"Processed" is in quotes here because there is no legal definition of the term. The International Food Information Council Foundation defines processed foods as "Any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it's available for us to eat." This is such a broad definition that it could constitute any food that's chopped, conveniently pre-packaged, canned, boxed, blended, and/or pre-cooked. In this respect, processed foods are not necessarily unhealthy. Examples of foods that are considered processed but are not unhealthy include low-sodium canned vegetables and fruit, whole-grain bars containing nuts and seeds, quick oatmeal, and almond drink.
Processed foods generally contain preservatives (e.g., sodium). Does adding preservatives to a food inherently make it unhealthy? Not necessarily. Preservatives serve the purpose of increasing the shelf life of foods so that they do not spoil as quickly. The real issue here is how healthy are the preservatives themselves and what, if any, effect do they have on the body over the long term. Artificial flavors, colors, and assorted chemicals may also be added to processed foods to make the food more palatable and appetizing. Are these manmade ingredients unhealthy for consumption over the long term? Again, not necessarily. But having said this, words of wisdom are in order here: take a balanced approach and eat foods from each of the food groups daily and in moderation (i.e., fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods) to ensure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy life free of disease and sickness.
BOTTOM LINE: Not all processed foods are bad for your health. Be sure to reduce your consumption of processed foods that contain high amounts of sodium, sugar and fats.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Brian Danley, CFT "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 408-688-1586 (cell) briandanleyfitness.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/briandanleyfitness https://www.facebook.com/BrianDanleyFitness
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.