First, let’s define what processed foods are. Generally speaking they are those foods found in stores that have been prepared and stored for consumers. Those products on the inner isle. Products like canned or frozen foods are generally considered processed foods. White bread and even some whole wheat breads are considered processed foods. Condiments like ketchup, barbeque sauce and salad dressings are processed foods and of course fast food establishments serve processed foods. Processed foods are products that have been cooked or altered from their natural state so they can be stored long term resulting in nutrient deficient food.
Processed Foods Are Unhealthy
When food is processed, nutrients are lost, including fiber. Some products may be fortified or enriched to compensate for the lost nutrients, but fiber is not always added back to foods and the fortification or enrichment is not as beneficial as the natural whole food.
Sodium, added sugars and/or fat may be added during processing. Read the Nutrition Facts Label and Ingredient List when buying processed foods. You may be surprised at the amount of sodium and sugar! Processed foods are linked to obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other illnesses. Food processing may also alter food in ways that might increase the risk of cancer.
Processed Foods: 5 Condiments to Avoid
- Mayonnaise. Commercially prepared mayonnaise is loaded with fats.
- Sour Cream. Commercially prepared sour cream contains lots of fillers and preservatives.
- Ranch Dressing. Read the label. Much of what is on the label bears little resemblance to food.
- Ketchup. If you use commercially prepared ketchup you are getting a lot of high fructose corn syrup which quickly builds your daily sugar intake.
- Barbeque Sauce and Steak Sauce. Again, not much that goes into these sauces can be identified as real food.
What is the solution to these processed foods?
Many will say, make your own sauces at home. That’s great advice, but is it realistic for you? Maybe not. If you’re like me, cutting down and using more healthful alternatives may be a viable solution. If you really love mayonnaise cut back, way back. I’ve found I don’t need very much. Less is better. Or, check your local health food store for a more healthful alternative. As for ketchup, I’ve found I really don’t need it. I don’t need the ketchup! Cut back or eliminate it. Your body will thank you.
Avoid fast food. You can check the nutrition facts from fast food websites. Here’s one from McDonalds. Fast food is often high in calories, sodium, sugar and fat. Fast food and processed foods are sometimes convenient, but when I remember how unhealthy they are, I stay away from them. Eating plenty of whole foods like fruits and vegetables can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, control your blood pressure and prevent some types of cancer.
What about Juicing?
I don’t consider fresh fruit and vegetable juice to be processed, but technically I guess juicing is. I use fresh fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, or better yet I grown my own. I don’t add anything to my juices unless it’s natural. I’ve found juicing to be very healthy and it helps me to get more fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet. My website, PRIME Juicers, has a lot of delicious healthy juicing recipes.