be just a couple of days of bad eating, sometimes I might get away with a couple of weeks. And this isn’t even a diet THAT heavy in processed foods (I was far worse in my twenties, but got away with more).

Edit: I wanted to add that there are definitely long-term effects too. If I were to continue with a processed food diet, I would expect my risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, to all increase dramatically. I would expect more rapid ageing, and to be more likely to suffer from things like poor circulation, arthritis, thyroid problems, and other auto-immune diseases.

CREAMY ORANGE FRUIT SALAD

CREAMY ORANGE FRUIT SALAD

REACTION 3

By definition, “Processing” of foods is not done to enhance their nutrition content, nor taste or any usefulness to the eater, in general.

The main purpose of processing it to enhance shelf life so it can be transported from a cheap manufacturing site to a lucrative market in arbitrary time and kept on the sale shelf for as long as possible without spoiling. Any spoiled food is a 100% loss to the manufacturer, so they make sure the processing reduces the possibility of spoilage as much as possible.

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Now think about why food spoils in the first place. Almost all spoilage can be attributed to two causes:
1. Due to natural aging (ripening, drying, thinning, etc.)
2. Due to pathogens starting to ‘eat’ the food and release ‘toxins’ (bacteria and fungus infestations).
Yam for making Fufu

So processing foods is the very act of removing the elements from foods that lead to these two conditions. The very thing they remove in order to make foods immune from spoilage is literally the very things that make foods valuable and healthy to the eater in the first place. Often, they remove essential oils and proteins (from wheat flour, for example, to make all-purpose flour). Sometimes they ‘add’ stuff to make foods inedible to pathogens, like excess salt, sugar, etc.

To put it succinctly, when we realize that simple organisms like fungus and bacteria find processed foods inedible, it becomes so obvious we should stay away from it too.

How to prepare meat pie

Eat foods that spoil quickly, and eat them before they spoil, i.e. when they are fresh. You can’t go much wrong eating this way. Of course, use your instincts, habits, culture and training to avoid the dangerous kinds of ‘foods’ that might also fall into this category.

So, yeah, eating processed foods gives no nutrition, which can be harmful in the long run.

 

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